JonTron has issued what amounts to a tremendously evasive non-apology for controversial comments he made about race and immigration, claiming that comments he made during an hour-long debate had been “misconstrued,” while failing to address claims he made such as “wealthy blacks commit more crime than poor whites.”
YouTuber JonTron, real name Jon Jafari, appeared in a debate with streamer Steven “Destiny” Bonnell in which he made a number of inflammatory comments about people of color, including that Western countries have “gotten rid of discrimination” and making comparisons between crime committed by black people in the US and Africa, as though they are somehow interconnected. He also said that “nobody wants to become a minority in their own country,” suggesting that white people somehow own America, and failed to answer questions regarding his opinions out of fear of “incriminating” himself.
After nearly a week of radio silence on his YouTube and social media accounts, JonTron released a video titled ‘My Statement’ in which he would ostensibly address comments he made during the stream with Destiny, only for him to not really do anything of the sort. “I was a bit all over the place and I said a lot of stuff that could be misconstrued in all sorts of way,” he said in the new video. “Things are being extracted from this that I know I don’t think. I was in there under a lot of pressure … and as it became clear I suck at debate. So now every haphazard, off-hand remark I made in the heat of the moment has been dissected and speculated on, so I’d like to clarify.”
He continued: “The simple point I was trying to make is that it’s hypocritical for those who see everything in terms of race, to suddenly turn around and object when white people speak up in what they believe are the best interests of their race.”
Jon, who made the nonfactual claim that wealthy black people commit more crime than impoverished white people, then added: “It’s also hypocritical to keep saying that you want to have an honest conversation about race, if you don’t want to actually have an honest conversation about race, and anytime someone brings up an uncomfortable statistic, you freak out and burn things down or something!”
Despite his backpedaling, Jon failed to address the comments he made in the stream that had caused the controversy, instead acknowledging that the US has had “a terrible history of dealing with race” and that he “genuinely believes this country would be better off if we dropped the hyphens and just all referred to each other as fellow Americans.” However, this new claim contradicts his previously expressed belief that he doesn’t want white people to become a minority in the US.
This debacle is yet another disappointing new development for the YouTube community, who continue to defend the troubling behavior of the site’s inner circle by placing onus of blame upon the media for reporting on their actions, rather than addressing the problems within their own ranks. Tellingly, following the JonTron controversy a number of YouTubers instead decided to target Destiny on Twitter, while other prominent users of the site such as Boogie2988 instead decided to condemn the media for holding YouTubers accountable for their actions.
Watch JonTron’s statement below: