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Cancel Culture: Apologies vs. Saving Your Ass

People make mistakes. Sometimes big ones. What makes an apology enough to avoid being canceled?

Since 2012, YouTuber Jenna Marbles has provided the Internet with her signature quirky humor and dog content. As one of the forefathers of YouTube culture, many Zillenials grew up with her. On June 25, Jenna Marbles published a video titled “A Message,” in which she revealed that she is leaving the YouTube community.


Jenna canceled herself before the internet could do it for her.

In the midst of the Black Lives Matter Movement, “cancel culture” has tarnished the fame of stars who have made controversial or racist statements, no matter if they are recent or happened years ago. Several celebrities have published apologies in response to their old, offensive content, though some are much more believable than others.

Let’s have a look at Jenna Marbles’ apology video against fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson’s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ardRp2x0D_E&t=12s), which followed the day after Jenna’s – arguably one of the clearest examples of taking accountability vs. a desperate attempt to save your own ass.

Genuinely Taking Accountability:


Jenna: 1000%. Jenna had received minimal heat for her content recently, though she chose to take a closer look at her past given the current sociopolitical climate. Jenna proactively removed a lot of her older content that was offensive or even had the slightest potential to be.


Shane: Said in the first five minutes of his video, “I saw Jenna Marbles’ video and it really inspired me,” and it “felt like a sign from the universe that I want to do this.”

Ok, what? Shane could have been genuinely inspired by Jenna, yet the statement is a blow to his authenticity - did it really take someone else’s apology for Shane to realize his past was worth acknowledging?


Concrete Action:


Jenna: “I’ve spent a lot of the last few days privating almost all of my old content.”

It could be questioned why Jenna didn't delete it all together, but it is at least no longer available to the public eye.