YouTube star Shane Dawson wants his millions of fans to know that he’s not the person he used to be.
In a 20-minute video released Friday, June 26 and titled “Taking Accountability,” Dawson addressed the renewed criticism he’s facing for his use of blackface, the N-word and other offensive comments he’s made since launching his popular YouTube channel more than a decade ago.
Despite having issued public apologies in the past, Shane said it’s only recently that’s he realized how poorly those incidents were handled.
“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 un-tagging 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.”
In hindsight, Shane explained, “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.”
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First, Shane addressed his history of “all the racism that [he] put onto the internet,” notably his portrayal of Black, Asian and Mexican people in comedic sketches.
“Blackface was something that I did a lot,” he said. “There’s no excuse for it. 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 should lose everything for that,” he remarked.
As for his use of the N-word in past YouTube videos, Shane admitted to contributing to the “normalization” of the slur.
“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.”
Now, in a time of reckoning for more and more internet personalities, Shane said he’s “willing to lose everything” because of his actions.
“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.
Jeffree Star, James Charles, Tati Westbrook, YouTube
Shane concluded his video by apologizing to James Charles, who was the subject of criticism following last year’s infamous feud with fellow beauty guru Tati Westbrook.
Addressing a statement he posted to Twitter last week, in which he described James as “egocentric” and “power hungry,” Shane said, “The part of the Twitter note that I regret more than anything in my entire life, was the part where I said that James deserve a slice of humble pie the size of the Empire State Building.”
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“I’m sorry, James,” he said, “First of all, nobody deserves what happened. The whole internet ganging up on somebody, nobody deserved that. Who am I that somebody needs to be humbled? Me? Who am I to say that? I have literally put so much hate onto the internet over my last 15 years.”
Shane also commented on his friendship with Jeffree Star, another controversial figure on YouTube. As the YouTuber described it, “I’m aware that I hold my friends or people I care about to a lower standard than I hold other people. That’s wrong and I’m so sorry. I’m aware that I’m friends with some people that have done some bad things on the internet and I don’t condone it and I don’t co-sign it.”
As Shane’s apology came to an end, he vowed to do better through his “actions” but said he’s not seeking forgiveness from those he hurt.
“It’s okay to be upset at your past self for making mistakes,” he said, “but also it’s okay if people don’t want to accept your apology and don’t want to support your anymore. That’s okay, too, and I understand.”