YouTuber Shane Dawson has addressed the criticism he has received for using blackface, saying the N-word and other racial slurs, insulting people living with disabilities, joking about pedophilia and more.
In a 20-minute video released on Friday, titled Taking Accountability, the 31-year-old YouTuber issued public apologies to his 23 million subscribers for his past comments made on his YouTube channel.
“I have done a lot of things in my past that I hate, that I wish I could make go away, that I tried to make go away by deleting videos, or untagging my Instagram, literally doing whatever I can to pretend those things didn’t happen,” he said. “Because yes, I apologized for a lot of them but I’m 31, almost 32. Those apologies suck. I don’t know who that person is anymore.
“Right now is very much a time of wanting people to be accountable, wanting punishment for people and I agree and that’s why I’m making this video,” he said.
“This video is coming from a place of just wanting to own up to my s–t, wanting to own up to everything I’ve done on the internet that has hurt people, that has added to the problem, that has not been handled well. I should have been punished for things.”
Dawson addressed his history of “all the racism that (he) put onto the internet,” and highlighted that he “made the decision to play stereotypes of Black people or Asian people or Mexicans or pretty much every race.”
“Blackface was something that I did a lot,” he said. “There’s no excuse for it. There’s literally no excuse… I didn’t do the work. I didn’t look into the history of it and why it’s so wrong, and why people were so upset.
“I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be Black, and see this white f–king guy do blackface, and the whole internet at that time being like, ‘LOL!’ That’s insane and I am so sorry. I don’t know how to even fully apologize because it seems like something it’s irredeemable.
“I should lose everything for that.”
Dawson said he contributed to the “normalization” of using the N-word and blackface.
“It’s not a funny word, especially for a white person to say. Me, as a white person, wearing a wig, playing a character, doing stereotypes and then saying the N-word is something that I should have probably lost my career for at the time. There’s no amount of apologizing that can take it away.”
Dawson said there’s also “no amount of apologizing that could take away the impact it had.”
“At this point realizing how many people I’ve hurt, or how many people I’ve inspired to say awful things or do anything awful, to finally just own up to all of this and be accountable is worth losing everything to me,” he said.
Dawson also noted that he “shouldn’t have been joking about” pedophilia on his podcast.
He went on to talk about all the “pain” he dealt with during his childhood.
“I had a lot of bad things happen to me. I’ve had a lot of issues with my family. I took that pain and I turned it into jokes. I think instead of joking about them so much I should have just went to therapy,” he said.
“I swear on my life I am not somebody who would ever talk about a child in seriousness. I would never talk about a child in any way that was inappropriate. That is disgusting. It is gross.
“I thought I was in a weird category where I could say whatever I want. And I did and now it’s the biggest regret of my entire life.
“At this point, realizing how many people I’ve hurt, or how many people I’ve inspired to say awful things or do anything awful, to finally just own up to all of this and be accountable is worth losing everything to me.”
Dawson concluded his video by saying that he promises to show change with his actions.
“It’s OK to admit that you’re wrong. It’s OK to be upset at your past self for making mistakes,” he said, “but also it’s OK if people don’t want to accept your apology and don’t want to support you anymore. That’s OK, too, and I understand.
“I promise that whatever I do next will be putting good into the world and it won’t be putting hate or drama or anything negative. And I’m going to stick by that.”
An old clip of Dawson resurfaced after his video apology went viral and the Smith family called him out for his actions.
The clip featured the YouTuber pretending to masturbate to a photo of Willow Smith, who was 11 years old at the time.
“To Shane Dawson … I’m done with the excuses,” Willow’s mom, Jada Pinkett Smith tweeted.
To Shane Dawson … I’m done with the excuses.
— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) June 27, 2020
“SHANE DAWSON I AM DISGUSTED BY YOU. YOU SEXUALIZING AN 11 YEAR OLD GIRL WHO HAPPENS TO BE MY SISTER!!!!!! IS THE FURTHEST THING FROM FUNNY AND NOT OKAY IN THE SLIGHTEST BIT,” Willow’s brother Jaden Smith said on Twitter.
SHANE DAWSON I AM DISGUSTED BY YOU. YOU SEXUALIZING AN 11 YEAR OLD GIRL WHO HAPPENS TO BE MY SISTER!!!!!! IS THE FURTHEST THING FROM FUNNY AND NOT OKAY IN THE SLIGHTEST BIT.
— Jaden (@jaden) June 27, 2020
“This man was also doing blackface on the regular. As the youth we need to support creators who support us and our morals. This is not OK.”
This Man Was Also Doing Black Face On The Regular🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️. As The Youth We Need To Support Creators Who Support Us And Our Morals. This Is Not Okay.
— Jaden (@jaden) June 27, 2020
Dawson has not responded to Jaden or Jada Pinkett Smith as of this writing.
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