- 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)
L.A. Frozen Yogurt Shop Addresses Online Rumors After Demi Lovato Slammed It for Offering Sugar-Free Options
- A Los Angeles-based frozen yogurt shop denied reports that singer Demi Lovato had sent it a donation or caused any changes to its menu after rumors spread on social media this week.
- Lovato launched a feud with the froyo store, named The Bigg Chill, over the weekend for offering “tons of sugar free cookies/other diet foods.” She called the shop, and other brands that do the same, “diet culture vultures.”
- The Bigg Chill responded by saying they offer such items for people with dietary restrictions like diabetes and celiac disease.
- Lovato apologized for the tone of her messaging and suggested the shop label its products in a way that is less triggering for people like herself who are recovering from eating disorders.
Froyo Shop Clarifies Rumors
There’s nothing quite like a good rivalry. David Vs. Goliath, Rocky Vs. Apollo Creed, The Jedi vs. The Sith, and now, Demi Lovato vs. a Los Angeles frozen yogurt joint called The Bigg Chill.
The befuddling feud started over the weekend when the singer called the shop out on Instagram for carrying “tons of sugar free cookies/other diet foods.” As of Wednesday, the fallout from the controversy has not died down and The Bigg Chill had to take to their Instagram story to clarify rumors that are spreading as a result of the saga.
Some internet users have been claiming that the frozen yogurt shop changed its menu following the public dispute. Others have said that Lovato gifted The Bigg Chill a generous apology donation. Neither appear to be true.
“We have not received any donations from Demi’s team nor do we want one,” The Bigg Chill wrote. “We have not made any changes to our menu.
Demi Lovato Calls Out The Bigg Chill
Lovato is recovering from an eating disorder and has been very open about her struggle. On social media, she regularly advocates for body positivity, mental health, and has called out trends that promote eating disorders. Her weekend post that called out The Bigg Chill attempted to do just that.
“Finding it extremely hard to order froyo from The Bigg Chill when you have to walk past tons of sugar free cookies/other diet foods before you get to the counter,” she wrote. “Do better please. #DietCultureVultures.”
The Bigg Chill ended up responding to her, saying that they carry these options for people with certain dietary needs and restrictions, like vegans, people with diabetes, celiac disease, and more. The company also privately messaged her to clarify this and apologize if she found this offensive.
Lovato shared that message and her response on Instagram. She said her entire experience in the shop was triggering and that they should make the shop more inviting for everyone, noting that eating disorders are among the deadliest mental illnesses.
“You aren’t wrong for catering to many different needs but it’s about not excluding one demographic to cater to others,” she wrote.
She also suggested that the shop should label these products differently so that their intent is clear and the diet-focused messaging does not trigger people recovering from eating disorders.
The back-and-forth generated a lot of chatter on social media, largely from people who did not understand Lovato’s choice to so strongly condemn The Bigg Chill. Many frozen yogurt and other dessert shops offer sugar-free, gluten-free, or other diet-flexible options, so the attack appeared to come from left field. Others thought it was unfair for her to draw so much negative attention to a local business.
Fellow celebrities ended up getting involved, either quietly or with strong intent. In fact, the Bigg Chill ended up sharing an Instagram story posted by media personality Mia Khalifa, who tagged the shop in a photo and encouraged people to support local businesses that accommodate dietary needs.
Actress Jameela Jamil backed Lovato on Instagram, arguing that the marketing of diet products and health foods should change.
“If an eating disorder advocate says she sees products that are positioned as guilt free, and it is potentially triggering, that doesn’t mean she’s too stupid to remember that diabetics exist,” Jamil wrote. “It just means that we need to change the marketing of products that are for people’s medical needs.”
“Guilt free is diet culture terminology,” she added. “We need to stop using that fucking term.”
Lovato ended up apologizing to The Bigg Chill in an eight minute video on Instagram. She said her messaging did not come across as intended and that she really just wanted to express how triggering the experience was for her.
