Dawson uploaded his first video to YouTube in 2008. In the nine years since, he has directed and starred in a movie that reached number three on the iTunes charts, written two New York Times bestsellers, and launched the highly successful podcast “Shane And Friends .” The Long Beach, California, native also has a show in development with YouTube Red.
About Shane Dawson
Shane Dawson is a young actor from California who started making videos on YouTube as a hobby and eventually became one of the popular video site’s biggest stars. His main videos, small sketches, and parodies of popular songs, are seen by millions of people, and the most common characters in his works – Shane (himself), Aunt Hilda, S-Deezy, Shananay, Ned, Mom, and Paris Hilton – have already done it thanks to videos like “Fred is Dead!”, “Twilight New Moon: Blood Hungry” or “Bad (Bro)mance!”.
The problem with putting heroes on a pedestal is that they have a long way to fall. And someone who fell hard and crashed this week is Shane Dawson.
In recent years, Dawson earned his crown as “King of YouTube” with series-length documentary videos that arguably changed the way content was created on the platform. Equal parts untouchable and insightful, Dawson’s success has grown and grown with his mega-popular conspiracy theory videos and his access to controversial stars like Jeffree Star and Jake Paul and elusive ones like Eugenia Cooney.
But while he’s worked hard to build that personable image, many people have never forgotten Dawson’s past. Compilation videos of blackface, pedophilia jokes and other problematic behavior resurfaced sporadically and threatened to destroy that carefully crafted identity.
Now, in the eye of “Karmageddon’s” storm, Dawson may have finally passed the point of no return.
How “Karmagedon” began
Dawson seemed to light the match that sparked his own cancellation when he released a lengthy statement on the YouTube beauty community less than two weeks ago, slamming “dramatic gurus” and saying James Charles “needs to be served a piece of humble pie” when he lost three million subscribers last year.
It didn’t go over well. People within the community began accusing Dawson of using the beauty world as a money grab – developing his Conspiracy palette with Star, making his millions, and then quickly getting rid of them on the outside. This, in turn, seemed to lead to more angry commenters dredging up Dawson’s past of inappropriate and offensive content, such as making jokes about sexualizing children and animals, dressing in black, and using racial slurs.
Over the next few days, the situation escalated to Dawson being called out by Hollywood royalty and the subject of an explosive take-down video by Tati Westbrook, in which she claimed he and Star had “gaslit” and manipulated her into releasing the video causing Charles’ death, “Bye Sister,” in May 2019, as a promotional tool for their upcoming collaboration.
This time when Dawson and Star were “exposed” was called “Karmagedon” – a reference to the beauty community’s history of meltdowns and creators finally facing their redemption.
Dawson’s troubled history has haunted him for years
This is by no means the first time Dawson’s history has come back to haunt him. He’s been a social media celebrity on YouTube for more than a decade, and began his online career at the height of “edgy” comedy. As Mike Majlak said in a recent Impulsive podcast episode, it was a time when you tried to say the most offensive thing you could think of to get a laugh.
In several apology videos scattered throughout his career, Dawson has apologized for his past, saying he doesn’t recognize the person in the old footage that periodically resurfaces. But this time, an apology wasn’t enough.
The difference is that Dawson is now something of a mainstream celebrity. While he and other online creators like Jenna Marbles were christened “rising stars” you’ve never heard of in Variety magazine in 2012, Gen Z and certain types of millennials who are very online have made them household names in the years since.