Weaved within the cultural fabric of YouTube is every base archetype. Shaycarl: devoted husband, loving father and a notably inspirational figure in digital culture; he’s the Hero, a righteous leader, an honest yet often bullheaded creator. Then there’s the Jester, or in this case, Jesters – Ian and Anthony of Smosh: two comedic creators far smarter than most give them credit for. But for every Hero, Jester, Sage and Ruler, there must be a trickster, the bad guy we love to hate.
Before Rebecca Black and before suggested video feeds were boiling over with Reply Girls, there was Greg Jackson, or as you may know him — Onision. Jackson is and continues to be one of the most reviled creators online. He has publicly feuded with some of the biggest creators on YouTube while documenting various personal relationships imploding upon themselves with unflinching transparency. He’s received such vitriol that he was once barred from attending VidCon for fear of personal harm coming to him or other attendees.
Jackson is YouTube’s perfect villain, a character out of comic book who is loved and hated with equal amounts of ferocity.
How did he get there? Is he simply a peg that matched a hole in the YouTube infrastructure? We need to understand bad before we can really appreciate good — is Jackson that bad side, an antithesis to the “edgy” yet squeaky clean image of most modern bloggers? To truly understand Jackson, we need to start at the beginning when digital video was still in its infancy and the concept of YouTube stardom was just on the horizon.
January 29, 2006: Gregory Jackson (Onision) joins YouTube and starts the channel “Onision.” According to Jackson: “The account was created in 2006, yes, but it was barely used, and only included comedy sketches at the time.”
October 16, 2007: Jackson uploads “Darth Vader ‘Voice Changing’ Helmet,” his first official YouTube video.
November 12, 2008: “Onision’s Memories” is uploaded to YouTube. The video plays as a picture slideshow and explains that Jackson was raised by his mother. Jackson mentions his father, writing: “What he did to our family… Ruined our innocence forever.”
March 7, 2009: Jackson introduces a character named “Chibi.” The high-pitched voice and childish mannerisms of Chibi — played by Jackson — raise questions about the character’s close resemblance to that of Fred Figglehorn (first “Fred” upload was on October 30, 2006).
April [?], 2009: Controversial video “Murder Eaters” is uploaded then deleted by Jackson. In the video, the vlogger shares his extremely strong feelings about non-vegetarians. In the video, Jackson says: “Let me ask you something: If you murder animals on a regular basis, do you really think I give a fuck about your opinion?” Many respond negatively to Jackson posting and several critical response videos follow.
September 16, 2009: Jackson features his then-wife Skye Tantaga in a video titled “Married Life.” In a blog post uploaded on March 1, 2010, Jackson confirms that they married in August of 2005.
September 25, 2009: “Banana Song (I’m a Banana)” is uploaded. It will prove to be Jackson’s most popular upload to date receiving over 33 million cumulative views.
February 3, 2010: “Banana Song (I’m a Banana)” is selected as “Tosh.0’s” Viewer Video of the Week.
February 20, 2010: Playing characters, Jackson and wife Skye Tantaga post video in which they gossip about the “divorce” of Jackson and Tantaga. Jackson explains in character: “She [Tantaga] wasn’t in a few videos so I assumed they divorced, then I told everyone like I knew what I was talking about.” Clearly, the couple is attempting to dispel any rumors of a divorce.
June 25, 2010: After announcing that he would have his son circumcised, creator Shay Butler (Shaycarl) was confronted via Twitter by Jackson. The dispute resulted in Butler’s fans rushing to his support and a falling out between the two creators.
July 7, 2010: The first upload to Jackson’s secondary channel Onision Speaks is posted. However, in a video uploaded on November 21, 2009 to the original Onision channel, Jackson mentions Onision Speaks, which suggests several original uploads were deleted.
December 22, 2010: According to a contract, Jackson and Tantaga agreed to the financial conditions of their mutual divorce. The contract, which Jackson posted, states that he will take care of Tantaga’s financial needs (up to 30 percent of his income) for one year.
December 22, 2010 – January 3, 2011: Jackson uploads a video in which he documents that his ex-wife has broken into his home and stolen many of his belongings. The video is taken down but reposted elsewhere. In a video posted in 2012, Jackson confirms that Tantaga was responsible for the robbery.
Note on 2011: 2011 for Jackson can really be categorized as the year of Shiloh. The couple — Jackson and Canadian singer Shiloh Hoganson (Draculoh) — went through an extremely public, possibly fabricated series of disputes. As their inevitable split was broadcast through a variety of platforms (YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.) many of the said broadcastings were either removed and reposted by third parties or deleted altogether. With that, many of the specific dates are unclear due to the continuous content removals of both Jackson and Hoganson.
April 12, 2011: Jackson introducers Shiloh Hoganson in a video uploaded to his Onision Speaks channel. He states that they are dating. From that point on, Hoganson will appear in many of Jackson’s videos.
June 30, 2011: Over the course of June, Jackson and Hoganson upload a series of prank videos with titles such as: “Greg Gave Me Aids,” “She Cheated On Me” and “Shiloh Dumped Onision.”
June – July [?], 2011: In a video titled “Shiloh Forgot Me,” Jackson records Hoganson experiencing a bout of memory loss. In the video, Jackson claims that Hoganson lost three years of memory in a split second. The video received incredible amounts of backlash as viewers questioned why Jackson did not rush her to the hospital, why he uploaded the footage to YouTube and whether this was simply a joke played by Jackson and Hoganson.
July [?], 2011: Jackson uploaded a video claiming that Hoganson had threatened to “destroy” him. The video was taken down almost immediately.