She explained that for her and other people recovering from eating disorders, going into a froyo shop, ordering something, and feeling good about that choice is extremely difficult. She said seeing a variety of diet products on display just reminds her of this.
“So that’s why I’m super sensitive when I walk into a froyo place and I see diet stuff. I’m going to be protective,” she said. “I’m protective of the little girl inside of me that didn’t get that representation at a young age of someone saying ‘all of this diet stuff is not okay, you’re worth more than that.’”
“My intentions were not to come in and bully a small business,” she continued. “That was not it. I walked in and was so triggered that I left without froyo and it made me really sad.”
Lovato also said she would be willing to work with The Bigg Chill to change the branding of those products if they were interested. On Wednesday, the shop said that outside of what they described as her “Sorry Not Sorry” apology, they have not heard from the star or or her team.
While this rigmarole may have been akin to a headache for the store, it appears to have generated a good amount of free press for the business. According to the Los Angeles Times, prior to Lovato’s post, The Bigg Chill had 6,000 Instagram followers. As of Wednesday afternoon, it has 34,000.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (HuffPost) (Eater)
BBC Diversity Chief Sparks Backlash After Claiming “Luther” Was Not an “Authentic” Black Lead
- BBC Diversity Chief Miranda Wayland sparked backlash after saying Monday that the Idris Elba-led series “Luther” was not authentic because the Black protagonist “doesn’t have any Black friends” and “doesn’t eat any Caribbean food.”
- Many criticized Wayland’s remarks, arguing that she essentially implied the character was not “Black enough” because he did not fall into certain stereotypes.
- BBC defended the show and said they were “tremendously proud” of “Luther.” Meanwhile series creator Neil Cross said one of the reasons Elba was attracted to the role was because it did not center on race.
BBC Diversity Chief Sparks Controversy
The Diversity Chief at BBC sparked backlash after implying that the title character in the hit series “Luther” was not an authentic Black lead.
The crime drama ran for five seasons between 2010 and 2019, starring Idris Elba as detective John Luther. It won Elba a Golden Globe in 2012 and earned him four Emmy nominations.
“When [Luther] first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there — a really strong, Black character lead,” BBC’s Diversity Chief Miranda Wayland said while speaking on diversity and inclusion strategies during the Digital MIPTV conference on Monday. “We all fell in love with him. Who didn’t, right?”
“But after you got into about the second series you got kind of like, OK, he doesn’t have any Black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic,” she continued.
Fans Defend “Luther”
Her remarks upset numerous people who felt Wayland was implying that Luther was not “Black enough” because he didn’t fall into certain racial stereotypes.
“This farcical criticism was clearly thought up out of boredom or just sheer ignorance,” one Twitter user wrote. “Luther is a brilliant series and actually shows a Black actor in a light not defined by anything but his ability to do his job. Stop using stereotypes to justify your own insecurities.”
Many pointed to the fact that even successful actors like Elba still have to deal with being labeled either “not Black enough” in some roles, but “too Black” for others. Elba has long been rumored as a potential pick to be the next James Bond. If he were cast, he would be the first Black actor to take the famous role. Despite his popularity, nothing has come of those rumors.
Others found the criticism of him not having Black friends to be especially weak because Luther did not have a lot of friends in general, as one of his character traits was his stark commitment to his job.
BBC and “Luther” Creator Respond
The creator of “Luther,” Neil Cross, told The Daily Mail that one of the reasons Elba was interested in the role was because it had nothing to do with race. Many doubled down on the fact that the show was great because his character was complex and human on his own without having to deal with racial issues, something that is often not seen in shows with Black leads.
Great thing about Luther is that his skin colour isn’t the core of his identity.— Calvin Robinson (@calvinrobinson) April 14, 2021
He’s fighting many battles. An example that we’re all human, we all struggle, but our ethnicity doesn’t always play a part in that.
That’s diversity, @MirandawTV. Equality!https://t.co/sIDc7c0pnL
“I have no knowledge or expertise or right to try to tackle in some way the experience of being a Black man in modern Britain,” Cross said in his statement to The Daily Mail. “ It would have been an act of tremendous arrogance for me to try to write a Black character.”
