Shane Dawson is a YouTuber with over 22 million subscribers, regularly netting himself tens of millions of views with his videos. If you were to put that in TV show numbers then Shane Dawson's videos are like The Big Bang Theory finale every single time. That's why it's so significant that YouTube has decided to demonetize Shane for an indefinite period and the reason they're doing so is because of this video he posted here:
You can be forgiven for not bothering to watch it as it is 20 minutes long, but to give you a quick recap: Shane apologies for instances of racism, blackface, and checks notes* ... pretending to masturbate to Willow Smith when she was 11 years old.
Now Shane doesn't specifically mention the Willow Smith video in his apology, but it's just one of many, many problematic videos that resurfaced after YouTube conducted an investigation. See the irony here is that while Shane's past problematic videos were certainly known to his older fans (and sadly, to the Smith family), YouTube might never have picked up on it had Shane not posted this trash apology. It's the type of scenario you'd expect coming out of a weird sketch, where some kid goes into confessional looking for absolution and then starts spouting off sins so bizarre and heinous that the priest runs out of the booth screaming. Of course, Shane isn't a kid. As he points out, he's an adult and started doing YouTube in his 20's. He goes on to say:
"I'm sorry I added to the normalization of blackface or the normalization of saying the n-word. Me as a white person wearing a wig and playing a character and doing stereotypes and then saying the n-word is something that I should have probably lost my career for at the time."
Shane opens his video by saying he drew inspiration from Jenna Marbles, another popular YouTuber who recently posted a video where she apologized for her own instances of racism and blackface and then announced she would be taking a possibly permanent hiatus from YouTube.
Her video was, for the most part, received well, with many calling for Marbles to return to YouTube. Perhaps Shane expected his video would be looked at in the same way, much like how everyone keeps clamoring for god to bring back the second dude who martyred himself after Jesus. But it's also possible that Shane expected to be demonetized. In his apology he admits that he is "willing to lose everything" and while I wouldn't equate "not being able to make any money posting videos of you dicking around (after you've already made millions)" to "losing everything," it certainly implies he saw this as a possible outcome.
It remains to be seen whether he's eventually allowed to profit off of YouTube and could be dependent on whether the public forgives him at large, or by a spinner in the YouTube office that's labeled "demonetization period." It's unclear. But if there's one lesson we can take away from here it is this: Don't do blackface or make jokes about fucking kids. Just don't.
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Top image: YouTube