Smith Family Weighs in After Shane Dawson Apologizes for Racist Skits and Pedophilia Jokes
- YouTuber Shane Dawson apologized in a video Friday for a long history of racist jokes and caricatures, as well as for jokes he made about pedophilia.
- “I don’t have hate in my heart for anyone, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that I made jokes about everyone,” he said.
- Following the release of that video, Jada Pinkett Smith and her son Jaden offered strong rebukes of the YouTuber, who once pretended to masturbate to a poster of an 11-year-old Willow Smith.
Smiths Rebuke Shane Dawson’s Apology
YouTuber Shane Dawson apologized Friday for a myriad of controversial remarks and actions over his 15-year career on the platform, but it seems like many weren’t ready to accept it.
In fact, some people are now resurfacing even more offensive moments from his past. Not lost among the critics are mother and son duo Jada Pinkett Smith and Jaden Smith. Their rebuke of his apology is especially notable because in one clip, Dawson simulates a sexual act to a poster of an 11-year-old Willow Smith.
“To Shane Dawson … I’m done with the excuses,” Jada Pinkett Smith said on Twitter.
“SHANE DAWSON I AM DISGUSTED BY YOU,” her son wrote in all caps. “YOU SEXUALIZING AN 11 YEAR OLD GIRL WHO HAPPENS TO BE MY SISTER!!!!!! IS THE FURTHEST THING FROM FUNNY AND NOT OKAY IN THE SLIGHTEST BIT.”
Prior to his apology, Dawson was already facing a number of different scandals, including allegations of him sexualizing other children such as his cousin, a fan, and even a baby. Aside from accusations of pedophilia or pedophilic behavior, Dawson is also facing intense backlash for racist moments, including his repeated use of blackface and his use of the n-word.
Over the weekend, Dawson’s apology video—titled “Taking Accountability”—trended number one on YouTube. Since Friday, it’s garnered over 10.6 million views.
In it, Dawson begins by saying that he hates much of his past and that he’s tried to remove himself from those situations by deleting old videos.
Dawson also noted that this isn’t his first apology video. In fact, he issued an apology in 2014 for his use of blackface, and in 2018, he denied he was a pedophile after those rumors circulated following an edited clip where he joked that he found naked babies “sexy.”
“Those apologies suck,” he said of them. “I don’t know who that person is anymore. Every apology video I’ve ever made has been from fear. It’s me sitting at home thinking the whole world hates me, crying and hyperventilating and just turning on a webcam and just saying ‘I’m sorry’ and hoping people know I’m a good person and it’ll go away, and that is stupid. That is something that a child does.”
Dawson “Taking Accountability”
In his apology, Dawson first addressed his history of racism on YouTube, including a number of times where he played very stereotypical versions of Black, Asian, and Mexican people.
While he said he thought those skits were funny at the time of recording them, he said he now hates the person he was in the past.
“That person was filled with sadness, filled with anger about their own issues, in the closet, constantly projecting on others,” he said. “Just like, I don’t know, just that person is someone I don’t like seeing. And I think that’s why I’ve been avoiding this because I’m like, ‘No, I’ve already apologized. I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to see it again.”
Dawson then directly mentions his repeated use of blackface.
“I am so sorry,” he said. “I am so sorry to anybody that saw that and that also saw that people were lifting me up and were saying, ‘You’re so funny, Shane. Oh my, God, you’re so funny.’ I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be Black and to see this white fucking guy do blackface and the whole internet at that time being like, ‘LOL.’”
“I should lose everything for that,” he continued. “I can tell you this. I don’t have hate for any race or any people with weight issues or any of that, special needs. I don’t have hate in my heart for anyone, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that I made jokes about everyone.”
Dawson also addressed his use of the n-word, saying that at the time he justified using it because he was playing a character and it was in the name of comedy. In multiple videos, Dawson can be heard saying the word, including instances where he uses a “hard r.” In one video, he even coerces his young cousin to say the word.
Dawson admitted in the nearly 21-minute video that he should have never used the n-word, adding that he thinks he should have lost his career for saying the word.
He also addressed why he made yet another apology video, saying that his past apologies fell flat because he would take criticism as attacks on his character and would automatically jump on the “I’m not racist” card.
