save marina joyce

Marina Joyce, the YouTuber at the center of a conspiracy theory.

photo: Marina Joyce / Instagram

Yesterday the Internet freaked out after creating — and then believing — it's own scary story. Marina Joyce is a fashion and beauty vlogger who conspiracy theorists believed had been kidnapped and forced at literal gunpoint to be a YouTube star. The Illuminati was involved. So was ISIS. The story spread around, as nebulous horror stories tend to do, and #SaveMarinaJoyce was trending on social media for a full 24 hours.

It was an absolute shitshow, is what I'm saying.

Today, Marina Joyce has finally revealed the truth — and it's made her fans angrier than ever.

In a livestream broadcast last night (and immediately dissected on Twitter), Marina said "This was a publicity stunt by my viewers, not by me."

This is a fair statement. Marina herself didn't concoct this insane kidnapping/abuse theory — fans and conspiracy theorists did.

She also gave an interview with YouTube personality Phillip DeFranco.

"Everybody else started the whole thing up," she said. "And I've just been over here going I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING."

She also explains that her bruises are the result of falling down in the woods, and that she bruises quite easily. She maintains that she is not in an abusive relationship, nor has she been kidnapped — a fact even the police have confirmed.

Marina herself has long maintained that she's fine — better than fine, actually, because it turns out that being part of an Illuminati plot does great things for a girl's career.

A photo posted by Marina (@marinamew) on

At the time of writing, she now has 1.4 million YouTube subscribers, and the infamous "Date Night Ideas" video (in which people allege she's sending hidden messages for help) has been viewed 16 million goddamn times.

She's also been profiled by major media outlets, which has gotten her channel more exposure than ever.

The Sun has an exclusive interview with Marina. Here are some highlights:

"People really care about me and it went crazy and blew up. People out there are really kind. I care about my YouTube channel and after this I have got lots more viewers which is really good.

But I am really OK. There are no ISIS terrorists here.

I just woke up one morning and and the hashtag #SaveMarinaJoyce was happening everywhere.

I now know that if I'm ever really in trouble or in danger then my YouTube viewers will be there for me. I love my viewers caring so much for me. Because of them I will never be in danger. They all want me to be OK."

This is a very reasonable response to a horrible, intense situation that she did not create.

Honestly, if people started saying that I was being held hostage, or was a cult leader, or that I was being used as bait to lure teens into joining terrorist organizations, I'd delete everything I'd ever written and hide under my bed until the end of time. That Marina — who is 19, and still lives with her mum — can look at this insanity and say "You know, people care about me, and AT LEAST it's been good for my work" is pretty mature.

But people IMMEDIATELY got mad about her slightly incorrect use of the term "publicity stunt."

While others are still holding on to the conspiracy theory, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THE KIDNAPPER TOLD HER TO SAY.

So what's the truth? Should people #SaveMarinaJoyce, or #BoycottMarinaJoyce?

This is a vulnerable young woman. Whether her odd behavior and "secret" bruises are the result of drug use, mental health issues, or even her recent conversion to Christianity (which she talks about in the interview with DeFranco), dragging her to hell over this situation is NOT the answer.

I can only hope that Marina — who now has a manager to help her deal with all this attention — gets good advice, and any additional help that she needs. And that the next time the internet creates, then believes a scary story that it has made up, it sticks to canon Creepypasta subjects like Slenderman.