Jenna Marbles and Shane Dawson have individually responded to public callouts of racist content on both of their channels.
On June 25, Marbles, whose real name is Jenna Mourey, uploaded an 11-minute video called “A Message” to her YouTube channel, which counts more than 20 million subscribers. Mourey said in the video that she had received requests from followers to comment on past videos that she had since made private to viewers. Of the two videos in question, both of which were uploaded in 2011, one showed Mourey impersonating Nicki Minaj and the other showed her rapping a verse offensive to Asians.
“I think there was a time when having all of my old content exist on the Internet showed how much I had grown up as a person, which I’m very proud of,” Mourey said in the video posted last week. “Now it’s hard for that content to exist at all because I think people watch it and don’t bother to look at when it was posted or care about what path I took to get to where I am.”
In reference to her Nicki Minaj impersonation, Mourey said, “It was not my intention to do blackface.”
She went on to say that her rap video was “inexcusable” and “not OK,” adding, “I’m incredibly sorry if this offended you — then, now, whenever.”
Mourey apologized for a third video from 2012, which she said “came across unbelievably slut-shamey.” She then announced that she would take a break from YouTube for the foreseeable future.
“For now, I just can’t exist on this channel,” Mourey said. “I want to make sure the things I put into the world are not hurting anyone.”
A day after Mourey, Dawson uploaded his own 20-minute video apologizing for a lengthy list of blunders that includes blackface, using racial slurs, playing racist stereotypes and joking about pedophilia. Dawson said he was inspired to make the “Taking Accountability” video after watching Mourey’s, which he said “felt like a sign from the universe.”
“Right now is very much a time of wanting people to be accountable, wanting punishment for people and I agree,” Dawson said. He apologized for “all the racism that I put on the Internet as an adult,” which includes videos in which he portrays stereotypes of Black, Asian and Mexican people.
Dawson, who has more than 22 million YouTube subscribers, seemed to disassociate from himself, expressing his “hate” for “that person” in the problematic videos.
“When I say, ‘I hate that person,’ I mean it in the most intense way possible,” Dawson said. “That person was filled with sadness, filled with anger about their own issues, in the closet, constantly projecting on others. That person is someone who I don’t like seeing and I think that’s why I’ve been avoiding this.”
WWD previously reported on Dawson’s makeup collaboration with Jeffree Star, who also has a history of racist Internet content. Star addressed his own past racist content in a 15-minute video called “Racism,” which was uploaded in 2017.
Following Dawson’s “Taking Accountability” video, Jada Pinkett Smith and son Jaden Smith tweeted to the YouTuber, referring to a resurfaced clip that seems to show Dawson pretending to pleasure himself in front of a poster of Willow Smith. Willow, who is now 19, was just 11 years old at the time of the clip.
To Shane Dawson … I’m done with the excuses.
— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) June 27, 2020
“I’m done with the excuses,” wrote Jada Pinkett Smith on Twitter.
Jaden Smith wrote that he was “disgusted” by Dawson “sexualizing an 11-year-old girl who happens to be my sister.” He followed with another tweet that said young viewers “need to support creators who support us and our morals.”
WWD could not immediately reach Dawson for comment.
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