“And it’s like, you know, ‘Okay, but look what you’re making, Shane,’” he said. “Like I don’t know how I didn’t see that. That is scary, and I’m sorry.”
Dawson promised his viewers that he’s changed since he made clips and videos like that, saying that he’s educated himself and that he stopped using racial slurs years ago.
Dawson Addresses Pedophilia Accusations
Dawson continues the video by then addressing a 2013 podcast clip where he compares pedophilia to being a normal fetish and talks about finding naked babies “sexy.” As Dawson has noted in the past, some of the clips circulating online omit lines where he says he is joking about those subjects.
“I shouldn’t have been joking about it anyways, which is my problem. My fault,” he said in rebuke of those jokes.
Shane also apologized for that video he made with his then 12- or 13-year-old cousin, where he talks about sexual acts around her in an inappropriate way. In that apology, he said he also apologized to her mother years ago.
“I can’t believe I can’t believe I talked to, you know, my cousin like that,” he said. “And [my aunt] was like, ‘Oh my, God, we know. We know. It’s okay. It was funny, like we all thought it was funny, like that’s just how our family is’ So I kind of took it as, ‘Well, I don’t need to apologize for it,’ but I do.”
Dawson then went on to again talk about his personal life and a lot of the pain he saw in his childhood and with his family, saying that he was projecting that pain into wildly inappropriate jokes.
“I swear on my life, I am not somebody who would ever talk about a child, like in seriousness, I would never talk about a child in any way that was inappropriate,” he said. “That is disgusting. That is gross. It is not something that I would ever do. It was something I did for shock value or because I thought it was funny or ‘Oh my, God, I’m a child molester character.’ Whatever. It’s all gross, and I promise that is not real. That is not me.”
Dawson Debunks Rumors About Orchestrating the James and Tati Fued
Toward the end of the video, Dawson denies speculation that he was some sort of mastermind behind last year’s massive feud between Tati Westbrook and James Charles.
Dawson previously denied that accusation in a now-deleted Twitter post earlier this month. In that note, he seemed to justify the barrage of criticism against James Charles, saying the then 19-year-old influencer deserved a slice of “humble pie.”
In fact, Dawson said he wrote that Twitter note after he started seeing narratives like that pop up and people pressuring him to respond. While he said he had tried to be funny in that note, he admitted that it came across very angry, notably because he said he was angry.
“So the part of the Twitter note that I regret more than anything in my life was the part where I said that James deserved a slice of humble pie the size of the Empire State building,” Dawson said.
He also said he wanted to come at this situation with love and started by apologizing.
“I’m sorry, James,” he said. “I’m really sorry. First of all, nobody deserves what happened. Nobody. The whole internet ganging-up on someone. Nobody deserved that. And who am I to say that somebody needs to be humble? Me? Like who am I to say that? I literally have put so much hate into the internet over my last 15 years of YouTube world.”
He also addressed criticism that came after he said he was leaving the beauty community in that tweet. In his apology, he agrees that he was never really in it, as many have argued.
“So to know I hurt those people, who are problematic, and just love makeup, and who have been working their ass off for years, for me to shit on that, I am so sorry.”
“I’m ready to own up to this stuff and to hopefully show you guys that it’s okay to admit when you’re wrong. It’s okay to be upset at your past self for making mistakes. But also it’s okay if people don’t want to accept your apology or if people don’t want to support you anymore, that’s okay too.”
Reaction to Dawson’s Apology
Reaction to Dawson’s apology has been mixed. Currently, about a third of the reactions on that video are dislikes.
In the comments, many criticized his apology, saying he was victimizing himself and using his past trauma to try to justify his actions.
“Depression and anxiety isn’t a reason to sexualise children, Shane,” a number of people repeated in separate comments.
On Twitter, hundreds of others shared this comment: “In Shane’s apology, he keeps saying things like “I would never do that” “that’s something I wouldn’t do in my whole lifetime” that is not me” “I wasn’t myself” when referencing things he ACTUALLY DID. He is not taking responsibility, he is removing himself from his past by creating two different Shane’s.”
Others, however, did strike more of a sympathetic tone.
