YouTube personality Shane Dawson insists he’s not a pedophile; he just makes “really shitty fucking jokes.”
On Wednesday, the 29-year-old vlogger/actor faced criminal accusations after Pop Blast shared a now-viral video that featured edited audio from a 2014 episode of the Shane and Friends podcast. Parts of the conversation led some to believe Dawson was attempting to justify pedophilia by simply writing it off as a fetish.
Around the 7-minute mark, Dawson tells a fellow YouTuber about an encounter he had with a 6-year-old girl who had more than 100,000 followers on Instagram.
“And she shows me her Instagrams which are, like—first of all, I don't know if I'm allowed to say this but, like, she's, like, sexy,” he tells his guest, who is clearly uncomfortable about where the conversation is heading. “Let me explain. Here’s my justification for pedophilia. First of all, let me just say, having sex with children or touching children or anything of that nature is terrible and you should not do it. But, here’s my thing: People have foot fetishes, people have fetishes about, you know, everything […] OK, fine, everybody do your thing. So why is it when somebody looks at, Googles, like ‘naked baby’ on Google and jerks off to it they can get arrested? I don’t understand that.”
It gets worse. He then went on to admit to Googling “naked baby” because he wanted to “pretend like [he was] a pedophile.”
“So I typed in ‘naked baby.’ First of all, I don’t understand why anybody would be turned on about that,” he said, “But … but … they were sexy. I’m kidding.”
Soon after these comments began circulating around the internet, #ShaneDawsonIsOverParty began trending on social media.
Dawson has since responded to the backlash in a series of tweets and a YouTube video. He claims his comments were taken out of context and suggested Pop Blast had some sort of vendetta against him.
“I am not a fucking pedophile. Got it? Great. There’s my statement,” he said in the video. “[…] It’s disgusting that people are saying I’m a fucking pedophile because of some shitty-ass fucking jokes […] I am sorry that I used to make really shitty fucking jokes. I’m sorry I was so fucking insecure, playing this character of this guy who’s like crazy and will say anything and will try to make people laugh by shocking them. That was my thing. That was what I did on YouTube [...] If you started watching my videos more recently you might not know that. Back in the day, like 2012, that was my thing.”
This isn’t the first time Dawson, who has more than 11 million YouTube subscribers, faced extreme backlash. In 2014, he issued an apology after he donned blackface.