Will Shane Dawson return to YouTube? Why his latest controversy says “no”
We are pretty close to YouTube drama replacing soap operas for good. Think about it: the friendships, romances, betrayals, reconciliations, vendettas, apologies . . . and it’s all unscripted! Well, maybe mostly unscripted. Or somewhat unscripted. You know what we mean. YouTube is the wild West of emotional conflict nowadays.
Take the endless saga of Shane Dawson, from mega-successful YouTube superstar to disgraced racist pariah. You can’t write the kind of ups & downs Dawson has gone through. (Or rather, you can write them, but would anyone care if they were considered fiction?) These days, Shane Dawn is “retired” from YouTube & social media. That doesn’t mean he will stop being part of online feuds.
Case in point: a recently-released video from YouTube personality Trisha Paytas where she calls Shane Dawson “literal scum of the Earth”. All righty then. How did we get here?
BFFs or just BFs?
Shane Dawson & Trisha Paytas’s friendship goes back several years. The YouTubers started collaborating in 2014 and quickly became BFFs. Their love for junk food was represented best on their “candy haul” videos. You know the friendship was the real deal because Dawson & Paytas even had a pet name: “Trane”.
Enter Jeffree Star. The controversial YouTuber first brought Shane Dawson into his inner circle in 2017. Dawson & Star bonded over make-up and the fact that, all things considered, they’re both a**holes. A year later, Star collaborated with Trisha Paytas. Star & Paytas bonded mainly over the fact that they both adored Shane Dawson. Thus, a YouTube friendship triangle was born.
Shane Dawson, Trisha Paytas, and Jeffree Star enjoyed their version of YouTube bliss for a couple of years. That is to say they were, at the very least, friendly to each other when the cameras were rolling.
Nothing lasts forever, not even YouTube friendships that produce thousands of views. (To be fair, YouTube fights produce just as many views, if not more.) Early in 2020, Jeffree Star turned on Trisha Paytas – or maybe Paytas simply got tired of putting up with him. Paytas revealed Star & his friends had bullied her on Valentine’s Day, making fun of her skin & weight.
Shane Dawson managed to stay out of the Trisha Paytas v. Jeffree Star feud for a good while – probably because he had his own share of PR problems to deal with. In 2020, Dawson came under fire for old videos where he’d used racist language, portrayed racist stereotypes, and made explicit comments about minors. YouTube looked at Shane Dawson and raised a corporate eyebrow.
Not even a twenty-minute apology video was able to save Shane Dawson from cancellation. Dawson’s old lewd comments about a pre-teen Willow Smith led to Jaden Smith & Jada Smith publicly condemning the YouTuber and putting the last nail in his coffin. YouTube suspended monetization on all of Shane Dawson’s channels. Target removed Dawson’s books from its stores. Dawson “took a break” from social media.
Scum of the Earth
Trisha Paytas remained a Shane Dawson fan through all his 2020 tribulations. Paytas went as far as promising a triumphant return from Shane Dawson to YouTube to anyone who would listen. And then . . . something snapped. Somehow, Trisha Paytas got tired of Shane Dawson not taking her side when it came to Jeffree Star. Did it have anything to do with Dawson’s fiancee, Ryland Adams? Maybe.
On the surface, Ryland Adams seems to be okay with Trisha Paytas. Shane Dawson’s fiancee has claimed he never knew about any of the drama involving Star (does he not use YouTube?). In his own podcast, The Spill, Adams went as far as apologizing for inadvertently hurting Paytas. To say that Paytas didn’t buy it would be an understatement.
Trisha Paytas’s response to all this was to post a new video on January 21st, 2021. The vlog is titled “Shane and Ryland are LITERAL SCUM OF THE EARTH”. You can imagine the content. Basically, Paytas confirms she’s done with Shane Dawson & his fiancee. And just like that, Shane Dawson lost one of the very few influencers that still had his back.
The more time goes on, the less likely it seems that Shane Dawson will ever come back to YouTube. And if he does, odds are he’ll never recapture the success he once had. Can Dawson reinvent himself or are his former friends wisely escaping the PR disaster he has become? Time will tell.