“I’m honestly glad that he came out and apologized,” one person said in the comments section of his video. “Some of the stuff he talked about ppl won’t forgive him for, and that’s ok. I’m just glad he apologized.”
“Accepting his apology IS NOT excusing his actions,” another person said. “Some people need to realise this.”
Still, many others said Dawson would need to take even further action before he could find forgiveness.
“I think you’re trying to ‘do the right thing’ and honestly I’ll never say it’s too late but dude you can’t continue to call yourself Jeffree Star’s friend and be on the right side of all this drama, please understand that,” one person said.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (Essence) (CNN)
Twitch Tightens Policies on Explicit Deepfakes
“The creation, promotion, or viewing of this content is not welcome on Twitch,” the company said in a blog post.
New Rules Regarding “Synthetic NCEI”
Twitch is cracking down on explicit deepfake content and will indefinitely suspend users who share or promote it after a first offense.
“The existence of this content, and its presence and distribution on various sites, is personally violating and beyond upsetting. Deepfake porn isn’t a problem on Twitch, but it’s a terrible issue that some streamers (almost exclusively women) may face on the internet at large,” Twitch said in a Tuesday blog post, explaining it wants to “help streamers protect themselves” in any case this issue arises.
Twitch referred to this content as “synthetic non-consensual exploitative images,” or “synthetic NCEI,” but many of the platform’s users have casually referred to it as deepfake porn. Synthetic NCEI involves someone taking the face of another person and editing it into a pornographic video to make it appear as though that person filmed themselves demonstrating those sexual acts. The new rise in access to this technology has concerned many, as it is easy to use it to exploit others.
While synthetic NCEI is already banned on Twitch, the company took a more actionable step against it in its Tuesday post by creating an Adult Sexual Violence and Exploitation policy. The new rule prohibits the intentional sharing, promoting, or creation of synthetic NCEI and those acts can result in an indefinite suspension on the first offense.
Twitch also updated its Adult Nudity policy to include synthetic NCEI. Even if it is only shown briefly, that content will still be taken down and result in an enforcement.
In addition to the policy changes, Twitch made available a list of resources for those who might be impacted by or wish to learn more about synthetic NCEI.
“The creation, promotion, or viewing of this content is not welcome on Twitch,” the company said closing its blog post.
Growing Concerns About Explicit Deepfakes
Twitch’s updates come as synthetic NCEI and deepfakes have become a primary topic of concern for social media platforms. Earlier this year, Twitch was home to a major deepfake controversy after a streamer known as Atrioc was caught with an open tab to a website that hosted these videos. That site specifically hosted deepfakes of female Twitch streamers, some of whom were Atrioc’s colleagues.
Many women featured on the page spoke out against these deepfakes, explaining the trauma they endured knowing their face, image, and likeness were used in a sexual manner without their consent. It’s an issue that extends far past Twitch creators. Some fear they could be used for revenge porn, and there are already several cases where the technology is used to create sexual videos of celebrities.
On Tuesday, NBC News published a report finding that Facebook and Instagram ran suggestive ads featuring deepfakes of actresses like Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson. The ads were for a deepfake app that told users they could “replace face with anyone.”
While the ads did not show explicit pornographic content, one ad featuring Watson was clearly meant to mimic the start of an explicit video, suggesting a sexual act was about to start. The face of the “Harry Potter” actress was seen looking into the camera before bending down.
The report found that 127 ads with Watson deepfakes and 74 with Johansson deepfakes ran across Meta’s platforms on Sunday and Monday, but have since been removed. The app in question was also removed from the Apple app store after NBC News contacted the tech giant for comment.
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Engadget) (Kotaku)
Fans Defend Pedro Pascal After Actor Refused to Read Thirst Tweets: “It’s Sexual Harassment”
Pascal has been dubbed the Internet’s “daddy,” but many think the joke has gone too far.
Pascal’s Heartthrob Status
Fans are defending actor Pedro Pascal after he refused to read thirst tweets on the red carpet, arguing that it is inappropriate and disrespectful to ask him to do so.
Pascal, the star of HBO’s “The Last of Us” and Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” has become a major Hollywood heartthrob. He has even been widely dubbed as the Internet’s “daddy” by those posting about his handsome looks. The running joke grew last year when he did a Vanity Fair lie detector test and said he considered himself a “bigger daddy” than “Star Wars” star Oscar Isaac.
