Jay Ethier used a tissue to dab his dry eyes as he told more than 5 million YouTube subscribers that his girlfriend had been killed by a drunk driver in a tragic accident.

“She’s gone,” he said, looking away from the camera in a video that’s since been deleted. “She’s gone.”

The Toronto man, best known as “ImJayStation” on YouTube, ended the Jan. 21 announcement by asking for viewers to subscribe in her memory. He followed up with other videos about his “dead girlfriend,” Alexia Marano: In one, he sobbed at a roadside memorial; in another, he tried to summon her spirit with a Ouija board.

Then came the stunning — if not entirely unexpected — update. Marano wasn’t dead after all, Ethier revealed in a confession-style, monetized video recorded in a closet. It was all “just a skit” intended to reel in more subscribers to a new YouTube channel the couple ran together.

“We thought of the idea — actually I thought about the idea — what if we fake your death and then do a skit on YouTube pranking everybody, saying it was just to gain traction on the Dream Team channel,” Ethier, 29, said after deleting the hoax videos. “First we were going to say she died, then we were going to do a Ouija board video, which I did, then we were going to call her at 3 a.m. and we were going to resurrect her. And get more followers on our Dream Team channel.”

It would only get weirder. The couple is now (seemingly) going through an extremely public breakup involving increasingly hostile YouTube videos and wild accusations.

Ethier claims police issued a warrant for his arrest after Marano falsely accused him of assault, but the Toronto Police Service told BuzzFeed it has no such document on file. Marano hasn’t directly addressed that claim, but she has characterized Ethier as a controlling boyfriend who compelled her to participate in the hoax.

In the most recent chapter, Ethier posted a video slamming Marano as “the worst person I have ever met in my life.” The thumbnail image showed her with devil horns and a tail; the title was “ALEXIA MARANO EXPOSED (THE BAD SIDE OF HER.)”

Ethier, who did not immediately respond to an interview request from The Washington Post, initially drew a large following by posting “24 Hour Challenge” videos showing him sneaking into closed businesses and attempting to stay the night. That led to his arrest on trespassing charges in 2016, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

In 2018, he was arrested at Disney World after being accused of getting confrontational with deputies when claiming another park visitor had taken his bag. He told an Orange County sheriff’s deputy he “was going to sue me and I was a [peon] … this verbal barrage would continue for the duration of my time spent with Mr. Ethier,” the deputy wrote in an arrest report. The Orlando Sentinel reported on the arrest. Court records show Ethier pleaded no contest to a trespassing charge in July.

More recently, he’s been making what he calls “3 AM Challenge” videos, in which he tries summoning the dead, communicating with Jesus and playing with “haunted” dolls. He sells T-shirts and other merchandise emblazoned with the words, “I survived 3 AM” and monetizes his content. He touts his success, making a reference in one video to owning a $700 T-shirt and buying Marano “a $3,000 purse.” He told CTV he has “gotten rich” off his content.

He claimed the Dream Team channel, which has a following significantly smaller than ImJayStation, brought in $50,000 with 13 videos.

The “dead girlfriend” videos landed him in the news once again. After several outlets ran stories wondering whether the death was a ploy for views, Ethier came clean. He said the plot had caused friction in his relationship with Marano. Her father, he said, had wanted him to take the videos down earlier, but he refused.

“I told her that her parents — it’s none of their business what we do online,” he said. “I don’t mess with her dad’s business; he shouldn’t mess with mine.”

He claimed Marano then disappeared from his apartment, and he deleted the hoax videos. Then, he said, the police showed up accusing him of assaulting her, which he denied. As a result, he said, “now my entire life is ruined.”

Marano surfaced on Tuesday with a video of her own, “ALEXIA IS ALIVE (truth about ImJaystation).” In it, she alleged that Ethier controlled and isolated her and that she went along with the fake death only out of fear.

“I felt sick to my stomach from the minute he posted it,” she said. “I did not want to play with anybody’s emotions. I don’t think it’s a cool stunt to do.”

Marano, who could not be reached for comment, ended by urging viewers to “subscribe to this channel because I’m going to be posting so many videos to this channel now.”

Early Wednesday, Ethier responded with his video decrying Marano as “the worst” and attacking her character. He insisted that she was in on the hoax from the beginning and that the two planned to “resurrect” her, even renting a church for the purpose. In a surreal moment, he turned the camera on a coffin.

“We were going to resurrect her in a coffin, I was going to raise her from the dead. That was going to be the last video, and that was the first video that we actually filmed,” Ethier said. “We went and bought a freaking coffin, guys! This is the coffin we bought for that video.”

He asserted that Marano was plotting to steal his YouTube following and that there is “no chance of us ever getting back together, ever.”

The video ended, like so many others, with an appeal to his fans.

“The good thing about this is that a fake person is out of my life, and now I can finally focus on this channel, the channel that you guys love, and keep making banger videos,” he said. “Thank you guys, so much, for all the love.”

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