- Shane Dawson posted his first YouTube video since June 2020 on Thursday.
- In the 40-minute vlog he said he was “grateful” he was canceled last summer.
- The tide turned on Dawson when old content featuring racist slurs and jokes about minors resurfaced.
Shane Dawson said he was “grateful” he was canceled last summer and “doesn’t care” what people think of him, in his first video since the internet turned on him when old content which featured jokes sexualizing minors and racist slurs resurfaced.
Dawson, 33, was previously heralded as the “King of YouTube.” Since 2009, he has grown a following of over 20 million subscribers and collaborated with several controversial influencers including Jeffree Star, Eugenia Cooney, and Jake Paul. In June last year he received widespread backlash for historic videos featuring blackface and sexual comments about minors and animals. He posted an apology video and has since been absent from YouTube.
Dawson’s first video in 16 months was posted on Thursday, titled “The Haunting of Shane Dawson.” In the 40-minute vlog he talked about the experience of getting “canceled,” his new life in Colorado with his fiancé Ryland Adams, and the possibility of their home being haunted.
Dawson said he initially “wanted to leave the internet” when he was receiving a tidal wave of criticism. But now, he said, he “doesn’t care” what people think of him.
He added that it felt like being canceled “ruined my life” and he “learned a lot” from the experience.
“I think part of me was upset because I was like, I made so much growth and now I’m being canceled over things from the past,” he said. “And that’s not me anymore.”
He said he learned he cannot focus on what other people think, and was “so happy it happened.”
“I’m so grateful that I got cancelled, because it really changed my life,” he said. “It showed me what I care about and showed me what matters; it showed me I don’t need to be on YouTube all the time.”
“I don’t need to be stressed about what’s next,” he said. “I don’t need to be trying to think of the next idea, the next whatever to be happy.”
One of the old clips that resurfaced was of Dawson pretending to masturbate over a poster of Willow Smith, who was 11 at the time.
In his video, Dawson said he was “horrified” by some of what resurfaced, and he was “ashamed and embarrassed.”
“There was bad stuff in those videos,” he said. “But like the good stuff connected with people and I can’t just throw that away, that’s weird.”
The video marked the first in a three-part series that will focus on paranormal activity — a throwback to some of his earlier content on ghosts and conspiracy theories.
“I don’t want to be looked at as somebody who gave up and left and ran away from the internet because they were afraid of whatever,” he said. “I left because I felt like I should, and I left because I needed time.”
Over the past year, Dawson has appeared in some of Adams’ Instagram stories and YouTube videos. On August 28 he said he was “ready to create again” in an Instagram story, according to PopBuzz.
According to a recent Insider poll, 15.1% of 1,105 respondents knew Dawson, and 7.8% liked him, while 43.1% didn’t.
The reaction to his return from YouTube commentators and viewers has been mixed, but the like to dislike ratio on the video is overwhelmingly positive — 181,000 likes to 17,000 dislikes approximately 12 hours after it was posted, with over 1.7 million views.
Insider has reached out to representatives of Dawson for comment.