July 17, 2011: According to a blog post made by Hoganson, her and Jackson separated. Both parties told conflicting stories about the nature of the split — Jackson claiming abuse, Hoganson claiming infidelity. After rumors surfaced that the “Canadian Mafia” was after Jackson, Hoganson’s post hints at a “bad crowd” but not the Canadian Mafia. In the post, Hoganson also claims that she is pregnant with Jackson’s child.
September 3, 2011: Jackson uploads a video titled “I Found Her” in which he mentions meeting a woman who would later be known as Adrienne Jourgensen.
September [?], 2011: Jourgensen publishes a letter about her short, rocky relationship with Jackson. In the letter she writes:
“It felt like the more I turned up my nose his attempts at controlling the situation, the more extravagant his next attempt would be. It was like the ultimate game of pong; back and forth, until one of us would slip up, and then it’s game over. I want you to remember, this is still night 3 of us talking. Not 3 years, not 3 months, not 3 weeks, 3 days. Please notice how he is already throwing the L word around — as if he is using it to control me and invoke fear, rather than to express any genuine feelings for me.”
“He told me that Shiloh is a psychotic pathelogical [sic] liar — that almost every word that comes out of her mouth is fabricated or designed to hurt someone. I think it goes without saying that he told me he didn’t believe she was pregnant and that she lied entirely about losing her memory — that she admitted it to him later. “
The letter goes on to detail Jourgensen’s email correspondence with Hoganson’s mother in which she explains that Hoganson and Jackson are back together. Hoganson’s mother writes:
“he [Jackson] tried mending things with his wife [Tantaga] when he booted Shiloh out, and now he’s turned to her when you guys didn’t work out….he just found the weakest link……it scares me cause i know how calloused he is from the last time. i was there to rescue her that time but now she’s too far away and knows absolutely nobody there. he is evil personified. it’ll only be a matter of time before he kicks her out onto the street again…..she just doesn’t seem to have any self worth any more.
November 9, 2011: Jackson uploads a video titled “Our Child” in which he claims that Hoganson is pregnant: “After a month of being together, Shiloh took a pregnancy test and reveled [sic] she is indeed pregnant.”
December 9, 2011: In a video update on Hoganson’s pregnancy, Jackson claims that she has suffered a miscarriage.
December [?], 2011: Jackson uploads a video claiming Hoganson has sepsis, an illness in which the carrier suffers from extreme reactions to bacteria.
December [?], 2011: Jackson releases a video titled “I’m Sorry” in which he claims the sepsis diagnosis was fabricated by Hoganson.
December 17, 2011: “Goodbye Shiloh” is released by Jackson with the description: “Shiloh, I hope you have a long and happy life… I will never stop loving you, despite everything… goodbye.”
January 20, 2012: Jackson posts on Facebook that he has been barred from attending VidCon 2012 due to “haters who spammed VidCon with anti-Onision mail.” The backlash is in response to a series of ex-girlfriend shaming videos aimed at Jourgensen, which resulted in thousands of negative responses calling Jackson a “rape apologist” and “slut shamer.”
In the video, Jackson states that Jourgensen had sex with more than 20 people before him and was therefore incapable of being raped.
In the wake of the controversy, Jackson loses over 24,000 subscribers.
October 5, 2012: Jackson uploads a video titled “Rise Above Hate.” In the video he adds the following annotation:
YouTube creator Daniel Sulzbach (MrRepzion) responds to Jackson’s video saying that: “I guess what really saddens me is that you have a fan base — young girls and young guys that look up to you between the ages of 10, 17, 18 and they ask you a simple question. They ask you, ‘how do I deal with these thoughts?’ And you turn it and switch it around and say ‘it’s your fault’.”
May 7, 2013: Jackson accuses Daniel Sulzbach (MrRepzion) of stalking him online. Jackson explains:
“I’ve had this little stalker on YouTube for a while. And he’s a pretty creepy dude.”
Jackson accuses Sulzbach of sending letters to his in-laws, “about what a terrible person he believes me to be.”
May 7, 2013: Sulzbach contacted NMR and gave the following quote regarding Jackson’s claims:
“As of this week he recently released a video addressing a stalker, which he assumes is me by claiming I wrote a hand-written letter to his parents in-laws. I can understand why he might think it was me due to my videos in the past on calling him out on his bullshit with evidence, but I do not like being accused of things I did not do.”
May 8, 2013: NMR reported: “In a recent upload titled “A New Low,” the YouTuber [Jackson] explains that after being sent a topless photo of an underaged girl, he was allegedly set up by a “hater” looking to defame him.
Jackson writes in the video’s about section:
“There’s a screencap out there of me responding to an email from a girl asking to be in my videos. I asked her for her facebook/channel to see if she was photogenic (photogenic = better thumbnails) – Not realizing she had already attached a photo of herself (I was using my cell phone).”
He adds, “You just don’t ask for someone’s facebook/channel when they send you a **** pic, I wouldn’t do that, problem is, I didn’t know it was there.”
Jackson has since cut off all communication with his fan base, explaining:
“I’m seeing a lot of love and support, and I appreciate that. Thank you bananas. This will be my last non-video status update for some time. Goodbye.”
June 21, 2013: Jackson seems to be keeping up his no contact with fans policy as this Facebook post confirms.
June 26, 2013: Jackson uploads a video explaining that his wife Lainey is now pregnant. The claims are confirmed by Lainey who posted an image of her stomach on Tumblr only to take it down immediately.
More On Greg Jackson (Onision):