YouTuber Shane Dawson apologized in a video Friday, after facing criticism for his racist actions, including doing blackface and saying the n-word.
“I’m going to start with all the racism that I’ve put on the internet as an adult,” he said. “I made the decision to play stereotypes of Black people, or Asian people, or Mexicans, or pretty much every race.”
The 31-year-old, who has 23 million subscribers on the platform, said he did blackface “a lot” and often used the n-word, but added that he is not a hateful person, just someone who “took jokes too far.”
“Blackface was something that I did a lot on my channel” he said. “I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be Black, and see this white fucking guy do blackface, and the whole internet at that time being like, ‘LOL!’ That’s insane and I am so sorry.”
Dawson had apologized in 2014 for doing blackface, saying, “everyone knows I’m not racist.” In his video Friday, he said that he gave excuses for it at the time despite knowing it was wrong and “didn’t actually look into the history of it and why it was so wrong.”
“I’m sorry I added to the normalization of blackface or the normalization of saying the n-word,” he said. “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.”
He said he was “inspired” by a similar video from YouTuber Jenna Marbles, who on Thursday apologized for the racist videos she had made and announced that she was quitting vlogging for the foreseeable future.
Dawson has been making videos on YouTube for more than 10 years, and is no stranger to public apologies. He has had to apologize for his videos featuring characters built on racist stereotypes, as well as his past comments about mental health issues and pedophilia, which he addressed in his latest video.
“I swear on my life I am not somebody who would ever talk about a child that in any way was inappropriate,” he said. “That is disgusting, that is gross, it is not something I would ever do. It is something I did for shock value or because I thought it was funny.”
An old clip of him pretending to masturbate to a photo of Willow Smith, who was 11 years old at the time, resurfaced Saturday, prompting criticism from Smith’s family.
“SHANE DAWSON I AM DISGUSTED BY YOU. 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,” her brother Jaden Smith said on Twitter.
“To Shane Dawson … I’m done with the excuses,” Jada Pinkett Smith, their mom, tweeted.
Jaden also said the YouTuber was “Doing Black Face On The Regular.”
Dawson did not address his behavior involving the photo of Smith in his apology Friday.
In his video, he went on to address his friendships with “people that have done some bad things on the internet.” He is friends with Jeffree Starr, a notorious YouTuber accused of racism and bullying and who Dawson partnered with for a video series and a makeup collaboration.
“I’m aware that I hold my friends or people I care about to a lower standard than I hold other people. That’s wrong and I’m so sorry,” he said in the video.
Dawson’s video was roundly criticized on the internet, both in the YouTube comments section and on Twitter.
Dawson did not say he would quit vlogging, but told his followers he is willing to lose everything for his actions.
“At this point, realizing how many people I’ve hurt or how many people I’ve inspired to say awful things or do anything awful to, finally just own up to this and be accountable is worth losing everything to me,” he said in the video.