Shane Dawson: Who is the YouTuber and why are his comments causing controversy?

The social media star has been the subject of controversy for several years since he launched his YouTube career in 2008

Katie O'Malley
Monday 18 March 2019 11:52
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Shane Dawson's statement on claims of paedophilia

American YouTube star Shane Dawson is one of the most famous names on the Internet.

The 30-year-old social media influencer, born Shane Lee Yaw, boasts over 21m subscribers to his YouTube channel and 7.94m Twitter followers.

Since launching his online career on YouTube in 2008, Dawson has gone on to become an entrepreneur in the field of literature, comedy, and acting.

However, despite his popularity, Dawson has been at the centre of several controversies over the years.

He most recently came under fire after a resurfaced podcast appeared on Twitter in which he makes a crude joke relating to his cat.

Here’s everything you need to know about Shane Dawson:

What did he say about his cat?

During a broadcast of his podcast in 2015, Dawson claimed he had done “terrible things” to his pets before describing in details his crude acts.

“One time, I laid my cat down on her back,” the YouTuber began before suggested he had performed a sex act on his pet, adding that he “came all over her”.

Directors Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci speak onstage at the 'The Chair' panel during the Starz portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association

Shane continued to say that he was 19 years old when the act took place, much to the shock of his co-hosts.

After the clip resurfaced again on Sunday, Dawson took to Twitter with a series of comments to admit that the comments were a “dumb” joke for which he was sorry.

“I didn’t f**k my cat. I didn’t c*m on my cat. I didn’t put my d**k anywhere near my cat. I’ve never done anything weird with my cats,’ he told his followers.

“I promised myself I wasn’t going to make apology videos after last year’s thing so I’m just trying to be as short and honest with this as possible.”

Dawson continued to explain that the story was part of a sketch idea, adding: “That story was fake and was based on a dumb awful sketch idea I had years ago that I never made (THANK GOD) and when the opportunity came up for a funny moment in the podcast I told it as if it was a real story which was DISGUSTING and VERY VERY DUMB.

“My goal with the podcast and with my videos years ago was to tell shocking stories that would make people laugh and scream ‘OMG NO U DIDNT!!’ and think I was ‘soooo crazy’. It’s embarrassing and I f**king hate myself for it.”

What other controversy has he been involved in?

Dawson’s original comments about his cat came a year after he was embroiled in controversy for a statement he made concerning paedophilia.

In a clip from the star’s “Shane and Friends” podcast from 2014, Dawson described an encounter with a six-year-old fan who had over 125,000 followers.

“She shows me her Instagram, and - first of all, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but she was kind of sexy,” Dawson said of her social media platform.

Dawson’s co-host went on to say that Dawson’s comment was “disgusting” and that he had a “disturbing” “justification for paedophilia”.

In response, Dawson stated: “Having sex with children or touching children is terrible and you should not do it.

“But, here’s my thing - people have foot fetishes. People have fetishes about everything.”

In 2018, Dawson confirmed that the comments were made by him but said in a video that during that time he was intentionally making inflammatory statements, in the hope of making people laugh with shock.

The apology video has garnered more than 7m views.

"I grew up," he also wrote on Twitter about his comments. "I changed my content. I apologised countless times for my sh*tty 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."

On Sunday, Dawson’s comment resurfaced again on Twitter in a post that has received over 20,000 “likes”.

“WHAT THE F**K - PEOPLE LIKE HEARD THIS AND STILL SUPPORT HIM WHAT THE HELL, HE TRIED TO DEFEND PEDOPHILIA 3 TIMES IN 1 BREATH,” Twitter user @jovanforever wrote of the podcast.

“Watched it and still think he’s repulsive. Now what?” one user commented on the post.

“This made me so uncomfortable wtf,” wrote another.

Following the post, fellow YouTube star Garret Watts came to Dawson’s defence.

In a screenshot about Dawson, Watts describes his friend as “one of the most thoughtful, king hearted and empathetic guys” he knows.

Why is he famous?

Dawson began making videos on YouTube in 2008, aged 19, and launched his podcast “Shane and Friends” in 2012.

The podcast, which involved discussions about popular culture and the lives of guests, ran for five seasons until it came to an end in 2017.

Following comparison that the podcast was similar to that of fellow controversial broadcaster Howard Stern’s Dawson previously told Forbes: “I’ve been watching Howard since I was a kid. Yeah, when they were designing the studio, I told them to just do it like Howard’s.”

Since 2015, the influencer has been presenting his own YouTube series on conspiracies which explores conspiracy theories ranging from those about the Californian wildfires at the end of 2018 and restaurant chain Chuck E. Cheese re-serving leftover pizzas to other customers. The company denies this claim.

Dawson is also the author of best-selling books such as I Hate Myself and It Gets Worse.

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