Mary Kelley, Scarlet Staff

Youtuber Shane Dawson posted several text-heavy posts to his Instagram story supporting his fiancé, Ryland Adams. Adams is beginning a new internet talk show featuring Lizzie Gordon. Dawson specified that this post was not his return to “the internet,” just a brief pause of his silence to support “his man.” This is the first thing Dawson has posted publicly since his most recent scandal of June 2020. For the YouTube beauty community, as well as those who are just simply fans of YouTube drama, this was massive, and it just so happened to be right at the start of quarantine when the world was bloodthirsty enough to thoroughly enjoy Tiger King.

This was not “new tea” in fact this “tea” began by Shane apologizing for all his past content. Dawson’s apology video was posted within a week of beloved Youtuber, Jenna “Marbles” Mourey posting her own unprompted apology video citing past infractions: impersonating BIPOC artist Nicki Minaj and a racist Asian character featured in the video. Mourey stated she did not know if the channel nor her persona “Jenna Marbles” remains necessary. Her apology video was met with love and affection from her followers as well as people across the internet, in the comment section of the video, with reaction videos, and with long posts on Instagram and Twitter detailing Mourey’s long-lasting mark on the Youtube community and fan’s were somewhat surprised since Mourey hasn’t displayed any of those behaviors in a number of positive content filled years. Mourey has yet to return to creating internet content. Dawson’s apology video followed Mourey’s in an attempt to acknowledge his past indiscretions without “rehashing” any old scandals. The video itself was fine. It was a good step in the right direction and did not seem to be some sort of press statement released in haste before a scandal drops. Unfortunately for Dawson, this was June of 2020 and the world simultaneously had lost their patience and their tolerance for a white man who had abused BIPOC for years, not to mention benefiting from it financially. 

Scandals are not new to Dawson, the influencer has done a lot over the years in an attempt of “edgy humor,” as if the proverbial “edge” was rock bottom. Dawson had characters that were horrible stereotypes, pushed BIPOC comedians into racist roles, and not to mention years worth of videos posted publicly online where he was in blackface or featured actors in black face on his channel. Dawson had previously apologized for these actions and was eventually “forgiven” by most of Youtube, to the extent that he was being featured in official Youtube content, not just his own independent channel. Then another scandal broke where a soundbite from Dawson’s podcast from 2016 resurfaced and in the clip, Dawson insinuated that some babies are “sexy.” When Dawson was finally past the pedophilia claims, another clip where he insinuated that he had intimacy with a cat resurfaced. These clips and scandals occurred more frequently with Dawson’s increasing quality productions. His hours-long intensive docu-series brought more attention to the creator in the last few years, the most recent series ending with Dawson launching a makeup and merchandise line that has been going out of stock so quickly that it has destroyed websites. Dawson has had his fair share of scandals in the past but somehow he has seemed to continue and move past them. 

This summer a former fan circulated a clip of Dawson pretending to masturbate, on a then 11-year-old, Willow Smith cardboard cutout display in a mall and unsurprisingly the Smith’s stepped forward. The family publicly rejected Dawson’s apology and condemned his behavior, which largely swayed the entire internet into “canceling” the YouTuber. Of course, Dawson has been canceled time and time again but his next post most likely cost him what was left of his career. 

The next day, fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook posted a tell-all follow-up to her “Bye Sister” where she posed allegations of sexual harassment toward fellow Youtuber James Charles who was just 18 years old at the time. Westbrook publicly received support from most of the Youtube community, most notably Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star. Then within the next couple of months, Dawson started releasing trailers for his docuseries “The Secret World of Jeffree Star” which followed the detailed process of Star and Dawson collaborated on a makeup collection. The docuseries supposedly had more footage focusing on the post “Bye Sister” drama and potentially the actions that led to the video, but these parts of the series were never posted as they did not fit the tone of the finished series and were better left to the past. 

Both Tati Westbrook and James Charles survived the scandal, Charles channel suffered but by the end of the year, both he and Westbrook were doing as well as before. On June 30, 2020, Tati Westbrook posted “Breaking my Silence,” a video where she claimed most of the “Bye Sister” drama was fabricated and largely manipulated into existence by Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson. Westbrook was unable to go into detail about how Star and Dawson allegedly manipulated her, and the situation, as the group is currently in a contentious legal battle. Westbrook read from a carefully combed version of her story, her truth that had been formally checked by lawyers to ensure that it is not defamation or anything that may hinder any ongoing investigations.

On June 30, within the first hour of Westbrook posting, Dawson went on Instagram Live where he, red in the face and passing around his multi-million dollar Californian home, screamed “That’s a f*cking lie.” He pointed his camera at the Westbrook video as she was detailing her previous experiences with abuse and Dawson claimed that she was “fake crying.” The livestream was a horrible mess that was witnessed by thousands of people before Dawson finally put down the phone, but fans still recorded and reuploaded the short video to Twitter to be seen by the rest of the world. Dawson looked especially bad as he had been following a vow of internet silence that he had made in his previous apology video and the fact that he had kept that vow after the Smith family wasn’t satisfied with the apology. That supposedly was the last of Dawson until October 1, when he came out in support of his finance. 

But it wasn’t. Dawson has kept his channels silent and hasn’t posted on any of his other platforms since June, but he prominently featured in his finance Ryland’s videos. Dawson did not publicly respond to the Jada Picket-Smith or Jaden Smith after sexualizing Willow, nor did he apologize for calling Tati Westbrook every bad name in the book while she recounted trauma in her video. Yet, he still casually appears in Youtube videos that earn over 2 million views. It will be interesting to see if this cancelation of Shane Dawson is any different. If the Youtuber will be accepted back into the fold within the next few months, supported again by the same fans who petitioned to have Dawson’s channel and content removed from the platform. Perhaps, the world has progressed past the need for a Shane Dawson…