The YouTube community is up in arms after one of the platform’s creators admitted to faking the death of his girlfriend to gain traction on their joint channel. The man behind the hoax, Jason Ethier, claimed that Alexia Marano was willingly a part of the stunt during his admission. But Marano alleges that she felt forced to participate and that Ethier abused her during their relationship.
Ethier, the 29-year-old Canadian behind the popular channel “ImJayStation” has acquired his 5.44 million subscribers predominantly through various dark challenges — including a “3 AM” series where he capitalizes on the deaths of celebrities like Mac Miller and XXXTentacion by claiming to contact them via a ouija board — that have brought criticism upon his channel. However, his latest stunt to entertain his audience seemingly crossed the line.
It all started on Jan. 21 when Ethier announced the death of his girlfriend of just five months in a video on his main channel titled, “My Girlfriend Alexia Died... *Rest in Paradise*.” The video has since been deleted, but was archived and posted by another channel. “Last night, we lost Alexia,” he said, “to a drunk driver guys.”
The video was met with suspicion from viewers as Ethier had the video monetized, included promotions to his and Marano’s channel “Dream Team,” and even encouraged people to subscribe to it “out of respect” for his late girlfriend.
“Her dream was just to get a million subscribers, and we were so close to doing that guys,” Ethier explained. “After talking with her parents, we both agreed that I should post the remainder videos that we filmed for that channel on that channel.”
Some viewers and other YouTubers even looked into police records throughout Toronto, where Marano resided with Ethier, and Ottawa, where she previously lived with her family, and were unable to find confirmation of Marano’s death. Still, all attempts to contact her led to a dead end. Her social media accounts were also deleted.
Meanwhile, Ethier continued to create content in response to Marano’s alleged death, including a video during which he visited a memorial site for her to say his last goodbye. (It was also deleted from “ImJayStation” and archived by another user.)
According to the Washington Post, Ethier also published a 3AM challenge video where he attempted to contact his so-called dead girlfriend with a Ouija board. Shortly after the video appeared on his YouTube channel, it was removed.
A new video titled “ALEXIA MARANO *THE TRUTH ABOUT HER*” quickly popped up on Jan. 26, in which Ethier said he faked Marano’s death — with her help — to “prank everybody” and to “gain traction on the Dream Team channel.” Still, he explained, it eventually led Marano to break up with him and report him to police for assault.
“She helped me do the ouija board video. I edited it until 8 a.m. and then she woke up around 8 a.m. when I just posted the video and she said she just got off the phone with her dad and her dad’s yelling at her,” Ethier explains. “I told her that her parents, it’s none of [their] business what we do online. I don’t mess with [her] dad’s business, he shouldn’t mess with ours. Then I go to bed.”
When Ethier woke up at 4 p.m., Marano and all of her belongings were gone. He tried contacting her via phone and text messages, which all went unanswered. Eventually, police arrived at his door to notify that his girlfriend reported him for assault and assault with a weapon.
“I have a warrant for my arrest, I can’t leave my house right now or I’m gonna get arrested and they’re gonna keep me in jail until…until they either say if I’m guilty or I’m not guilty. I never hit a woman in my life...” Ethier pleaded in his video. “....I feel like I’ve been wronged so much by this. I don’t deserve this.”
Yahoo Lifestyle contacted both the Toronto Police and the Ottawa Police Service for information on the alleged warrants. The Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario confirmed that they haven’t been able to locate any relevant records. Toronto Police similarly said, “there is no Toronto Police Service warrant on file for a Jason Ethier.” Although a rep for the service confirmed that an officer did speak with Ethier on the evening of Jan. 26 — the same night that the YouTuber posted his “truth” video, which included a clip of him speaking with officers.
“I can confirm that Toronto Police Service officer did attend an address and spoke to a person named Jason Ethier on Sunday, January 26, 2020 in the evening,” Jenifferjit Sidhu, media relations officer for the the Toronto Police Department, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Sidhu tells Yahoo Lifestyle that there is still no warrant on file.
Throughout the next two days, people expressed shock over Ethier’s admission, while still questioning Marano’s involvement. Finally, she broke her silence on Jan. 28 with a video of her own, during which she revealed the “truth about ImJayStation.”
“....After more time of being with him, I felt like he wanted to take away more and more and more away from me,” she shared in the video. “At this point, I felt really controlled by him and I felt like he was trying to isolate me from my friends, from my family and I just felt really isolated and alone.”
She went on to explain that Ethier had proposed faking her death and while she never wanted the videos to be posted, “for certain parts of certain videos I did help Jay” and that she “only helped him out of fear.”
She continued, “Then, these videos happened where Jay faked my death and I felt sick to my stomach from the minute that he posted it, I did not want to play with anybody’s emotions....” Marano said that she protested, but that Ethier reassured her that it would soon be forgotten. She added, “Then, he puts out another video that I wanted nothing to do with because up until this point, I was not a part of any of them. It was just Jay and I didn’t even know what he was going to say in those videos before he posted them.”
Marano said she watched the YouTube videos for the first time along with the audience. She opposed the “drunk driving” narrative, she says, and due to the impact on Marano’s friends and family, she eventually left the relationship.
“I had friends messaging me from Ottawa, I had family members being harassed. I was getting thousands of phone calls, my family was getting thousands of phone calls,” she explained. “I was not allowed to say anything to anyone...I couldn’t take it anymore and I just ended up messaging a couple of my friends back saying, ‘Yes, I’m ok. I’ll explain in a bit. I’m ok. But I don’t like anything that’s going on.’”
In a follow-up video posted on Jan. 30, Marano continued to tell her side of the story, and even confirmed that she had gone to the police with accusations of abuse against Ethier.
“Jay has been abusive toward me in our relationship, and I went to the police and charged him for domestic assault,” Marano said. “...Jay assaulted me on two separate occasions....”
According to a voicemail that Marano played during the video, a man who identified himself as a detective said he is looking into her reports. He explained that he would speak with Ethier to see if Marano’s ex would turn himself in, otherwise there would be a warrant out for his arrest.
Yahoo Lifestyle has gotten in touch with Marano, who ultimately declined an interview.
Neither Ethier nor YouTube have responded to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
He has since gone back to posting regular content to his channel.
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