Online ‘prankster’ Jason Ethier claimed his partner had been killed before attempting to contact her via a ouija board
The internet is cool, isn’t it? You can find almost anything – serial killer ASMR videos to put you to sleep at night; Thomas the Tank Engine fandoms; and… YouTubers ‘killing off’ their girlfriends in an attempt to gain more subscribers.
In news that makes you wish the influencer era actually was over, popular YouTube prankster Jason Ethier – AKA ImJayStation – revealed on Sunday (January 26) that he faked his girlfriend Alexia Marano’s death in a series of videos that culminated in him attempting to contact her ‘beyond the grave’ with a ouija board.
Here’s everything you need to know about the incredibly fucked-up stunt.
WHO IS JASON ETHIER?
Jason Ethier is a 29-year-old YouTube phenomenon from Canada known as ImJayStation, who rose to fame with his 24 Hour Challenge videos, which saw him sneak into homes and businesses and stay there overnight. Originally launched as JayStation in 2015, Ethier had to abandon that account when YouTube demonetised it in November 2016 after the prankster was charged with five counts of trespassing by Ottawa police. Undeterred, Ethier relaunched as ImJayStation the same month, re-uploading all of his content despite the ones he was charged for. At the time of writing, his YouTube account has 5.4 million subscribers, with content centring on scary challenges, like being buried alive and playing with voodoo dolls. Ethier also has a joint channel with his girlfriend and fellow YouTuber Alexia Marano, called Dream Team.
HOW DID HE FAKE HIS GIRLFRIEND’S DEATH?
In a series of now-deleted videos, Ethier said that Marano had been killed by a drunk driver. The first video – called “My Girlfriend Alexia Died… *Rest In Paradise*” – had over one million hits, and was followed up the next day by a video of Ethier “saying his last goodbye” at what he claimed was a memorial space for Marano, set up by her parents. The ‘announcement video’ saw a dry-eyed Ethier say to camera: “I never wanted to make a video like this ever, but last night, we lost Alexia to a drunk driver, guys. She was on the way to pick up something for the video we were making on our second channel, Dream Team. She got hit, guys. She’s gone.” Both videos were monetised and featured merchandise links.
In a third video – beautifully titled “Dead girlfriend Ouija board challenge at 3am!! (Gone wrong)” – Ethier attempted to hold a seance for Marano to contact her spirit from ‘beyond the grave’. Then, in a final video posted just hours after the third, Ethier admitted that the whole thing had been a stunt to get more subscribers.
WHAT HAS HE SAID SINCE?
The latest video, offering “the truth” about Marano, starts with a clip from Ethier’s ouija board video, which shows himself and his (seemingly now ex) girlfriend working on the video together, with a caption that read: “Alexia was OK with the videos we made to promote dream team channel and helped me produce them.” The video then claims that Ethier woke up five hours after filming the video to find Marano gone and the police at his door investigating an allegation that he “assaulted her with a weapon”. He says: “I never hit Alexia once. (She) is trying to ruin my life because of videos that she helped me make. I now face serious charges and can’t leave my house without getting arrested, and I did not even commit the crime.”
The rest of the video then sees Ethier talking directly to the camera, opening with an apology to Marano’s family. “I didn’t intend to put them through any emotional stress. I didn’t mean to get them involved in anything,” he admits, “I expected all of this to stay on YouTube, and it didn’t.” While crying, the YouTuber goes on to lament about his difficult life – he says he ran away from abusive parents and bullies in school before joining the army then going to jail “because of drinking” – and says he was “never happy” until he met Marano. Discussing the recent controversy, Ethier admits he came up with the idea to fake Marano’s death to prank people and gain traction on the pair’s joint Dream Team channel. He claims Marano was involved in the plan, and the final video would have seen Ethier resurrect his girlfriend.
Ethier then says Marano’s parents were – unsurprisingly – unhappy about him faking their daughters death, and were pressuring the YouTubers to come clean about the hoax. After that, Marano apparently went awol, clearing all of her stuff out of Ethier’s apartment and deleting their texts, photos, and videos from his phone and laptop.
IS THIS ALL STILL PART OF A STUNT?
Yeah, probably. Ethier’s most recent video is the most over-dramatic thing ever posted on the internet, and is likely just a continuation of a dumb YouTube hoax. While some aspects of the video might be true, the fact that it was posted the same day as the ouija board one suggests that not a lot has actually happened in the time between the two. Ethier’s sensationalist, almost comical declarations – he’s lost his girlfriend; will be put “in the jail” and held for “like a year” for a supposed assault accusation; his YouTube channel will “die” and he won’t be able to upload anymore; his whole life is “ruined” – seem a bit teen angsty for a 29-year-old who literally hours ago was posting as normal. Who knows, it could all be true, but given Ethier’s history of ‘pranks’, it’s worth remaining skeptical.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
At the end of the video, Ethier says if fans don’t see another post from him in the next few days, weeks, or years, it’s because he’s handed himself into the police and is rotting away in jail. He hasn’t posted since. IMO what’s coming next is either a video from ‘jail’, or another elaborate apology about how the “truth” video was, in fact, also a stunt.