All Of Shane Dawson’s Past Scandals That Make His Return To YouTube Difficult To Watch

Photo: YouTube / Shane Dawson
Shane Dawson

Shane Dawson is back on YouTube and says he is "grateful" he was canceled last year.

In a 40 minute update vlog, Dawson says he "learned a lot" and is "happy it happened," but says he is not the person he used to be and no longer cares what anyone thinks of him.”

Dawson reigned as the “King Of YouTube” for over a decade after establishing his following in 2008 and had over 22 million subscribers on his main channel at the height of his career. 

However, his fall from grace in June 2020 has condemned him to near obscurity until now.

Now, as social media users divide over whether or not Dawson can be forgiven, many are once again calling out his controversial past.

As a warning, Dawson’s scandals include references to sexual abuse, child abuse, animal abuse, and racism. 

Why was Shane Dawson canceled? 

Dawson’s complicated list of scandals was over a decade in the making with old videos, tweets, and interviews illustrating years of racism, discrimination, and disturbing alleged sexual misconduct. 

While his problematic content had been hiding in plain sight for years, his involvement in James Charles and Tati Westbrook’s high-profile feud — aka Dramageddon 2 — brought Dawson’s past to the spotlight in another beauty community scandal dubbed “Karmageddon.” 

More than a year after Westbrook and Charles’ initial feud about Charles’ alleged sexual misconduct, Dawson released a now-deleted statement announcing he was leaving the beauty community after a brief but lucrative makeup collaboration with Jeffree Star. Dawson also addressed rumors about his involvement in the scandal. 

While slamming the community and denying involvement in the scandal, Dawson added that he thought Charles "needed to be served a slice of humble pie."

At the time, Charles had appeared to be innocent of the accusations brought against him. That said, recent allegations of Charles’ misconduct with minors do imply Dawson may not have been wrong about his view of Charles. But, back in 2020, Dawson’s statement didn’t go down too well. 

Following Dawson’s statement, Westbrook released an explosive takedown video in which she accused Dawson and Jeffree Star of orchestrating the attack on Charles. This prompted an onslaught of criticism directed at Dawson and a takedown of one of YouTube’s longest-standing creators. 

Shane Dawson’s past scandals then came to the surface. 

Putting the “karma” in “Karmageddon,” the internet soon exploded with old videos of Dawson featuring disturbing references to child sexual abuse, bestiality, racism, antisemitism, and more. 

Dawson wore blackface in old videos.

Dawson’s older videos of sketch comedy regularly involved him dressing up in blackface to act out degrading stereotypes of Black people like some kind of modern-day minstrel show. 

Dawson was also filmed using the n-word on a number of occasions and making offensive racist “jokes.”

In one resurfaced clip, Dawson responds to fans’ requests for his Black friend to make her own YouTube channel, saying, “She doesn’t even know what she’s doing, she’s Black, she just slaps her keyboard.” 

Dawson addressed the allegations of racism in an apology video posted last year. 

“Blackface was something that I did a lot. Like, I did it a lot on my channel. There’s no excuse for it, there’s literally no excuse,” he said. “I didn’t do the work. I didn’t actually look into the history of it and why it’s so wrong, and why people were so upset.”

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Dawson made references to pedophilia. 

Dawson’s videos and social media content featured many references to pedophilia and sexual abuse in his early years on YouTube. 

One clip shows Dawson and his girlfriend at the time demonstrating sex acts to his 12-year-old cousin using toys and asking her about her menstrual cycle. 

Another clip shows him encouraging a young girl to seductively eat a cocktail sausage, telling her that many child predators watch his channel.

Other evidence includes Dawson laughing about the sexual abuse and murder of a baby and posting rape threats on social media.

In a 2013 podcast interview, Dawson makes a disturbing statement about child sexual abuse all while telling a story about a 6-year-old he met and described her as “sexy.” 

“Here is my justification for pedophilia,” Dawson says before asking why foot fetishes are normalized but sexualizing children is not. He then says he once searched for child pornography online.

In 2018, Dawson addressed the interview and apologized for what he called “jokes” about pedophilia. 

Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jaden Smith called out Shane Dawson. 

Outrage at Dawson’s older content was intensified when Jaden Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith responded to an old clip of Dawson pretending to masturbate while looking at a cardboard cut-out of an 11-year-old Willow Smith. 

“Shane Dawson, I am disgusted by you,” Jaden tweeted at the time before calling out Dawson’s use of blackface and encouraging his followers to stop supporting creators who don’t align with their morals. 

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Dawson was accused of sexually assaulting his cat. 

Bestiality is yet another of the concerning themes in Dawson’s old videos. Footage that resurfaced last year showed Dawson simulating sex acts on his pets and allegedly spitting in their mouths. 

In a 2015 podcast interview, Dawson describes what he calls his “first sexual experience” at 19-years-old involving his cat. 

"One time, I laid my cat down on her back and then moved her little chicken legs spread open," he said in the podcast. "I came all over the cat."

In 2019, Dawson vehemently denied that he had ever performed sex acts on animals in a series of tweets. He also stated he had fabricated the story to generate shock factor and admitted that the “joke” was disgusting. 

Dawson performed antisemitic 'sketches.' 

Dawson’s videos also regularly targeted other minority groups, namely the Jewish community. 

Playing into awful stereotypes, Dawson’s skits featured Jewish characters surrounded by money and menorahs in a star of David. 

Dawson also wears what appears to be a Hitler costume and says, "And now we must go and kill the Jews," an obvious example of grotesque antisemitism shielded as a “joke.”  

Shane Dawson apologized for past mistakes. 

Amid the 2020 controversy, Dawson made a lengthy video addressing most of the allegations against him. 

Dawson had deleted almost 1 billion views worth of old videos in an effort to remove some of his offensive and problematic content from public view. 

“All of that is stupid and wrong. And I put that onto the internet as an adult, and that is insane,” he said. He said he no longer makes “jokes” similar to his older content.

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.