YouTuber Shane Dawson’s biggest controversies from offensive jokes to blackface

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Shane Dawson, 32, began making YouTube videos in 2008 when he was just 19-years-old, gaining over half a billion views by 2010.

He is one of the original YouTube stars to rise to fame through the platform as it became more and more popular in the years that followed, even now he still boasts 20.3million subscribers.

His last YouTube video released was on June 27 2020 titled 'Taking Accountability' after a series of controversies resulted in a continuous backlash against him.

In the 12 years that Shane Dawson was making videos he has often found himself under fire, but what did he do?


In his early days as a YouTuber, Shane acted as multiple characters of different races, which saw him participate in blackface. He slowly started to phase the character work out of his channel going forward as more of his videos were getting reported and ultimately taken out.

He later admitted that his brand of comedy was to shock people in his early days, but he didn't want to come off as racially insensitive.

In his Taking Accountability video last year, he said: "I knew it was wrong, I never wanted to do it again, but 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."

He apologised for contributing to the "normalisation" of blackface and the N-word, adding that he understands that his character videos made his young audience believe those things were funny when they were not.

Inappropriate comments about Willow Smith

One of the mistakes he apologised for in his YouTube video was a clip of him performing lewd acts in front of a poster of Willow Smith, who was 11 in the photo.

He said: "At this point, realising how many people I've hurt or how many people I've inspired to say awful things or do anything awful, to finally own up to all this and be accountable is worth losing everything to me."

Her brother Jaden said he was "disgusted" adding that the video is the "furthest thing from funny," meanwhile, Jada Pinkett Smith tweeted to say she was "done with the excuses".

Jokes about bestiality

Years ago when talking about his sexual experiences on a podcast, he described his "first experience" as being with his cat Cheeto.

He made a suggestive comment on Shane and Friends surrounding bodily fluids when he was 19 years old.

He received a lot of backlash for his comments about his cat and later took to Twitter to admit that he didn't engage in a sexual act with his cat, adding "I've never done anything weird with my cats".

Manipulation accusation

James Charles and Tati Westbrook broke the internet in 2019 as they ignited a feud on YouTube – and as it continued, people accused Shane Dawson of "manipulating" the situation.

In a rant, Shane responded to the series of accusations that claimed he had manipulated the feud and as a result lost 20,000 followers.

Shortly after, he said he would be leaving Twitter for a few months because of the backlash adding that it's bad for his brain.

He said: "Sorry it wasn't the tea people wanted but I'm officially done with tea."

Paedophilia jokes

Dawson was called out on his jokes about a six-year-old immediately after it happened.

In 2014 on an episode of Shane and Friends he shared a conversation with a six-year-old fan that saw him refer to the child as "sexy," but he was immediately shut down by his co-host and told to stop.

He has since said: "I apologised countless times for my s***y offensive jokes. Instead of dragging me down, people should use me as an example of a creator who can change and better themselves and their content. I'm so proud of who I am today."

Conspiracy theories

Shane Dawson has continuously backed conspiracy theorists – whether he believes them or not – as a form of controversial chat on his YouTube channel.

Some of which include Chuck E.Cheese serving leftover pizza to customers, which were profusely denied by the restaurant, he's supported flat earthers, adding it "kind of makes sense," and even started a 9/11 conspiracy.

The video's monetisation option was removed by YouTube on his 9/11 conspiracy theory.

Last year, Shane apologised for most of his previous videos through his Taking Accountability clip. He said: "When I say I hate that person, I mean it in the most intense way possible. I hate that person so much.

"That person was filled with sadness, filled with anger about their own issues, in the closet, constantly projecting onto others. I don't know… that person is someone I don't like seeing."

Shane hasn't uploaded a video since his Taking Accountability clip.

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