Shane Dawson, one of YouTube’s biggest creators, addressed racist and offensive videos from his past in a new 20-minute video on Friday, where he said his previous apologies were not good enough.
Dawson, who has nearly 23 million subscribers, rose to fame on the platform about 10 years ago by doing comedy sketches, which often featured blackface and acted as characters that perpetuated racist stereotypes. The 31-year-old internet celebrity previously apologized for his videos, but said those apologies were just excuses.
“Blackface was something that I did a lot, as I did a lot on my channel, and there is no excuse for it. There is literally no excuse, “said Dawson. “I made a video six years ago talking about it and made excuses. And I knew it was wrong, I never wanted to do it again, but I didn’t do the job. I didn’t really examine history and why it’s so wrong, and why people were so upset. “
He said he regretted contributing to the normalization of the black face and the N word, realizing that his sketches made his young audience believe those things were fun when they weren’t.
“I am very sorry to anyone who has seen that and also seen that people were lifting me up and saying, ‘You are so funny, Shane, oh my God, you are so funny,'” Dawson said. “I can’t even put myself in that headspace, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be black and see this white guy making a black face and the whole internet at the time like, hahaha.
Dawson said he has since investigated the history of the black face and how it was used to oppress blacks. Blackface in America started in the early 1800s, when white artists darkened their skin to taunt blacks in minstrel shows.
White artists, usually men, mocked black slaves by characterizing them as lazy and ignorant. One of the most famous black-faced characters was “Jim Crow,” played by Thomas Rice, who is often cited in naming the Jim Crow laws that are used to deny American blacks their civil rights after the end. of slavery.
Dawson also addressed the jokes he made about pedophilia by creating a “child-abusing character” in videos, one of which included sexualizing Willow Smith when he was just 11 years old.
Jada Pinkett Smith and son Jaden Smith responded to Dawson on Twitter on Saturday, though he did not directly address the Willow Smith video.
“SHANE DAWSON, I AM disgusted with you,” Jaden tweeted. “YOU SEXUALIZE AN 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO HAPPENS TO BE MY SISTER !!!!!! IT’S THE MOST FUNNY THING OF FUN AND IT’S NOT WELL ON THE LIGHT. ”
Pinkett Smith simply tweeted to Dawson: “I’m done with the excuses.”
Dawson explained to his audience that he made terrible jokes instead of dealing with his own personal problems and past childhood trauma. The 31-year-old creator admitted that he should have “gone to therapy” and addressed his problems instead of putting those things on the Internet.
“When I say that I hate that person, I say it in the most intense way possible. I really hate that person, “said Dawson. “That person was full of sadness, full of anger at her own problems, in the closet, constantly projecting herself on others. I don’t know … that person is someone I don’t like to see. “
Dawson’s 20-minute video, titled “Take Responsibility,” was released just a day after fellow YouTuber Jenna Marbles said she would leave the platform after making racist pranks and black-face videos in the early years of her career. .
While the response to the Marbles video was mixed, many mentioned the fact that other YouTubers had a much longer story with black faces and racist sketches, including Dawson. Dawson also said in his video that he realizes that some people will never forgive him for his actions.
Some responded to Dawson’s Friday video with comments about how the man has grown in subsequent years, but most of the responses insisted that his behavior as an adult was inexcusable, regardless of the trauma he suffered. Critics also noted that it is not the place of white fans to accept an apology intended for black, Asian, Latino, and LGBTQ people who mocked Dawson.
Social Blade, a third-party website that tracks YouTuber analytics like video numbers and subscribers, reports that Dawson has lost around 300,000 followers to his channel between Friday and Sunday morning.
Dawson said in his video that he should have lost his career because of the videos and that he accepts that he should lose everything even today, but unlike Marbles, he did not say that he would stop making videos. Instead, she told fans that she wants to improve with the videos she creates and open up her platform to be more inclusive.