Culture

Here’s Why The Internet Finally Wants To Cancel Shane Dawson

With racist videos featuring blackface and references in defence of paedophilia, fans are finally turning against YouTuber Shane Dawson.

shane dawson cancelled

Over the weekend, YouTuber Shane Dawson released an apology video in response to all the criticism about his past racist videos that featured blackface and heavy use of the n-word.


Warning: This article makes frequent reference to racial slurs, child abuse and allegations of sexual assault. 


Claiming that he was “inspired” by Jenna Marbles recent apology, the 31-year-old released his own 20-minute sit-down video titled “Taking Accountability”.

“I made the decision to play stereotypes of Black people, or Asian people, or Mexicans, or pretty much every race,” Shane Dawson said. “Blackface was something that I did a lot… on my channel. And there’s no excuse for it. There’s literally no excuse.”

“I made a video six years ago talking about it and I gave excuses and it was wrong… but I didn’t do the work,” he continued. “I didn’t actually look into the history of it and why it’s so wrong and why people were so upset.”

“I’m sorry I added to the normalisation of blackface or the normalisation of saying the n-word,” Dawson said. “Me as a white person wearing a wig and playing a character and doing stereotypes and then saying the n-word is something that I should have probably lost my career for at the time.”

Shane Dawson’s Racist History

Shane Dawson’s early YouTube career focused on poking fun at minorities by doing offensive impressions in his skits — often while wearing blackface.

From his recurring character the “ghetto” Shanaynay through to his impersonations of Will Smith, Liberty Van Zandt from Degrassi, Randy Jackson from American Idol and Nicki Minaj, Dawson’s early brand was built on blackface.

Beyond blackface, Dawson also frequently used racial slurs, insults and stereotypes in his videos. In his spoof of The Help, he even went so far as to call Shanna Malcolm, a black woman and his then-friend, a “n***er bitch monkey woman”. Later, while urging Shanna to make her own channel, Dawson said that Shanna “doesn’t know what she’s doing” because “she’s black!”

In another clip, Dawson insults a black child on the back of a Betty Crocker cake box and calls her hair “nasty”, while in a Avril Lavigne parody he does a stereotypical “ching chong” lyric to mock the Japanese language and pulls the sides of his eyes.

Back in 2014, Shane even made a disturbing joke about Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old black student who was killed by George Zimmerman. In the video, Shane mocks the Martin’s death by saying “maybe you wouldn’t have been walking around the streets if you had a job”.


Resurfaced Videos Of Alleged Child Abuse

In his apology, beyond addressing his past racist videos, Shane Dawson also brushes past the very serious claims relating to child abuse.

There have been a number of resurfaced videos that feature Shane talking about children in an inappropriate manner. In one viral Twitter thread, @misshemlock rounds up a number of incidents, such as when Dawson requested that a young fan “twerk” for him and “show herself”, another where he jokingly talked about wanting to “rape” his young fans wearing his merch and a video where he spoke to his 12-year-old cousin about sex, her period and “dick rings” during a vlog.

In one of the more notable examples, Dawson describes a six-year-old as being “sexy” and admits to “pretending to be a paedophile” by a searching for child porn on his podcast. During the same podcast, Dawson then justifies paedophilia by saying it’s the “same” as any other fetish.

In another highly disturbing clip, Shane asks a child to slowly eat a sausage on camera for the “child molesters” watching his channel. While seemingly a joke, Dawson tells the child to “eat it slow” as he moans in the background in an Asian accent saying “oh I like-a that weiny, it tastes-a so good”.

Later in the same video, Shane requests that the child then give another girl a lap dance as he plays ‘My Neck, My Back’ by Khia. The child complies and gives the dance as Shane records the incident.

However, one video that has gotten mainstream attention is a disturbing clip where Shane Dawson pretends to masturbate over a promotional photo of a then-11-year-old Willow Smith, while asking her to “whip [her] hair back and forth”.

Addressing the podcast comments in his apology, Shane Dawson acknowledged that he should never have joked about paedophilia. However, he also claimed that the pain from his childhood and his family issues are why he makes such inappropriate jokes.

“I think instead of joking about them so much, I should’ve went to therapy and talked about them,” Dawson said. “I swear on my life I am not somebody who would ever talk about a child that in any way was inappropriate. That is disgusting, that is gross, it is not something I would ever do. It is something I did for shock value or because I thought it was funny.”

However, this apology was not enough for the Smith family, who publicly called out Shane Dawson for his “excuses” and more importantly, for the sexualisation of Willow.

Since his apology and the Smith family’s comments, people have called for Shane Dawson to be removed from YouTube, while companies like Target have pulled his books their shelves and online store.

With the hashtag #ShaneDawsonIsOver trending, his ex-fans are voicing their disappointment in the fact that Jenna Marbles felt she had to leave YouTube, while Shane Dawson is still being given a platform.


If you or someone you know needs support contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or visit the government’s new mental health portal at headtohealth.gov.au.