“Daddy is a state of mind, you know what I’m saying? I’m your daddy,” he quipped during the interview.
Since then, TikTokers have started posting thirst trap edits of Pascal, journalists have called him “daddy” on the red carpet, and interviewers have shown him tweets where fans call him a “cool, slutty daddy.”
Pascal has been a good sport about the public displays of lust for him, but many think the joke may have crossed a line. During last week’s red carpet premiere for season three of “The Mandalorian,” an Access Hollywood reporter went viral for asking Pascal to read thirst tweets to the camera. Pascal politely declined.
“No. Dirty! Dirty!” he told the reporter after reading through the tweets.
“For your enjoyment only,” she responded.
“Thank you very much,” Pascal said before exiting the interview.
Fans Condemn Thirst Tweet Interviews
In response, many who watched the clip condemned this treatment of Pascal, arguing it promoted constant objectification.
“I think it’s time for the internet to leave Pedro Pascal alone,” one person wrote. “It’s sexual harassment, but no one seems to care bc he’s a man + is graceful about it. It’s really gross and I would never want to be treated like that.”
“These jokes have gone way too far and he’s visibly uncomfortable,” another fan added.
Some claimed that while the Internet’s love of Pascal “started as harmless fun…the constant public objectification and sexualization must be terrible” and should stop.
“Being attractive, banking on it, selling it, and even at times enjoying some of the attention, doesn’t give everyone wholesale permission to sexualize you,” someone else argued.
See what others are saying: (IndieWire) (The Gamer) (BuzzFeed News)
Conservatives Pledge to #BoycottHershey After International Women’s Day Campaign Featured a Trans Woman
“I hope this campaign shows trans girls they can dream big and change the world too,” activist Fae Johnstone said in her Hers for She video.
Hershey Highlights Fae Johnstone
Step aside, Green M&M. Conservatives have a new candy that they’re mad at: Hershey bars.
On Wednesday, Hershey Canada unveiled its “Her for She” International Women’s Day initiative, which aims to celebrate “women changing the future.” Conservatives were quickly outraged by the company’s choice to highlight Fae Johnstone, a trans woman and LGBTQ+ rights activist, as part of this effort.
“We can create a world where everyone is able to live in public space as their honest and authentic selves,” Johnstone said in a “Her for She” video.
In addition to Johnstone, the campaign features gender equality activists, a climate tech researcher, and an indigenous rights activist, all of whom have fought for progress in their respective fields. The women will appear on Hershey’s websites, in marketing promotions, and in artistic renderings on Hershey bar wrappers.
Johnstone wrote on Twitter that she hopes Hershey’s campaign will “give more young women and girls role models” who can demonstrate how to “change the world, together.”
“It also means a lot to be included, as a young(ish?) trans woman,” Johnstone continued. “I grew up with few trans role models. Many young trans folks haven’t met a trans adult. I hope this campaign shows trans girls they can dream big and change the world too.”
A Swift Transphobic Backlash
This decision, however, prompted right-wing Twitter users to accuse Hershey of hating “real” women. Many of the posts included blatantly transphobic rhetoric, as well as promises to boycott the company because it went “woke.”
The outrage was so prominent that #BoycottHershey was one of the top Twitter trends on Thursday morning.
This backlash comes just a little over a month after conservative media figures like Tucker Carlson slammed M&M for making the green mascot character, well, less sexy.
In response to Mars changing the green candy’s outfit, Carlson accused the Mars company of making its characters “as unattractive as possible because when you’re intentionally repulsive, it’s clear you’ve got the right politics.”
Not long after the right-wing backlash, M&M opted to replace its “spokescandies” with actress Maya Rudolph.
The conservative outrage targeted at both Hershey and M&M is part of a larger culture war against any company that makes changes to address diversity, climate change, or other social issues. Brands like Xbox, “Sesame Street,” and more have at one point provoked the ire of Fox News hosts and other Republican figures.
In fact, their outrage against these progressive changes has become so common that once #BoycottHershey was trending, some tweeted that they did not even have to click on the hashtag “to know that they must have done something compassionate that the right hates.”