“We would have ended up with a slightly embarrassed, ignorant, middle-class, white writer’s idea of a Black character,” he continued.
A BBC spokesperson also defended the show in a statement to The Independent saying the network is “tremendously proud” of “Luther.”
“The BBC is committed to its continued investment in diversity and recent BBC One dramas ‘I May Destroy You’ and ‘Small Axe’ are testament to that,” the spokesperson continued. “Of course people can have open discussions about our shows but that doesn’t mean it’s a statement of policy.”
Elba himself has not directly responded to the situation, though some think an Instagram story he posted Wednesday may have been related to it.
“We must not pull ourselves backwards, only push ourselves forward,” the actor wrote.
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (The Daily Mail) (The Wrap)
Durte Dom Returns To TikTok Following Sexual Assault Accusation Levied Against Him
- YouTuber Dom Zeglaitis, a former member of David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad known online as Durte Dom, returned to the Internet less than one month after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2018 who was too drunk to consent.
- Zeglaitis has not issued a response to the allegation, but in the past three days, he has posted a dozen TikToks that mostly consist of short sketches and jokes he filmed with friends.
- One post shows Zeglaitis participating in the “Bulletproof” challenge, with text in the clip reading, “You think you can hurt my feelings?!? I got kicked out of the Vlog Squad for…”
- Several people, including major creators like Tana Mongeau and Ethan Klein, are now calling him out for seeming to make light out of a serious situation.
Durte Dom Returns To Internet
Former Vlog Squad member Dom Zeglaitis, also known as “Durte Dom,” has resumed posting on social media after nearly a month of silence since he was accused of sexual assault.
A woman told Insider in March that Zeglaitis raped her while she was too drunk to consent to sexual activity in 2018. She said that she and her friends were hanging out with YouTuber David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad at the time. The accuser, who was under 21 the night of the alleged assault, claimed the group supplied her and her friends with alcohol.
The fallout of this allegation has been significant. While Zeglaitis has yet to respond to it, Dobrik has issued multiple apologies and faced most of the financial repercussions as frontman of the group. Both Zeglaitis and Dobrik were later demonetized by YouTube. Dobrik also lost multiple sponsorship deals and bowed out of Dispo, a photo-sharing app he co-founded. He is now taking a break from YouTube and social media.
Though Zeglaitis has returned to the Internet, he is still largely ignoring the sexual assault accusation levied against him. He specifically began posting on TikTok over the weekend, and since then has posted roughly a dozen videos on the platform.
Durte Dom Jokes About The Vlog Squad on TikTok
Most of the videos are short sketches or comedy bits with his friends. In one, he and a friend are going through Omegle while Zeglaitis is off-screen. The friend asks the people on the other end of the chat “What are your thoughts on Durte Dom?” before Zeglaitis enters the shot.
Several of the videos continue to reference Zeglaitis’ sleazy, womanizing, reputation. One shows him claiming to have “smashed” adult film star Riley Reid. In another, he is sitting on a lounge chair throwing money at girls dancing next to him.
The video generating the most attention, however, is his take on the viral “Bulletproof” challenge. That TikTok features him standing below a text block that reads “You think you can hurt my feelings?!? I got kicked out of the Vlog Squad for…” while the song “Bulletproof” plays in the background.
In the caption of that video, he tagged Dobrik and asked “bruh why they kick me out?!?”
Creators Call Out Zeglaitis for Ignoring Allegation
This specific TikTok caught the attention of major creators, including Tana Mongeau and Ethan Klein, who dueted that video to call Zeglaitis out.
“Someone please make this make sense to me,” Mongeau wrote.
“This mf serious?” Klein said.
They are not the only ones frustrated with Zeglaitis. Many responded to the video in the comment section shocked he was posting at all, bringing up the sexual assault allegation, and urging him to not treat it as a joke.
The comment sections on the rest of his videos are similarly flooded with people who are outraged that he is posting regular content as though nothing had happened.