A little more than a year after YouTuber Shane Dawson's career imploded due to videos he made in blackface and jokes about pedophilia and bestiality, he has returned to YouTube in a new video with Jeffree Star, who has also been canceled over racist videos. In the video, they will discuss why their popular makeup collaboration from 2019 is being sold in discount stores like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack.
Star previously made fun of Kat Von D for having her makeup being sold at discount stores, but now is seemingly embracing the same thing happening to him, saying that he will be answering all of his followers' questions in a new video.
Dawson and Star both saw their careers come to a screeching halt around the same time last year. They both faced “cancellation” for past racist comments and actions, along with Dawson’s inappropriate jokes about children and pedophilia. Since making his last video in June 2020, Dawson almost entirely retreated from the public eye before resurfacing for a short amount of time in November 2020 and appearing on his fiancé Ryland Adams’ podcast.
In a recent Instagram story, Star said in addition to his collab with Dawson he will be talking about a video he deleted last week—a collaboration with fellow YouTuber Lipstick Nick. Social media users guessed that the video was taken down because of its low view count.
Star’s shine began to flicker in 2019 during the series of events known as Dramageddon 2.0, a turbulent period that began with beauty YouTuber Tati Westbrook putting out a video including allegations that YouTuber James Charles acted in a predatory way towards straight men. Star inserted himself in the drama claiming that he had more information about Charles’ alleged predatory behavior and called him a “danger to society.” The claims were never corroborated with any sort of tangible evidence from Star and he later went on to admit that he didn’t know if the claims he made at the time were true.
His world was shaken up even more in October 2020 when he was the subject of a major investigation by Insider. In it, the reporter found that Star was accused of sexual assault by multiple people, physical assault, groping and racist outbursts. Additionally, two of the accusers were offered $10,000 in hush money from Star to recant their allegations during the investigation.
A recent appearance by Dawson on his fiancé’s podcast didn’t do great numbers either. Within a week of being uploaded to YouTube, the video has yet to break 300,000 views. In comparison, at the height of Dawson’s fame after pivoting to longform, documentary-style videos, he was averaging tens of millions of views per video. His career cratered after people began re-examining much of Dawson’s past online content, which is riddled with problematic behavior.
It began with the fallout of Dramageddon 2.0 after rumors began circulating about Dawson’s involvement in the drama. He put out a lengthy statement denying that he had any part in what occurred between Westbrook, Star, and Charles. “So did I 'plan' dramageddon? Are you SERIOUS? NO," the statement read. “Do people in the Youtube world come to me like a grandpa and ask me for advice? Yes. Is it easy for me to get wrapped up in something potentially toxic if I think someone I love is hurting or upset? Yes. It's an issue I need to work on and have been working on."
Soon after the statement was put out, social media users began digging up many of Dawson’s controversial content. There were mentions of his older videos containing characters of stereotypical women of color—a caricature of a Black woman named Shanaynay and that of a Mexican woman named Guadalupe. He also posted more than one video of himself in blackface and saying the N-word.
More viral threads emerged with clips of Dawson making jokes about underage children and compared pedophilia to having a foot fetish.
In a video titled, “Taking Accountability,” he apologized. The day after the video was released, according to the analytics site SocialBlade, Dawson lost 1.2 billion views from his YouTube channel when he deleted many of the old videos.
For most of 2020, Dawson was not active on social media before making a brief return to Instagram wishing his finacé luck, but immediately faced backlash for the return. In June 2021, he announced on his Instagram that he was planning a formal return. “I'm just trying to stay in a good mindset and be happy,” he wrote. “I promise I'm not going to abandon my channel after 15 years of creating.”