Updated June 23, 2020.
Tana Mongeau has been called out by a former friend and collaborator for her racist behaviour.
On June 15th, YouTuber Kahlen Barry uploaded a video titled, “finally revealing the truth about Tana Mongeau.” The 45-minute video details Kahlen’s experience working with Tana years ago when she chose him to be part of her collaboration channel, Trash.
Kahlen explains that he’s wanted to share his story for a long time, but felt scared of Tana and her influence— until now.
We spoke with Kahlen on his decision to speak out against the viral star, what he hopes his story will teach fellow BIPOC creators, and if he’s heard from Tana since his video went live.
Tana Mongeau has a reported history of racist behaviour, much of which has been exposed over the years. Throughout 2012-2014, the viral star allegedly used racial slurs in multiple tweets and Snapchats. She was also caught on camera calling her best friend Imari Stuart the N-word with a hard “r.”
In 2015 she apologised for her actions and claimed she thought the N-word meant “friend” or “homie.”
Fast forward a couple of years, and Tana found herself in the middle of another scandal when YouTuber iDubbbz attended her meet and greet in San Francisco. iDubbbz bated Tana, telling her to “say N*****!” instead of “say cheese!” as they posed for a photo. The moment was caught on camera and was allegedly retaliation for tweets Tana had posted months prior about iDubbbz using the N-word himself.
At the time, Kahlen Barry was part of Tana’s collaboration channel, Trash, and the only Black creator on the channel. Off the back of the iDubbbz situation, Kahlen initially stood in solidarity with Tana— a decision he says subjected him to an outpour of hate and negativity. As the situation evolved and Tana allegedly refused to accept responsibility for her words, Kahlen says he voiced his concerns to Tana.
In his video, Kahlen says Tana was not receptive to his concerns, which surprised him as they were friends. He alleges that Tana was defensive, played the victim, and took his feedback as an attack.
Throughout the video, Kahlen details many other alleged instances where he felt Tana’s actions were based in racism— namely, gaslighting Kahlen, invalidating his feelings, framing him as an “angry Black person,” and even reportedly spreading rumours to others in the industry that Kahlen had been arrested.
Watch Kahlen’s full video below.
On his reason for speaking out now, Kahlen told Centennial Beauty that he was inspired by other Black creators. “With the climate we’re in and after seeing other Black entertainers speak out, I wanted to share my story for closure, to educate, and to give other people in my community the strength to speak out and share their stories.”
“I don’t want to live in a world where anyone has to feel as scared as I did for so many years.”
Kahlen hopes to inspire other BIPOC to share their experiences, as it’s these stories that can ignite real change. “It’s creating a space that makes it easier for the next person to feel comfortable enough [to speak out] and to be brave.”
Despite Tana’s massive platform, Kahlen says this experience has helped him realise he has his own audience that supports him. “The public reaction has been better than anything I ever hoped for. I always felt so alone when I went through all of what I endured. I thought that if I ever spoke out people would think I’m bitter or that I’m trying to create issues,” says Kahlen. “Knowing that I have allies as well as members of my own community who are listening and also making my voice heard, gives me so much hope.”
“I am extremely grateful to have people fighting this fight with me.”
As for Tana, Kahlen says he has not heard from her yet. “I’m very hurt that she has been on social media promoting her OnlyFans and being a performative activist by not addressing the video I made,” he says. “It’s not even just about me. As much as an apology would be nice, so many Black people watch her channel and she owes them at least to grow and do better.”
Editor’s note: Since date of publishing, Tana has publicly apologised to Kahlen with the below tweets.