‘Nothing was done’: YouTube star at center of first-of-its-kind lawsuit speaks out

MARION COUNTY, Fla. — A Marion County woman has filed a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit against one of the biggest companies in the world. She’s taking on YouTube and its parent company, Google, accusing them of benefitting from sex trafficking.


She claims she was groomed by one of the most famous YouTubers and his spouse, when she was just a teen. That YouTube star is responding only to Investigative Reporter Karla Ray.

James Jackson, who has also gone by Greg and is better known under the screen name Onision, says he doesn’t even know the woman who named him in that lawsuit.

He’s the subject of a docuseries on Discovery+, accusing him of being an online predator. That led to his YouTube channel from being de-monetized, meaning he’s no longer making money on the platform. The lawsuit says that should have happened sooner, and that YouTube and Google were on notice of his behavior, but let it go to pad their profits.

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With over two million subscribers, YouTuber Onision was one of the first to ever become internet famous on the video sharing site, but a new federal lawsuit claims his videos were not just controversial, but targeting children.

“Reliving and rehashing everything out, brings back, like, a flood of memories. And I feel like I’m 15, 16 again, and experiencing everything for the first time,” Regina Alonso said.

Alonso lives in Marion County, and she filed the suit accusing the man better known as Onision, his partner, and YouTube and Google of benefitting from a sex trafficking venture.

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It claims that ‘specifically, Onision appealed to minor females, like plaintiff, who were young, vulnerable, questioning their self image or identity, or were seeking answers and guidance,’ and goes on to claim those same girls were then “invited to the couple’s home with the intent to engage in sexual acts and three-way sexual encounters with the couple, or for additional grooming.”

“And at the end of all of it, nothing was done, and as a result of the lack of action by YouTube and Google, Regina was harmed down the road, and the YouTube platform was used to groom and exploit children,” attorney Lisa Haba said.

Attorneys Haba and James Marsh say their client was groomed from age 14 through 17 by Onision’s spouse, and ultimately invited to visit their home in Washington state.

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The lawsuit includes screen grabs of tweets made by Onision’s spouse referring to dating the then-teenage Regina. The trip, however, never actually happened, and Onision told 9 Investigates he has never even spoken directly to the woman now suing him.

“It’s so frustrating to have someone you’ve never met, never spoken to, making such a huge deal out of something that you have nothing to do with. And also never happened,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he believes the suit is an attempt to force YouTube and Google to pay out a settlement.

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“I am allowed to make videos about whatever topic I want,” Jackson said. “What they’re generally trying to say is that I’m responsible for whatever Regina’s thoughts and feelings are about a total stranger.”

We asked attorneys about that balance of free speech. They argue that because ‘YouTube was notified multiple times that Onision was harming young people on his platform but continued to profit share with him,’ that protection doesn’t apply.

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“I think our lawsuit is going to contribute to leading to not only the societal change here, but also holding these companies responsible for their own activities,” Marsh said.

9 Investigates reached out to YouTube and Google’s media relations team by phone and email, and have not yet heard back. The companies have not yet filed anything in response to the lawsuit.

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Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.