YouTuber ImJayStation has found himself in a spectacular mess. Last week he and his girlfriend apparently collaborated to fake her death; in a now-deleted video posted January 22, ImJayStation, aka Jason Ethier, claimed that his girlfriend had been hit by a drunk driver. He later posted videos on his channel, which boasts more than 5.4 million subscribers, in which he visited her purported memorial site and attempted to contact her spirit with a ouija board. (The latter was part of his “3 AM” series, which has faced criticism before for capitalizing on the deaths of celebrities, including Mac Miller.) This week, however, came the about-face. Ethier deleted the old videos and, on Monday, posted a new one in which police appear to arrest him on allegations of assault from Marano. But the arrest, too, raises questions.
The video appears to begin with Ethier staging a video with a very alive Marano. Soon after, it cuts to a video purportedly taken while police came to arrest Ethier, who says he needs to contact a lawyer. In a statement, Toronto Police told The Daily Beast, “At this time, there is no Toronto Police Service warrant on file for a Jason Ethier.” When reached by The Daily Beast, Ottawa Central Police declined to comment but noted a tweet from the organization’s official account, which indicates that the uniforms the police figures wore in the video were not theirs.
In his latest video on the matter, posted Monday, Ethier said that after he and Marano got together, he “felt the happiest I ever felt in a long time.” He said they created the YouTube channel “Dream Team” together, and that he wanted to help her succeed on the platform as well. “We made about $50,000 on our Dream Team channel,” he said. “I was trying to help her; she was at a dead-end job before.”
“I put everything on the line to achieve success on YouTube,” Ethier said. “I can never go back to a regular life, ever. I can’t get a job; I don’t have a high school diploma; I dropped out of high school in grade nine.”
Ethier said Marano helped him make the videos staging her death and the aftermath, but began to get phone calls from her parents, who didn’t like the videos because of the responses they were receiving from the channel’s followers. One night, he said, Marano left him while he was sleeping—taking all of her things with her, but leaving the keys to his building. She’d deleted her texts and photos of them from his phone, he said, along with their conversations and videos they recorded together. “I didn’t know that she wanted me to delete these videos,” he said. “I don’t want Alexia to break up with me. She means the world to me, man.”
After frantically trying to get a hold of Marano, Ethier said police appeared at his door to arrest him for assault with a weapon, charges Marano had allegedly brought. “I never hit a woman in my life,” Ethier said. “Let alone assault with a weapon? That’s serious! How can my girlfriend go and do this to me? Seriously, why did I deserve this? Why did I deserve this?”
“It's gonna be super hard for me to trust girls after this, but I love all my female fans,” Ethier said as he closed the video. “And thank you for everybody close to me—even though I have nobody in my life except for [Ethier’s friend] Ahmed. So big shout-out to Ahmed.”
In a pinned comment posted to the video, Ethier wrote, “Guys i fell in love with this girl, I tried helping her become famous on youtube, she left me without notice, and tried to ruin my life.”
Ethier and Marano did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s emailed requests for comment.