A petition to ban popular TikToker Onlyjayus from the platform continues to gain momentum, eclipsing 400,000 signatures after accusations of racism and discrimination against disabled people.
According to the petition page, it was started three weeks ago because of a controversial joke the TikTok star made about robbing a disabled person.
This as well as claims of “mistreating disabled creators and creators of color” has led many to call for them to be removed.
Onlyjayus, whose real name is Isabella Avila, has over 14 million followers on the platform. They regularly post videos usually in front of their bathroom mirror telling strange facts or movie trivia.
The controversy around Avila started when screenshots of messages using racist language resurfaced. At the time, they were called out by fellow TikTokers like Aunt Karen.
I know it was frustrating waiting for me to address this, but instead of just reacting to it like I usually do, I wanted to do better and reflect pic.twitter.com/4Ri6WU8ALO
— onlyjayus (@notjayus) February 13, 2021
In an apology, Avila promised to work with creators of color and offer their platform as a way to highlight issues around racism.
While both parts of that apology can still be found on the influencer’s TikTok and Twitter, many people have argued that Onlyjayus has failed to spotlight Black creators since.
The only video discussing antiracism on their platform was posted a few weeks later but only featured Avila in the video discussing a recent book they had read.
Why was a petition started?
In June, Avila posted a video on May 23 that joked that if a service dog approaches someone alone, it is likely because their owner needs help.
The influencer then proceeded to joke about robbing the owner as you should follow the dog because “you’ll get a free wallet”.
@onlyjayusIllegal Life Advice… for reasons this is a joke ##fyp ##lifeadvice ##lifehacks ##lifeprotips ##protips ##hacks ##advice #illegal ##illegalhack ##onlyjayus♬ Build a B*tch – Bella Poarch
The video, still on Onlyjayus’ page, has 7.2 million views and 1.2 million likes at the time of writing. The video was quickly called out for mocking disabled people.
@dr_innaAnyone, and I mean anyone who tell me or @faythegay to “just take a joke” will be blocked. That video was harmful.♬ original sound – Inna Kanevsky, Ph.D. (she/her)
In response, Jayus appeared to show little remorse leaving comments below other TikToks continuing to make light of the situation.
Speaking to the Tab, Vanellope Von Addams who started the petition said this:
“I feel that anyone with that kind of following needs to learn how to take responsibility for their own actions instead of acting like they are too big to apologize.
Jayus would be nothing without their platform and it can easily be taken away by the people who gave it to them.”
Isabella Avila isn’t the only influencer to have gotten into hot water recently over racism accusations in recent months. YouTuber PewDiePie called out Oli London recently for undergoing multiple surgeries to look Korean. The Swede accused the fellow Youtuber of “appropriating another race“.
Hasan Piker, political commentator and Twitch streamer, was also accused of using a racial slur after mispronouncing the word “never” during a stream.
Has the petition made any impact?
Since the petition started in early June, Onlyjayus still has social media platforms on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
With over 14 million followers on TikTok, they still remain influential with videos regularly getting millions of views.
Over the last 30 days despite the petition, Avila saw a gain of 1.7 million followers between June 6 and July 5. Their daily average growth has been around 60,000 followers per day.
However, while they are still gaining followers, there has been a decline. Their follower growth is down 34.6% compared to the previous 30 day period.
In the week the petition launched subscriber growth dropped from 1.1 million to 100,000 per week and likes went from 41.5 million to 6.8 million.
The petition has also trended on Google at times too, suggesting it is gaining traction.
Has Onlyjayus responded to the petition?
Soon after the petition launched, Avila posted on Twitter a tweet mocking the petition saying that more than 13.5 million signatures would need to be reached before they got worried. This was their follower count at the time.
@auntkaren0#stitch with @icantbelieveitsnotjayus #jayus #PrimeDayShowPJParty #onlyjayus #lifehacks #lifeadvice #didyouknow #moreyouknow♬ original sound – TikTok’s Favorite Karen
They have also posted a Tiktok mocking the petition. The petition as of publication stands at just under 408,000 signatures.