Shane Dawson Addresses His Past

This article was originally published on July 20, 2020.

With the Black Lives Matter movement still going strong, many have started to point out influencers which they believe should address their mistakes in the past, one of them being Shane Dawson. Shane Lee Yaw aka Shane Dawson has been a creator on the YouTube platform for around 15 years and has been especially targeted since many offensive clips of his old videos have been resurfacing on YouTube in compilations. On June 26th, he uploaded a YouTube video called “Taking Accountability” to take ownership of some of the mistakes he has made in the past. Below, we have included a few examples of his errors, some of which he unfortunately never addressed.

One of the resurfaced clips includes Shane Dawson pretending to masturbate in front of a poster of then eleven-year-old Willow Smith who was popular at the time for her song “Whip My Hair.” On June 27th, Jaden Smith addressed the clip by tweeting that he was disgusted by Shane Dawson’s actions of sexualizing his younger sister, Willow Smith who was a child at the time. Jaden went on to mention how Shane would do blackface, which is using cosmetic products to make someone’s skin darker, “on the regular” as well. Jada Pinkett Smith, Jaden and Willow’s mother, also tweeted that she is “done with the excuses.”

Moreover, Shane Dawson has received a massive amount of backlash for his constant use of characters based on racial stereotypes; for example, Shanaynay who he would portray by using blackface, following African/African-American stereotypes, and saying the n-word which is highly offensive. He would also ridicule other races and cultures in his fake music videos. For example, he would make rude comments about Mexicans being poor, dirty, immigrants, and maids.

In Shane Dawson’s podcast, “Shane and Friends,” which ended in 2017, he talked about not understanding how you can fetishize toes but not babies and admitted to googling “naked babies” to pretend to be a pedophile. On the podcast, he also talked about seeing a young girl’s Instagram account and claimed that her photos were “sexy.” Moreover, he recorded himself with his mother going on, a website where you can talk to strangers using a video chat, and asked a young girl to twerk for them. On his channel, he has also asked kids to do and say inappropriate things.

During the month of March 2019, another audio file had circulated around the internet of him talking about an intimate moment with his cat from when he was 19. He tweeted out saying that he only did it for shock value and has learned his lesson over the years to be entertaining by being himself. He said that the story was based on an old sketch idea that he never made.

Along with these incidents, Shane Dawson also made a movie called Not Cool and a documentary called The Chair, which showed how they created Not Cool. One part of the behind the scenes cuts shows how Shane was being rude to the people he was working with and unwilling to cooperate with the actors. Critics say that the actual movie was very offensive, which explains why so many of the actors were unwilling to do the movie in the first place and left. The movie consisted of many racial stereotypes and many uncalled for scenes including jokes about overweight people, under and oversexed people and women, and scenes with bad bowels, genitalia, and puke.

Because of all these incidents, poorly executed apologies in the past, and other controversies within the beauty community, Shane decided to create his apology video to finally address and take responsibility for everything. The twenty-minute long video began with him talking about how he does not associate himself with who he was in the past and that all his past apology videos were made out of fear. Dawson explains that he had a bad childhood and faced many issues with depression and anxiety. He then made his first apology to the African/African-American community and his young supporters who condoned his behavior because he felt guilty that they accepted his wrongdoings. Shane admitted that he probably should have lost his career for all the damage he had done and promises that he has no hate in his heart for anybody. He also apologized to Franchesca Ramsey, a YouTuber who attempted to expose Shane for his racist actions in 2013, and says that he should have listened to her at the time instead of thinking that she was a hater.

Dawson then started to address the pedophilic issues by bringing up the audio clip that talked about him describing a child’s Instagram account. He brings up the fact that it was edited to make it sound like he thought pedophilia was acceptable and that he acknowledges that he shouldn’t have been joking about such things anyway. Shane added that he would never actually describe a minor in any sexual way and that he only did it for his “child molester character.”

Shane Dawson said that he has changed himself completely over time and stated that to own up to everything, he would be willing to lose everything. He then lightly touches on the big controversy that beauty Youtubers Tati and James Charles had last year that many people are claiming Shane was a part of. He says all of those rumors are lies. Lastly, Shane Dawson addressed the note that he posted on Twitter which offended a lot of people, especially with the lines about James Charles getting a piece of “humble pie” and that he was “leaving the beauty community.” Many people had problems with these statements because they believed Shane was never in the community, to begin with, and that he was in no position to tell others to be humbled. Lastly, he apologized for holding his friends to a “lower-level” than he does others. Shane Dawson concluded the video by stating that he hopes other people can learn that it’s human to make mistakes and know that not everyone will accept your apologies.

However, despite his efforts, many criticisms were made about how Dawson executed his apology. Internet users started to compare his video with Jenna Marble’s apology video, since Shane mentioned at the beginning of his video that her apology was his inspiration. To give some background information, Jenna Marbles is currently known to be a wholesome Youtuber, making silly content of her daily life with her pets. When she started creating on Youtube in 2010, she also made videos making some racist comments against Asians and also allegedly participating in blackface. However, the fans that have watched Jenna grow over the years have seen her sincerity in making sure her viewers aren’t hurt by what she makes.

Many people believe Shane made his apology video because there was good feedback from the public to Jenna’s video. Dawson’s video got a different reaction compared to Jenna’s video, as people were not satisfied with the excuse he continuously used of blaming his old self. Many commenters mentioned in their comments that he did not go over the Willow Smith situation or many of the other pedophilic things he did and how they were confused about how his depression would cause him to sexualize children, as they are not connected at all. Some people are seen defending Shane and asking to not cancel him over mistakes he made 10 years ago that were not even considered problematic at the time they were made. Overall though, a large majority of viewers are disappointed in Shane. On the other hand, though he has had a more controversial past than other influencers, many people on the internet have observed that his number of followers on social media have been decreasing at a slower rate than others.

Many fans were shocked and disgusted to see the resurfaced clips, as they were not familiar with his old style of content which was from years ago because the YouTuber had shifted to an entirely new style of content consisting of docuseries and helping out fellow YouTubers. They felt betrayed that Shane, the empath that they used to trust, was able to make profit off of such ignorant jokes. Many commentary Youtubers and drama channels have started making their speculations about how Shane is lying when he says he didn’t take part in the Tati and James Charles drama. They have brought up many valid points, including that for Shane to make the offensive content, he had to have gone through many steps and hours of effort in order for these “mistakes” to be made. As of now, Shane has been suspended from monetizing his videos and has lost around 1 million subscribers. The makeup palette that he worked on with Jeffree Star has been taken off of Morphe stores, and there have been rumors that Shane is being put through a criminal investigation. Day by day, the internet is learning more about the influencers that the youth are growing up with. It’s important that we encourage influencers who are good role models so that the future generations are inspired to do good in society. This article is not to bash Shane Dawson, but it is to bring light on to what has happened regarding his past, how he tried to own up to it, the public’s reaction, and the aftermath of his apology video. We hope you do not take any offense to this article.