Shane Dawson On Track To Lose A Million Subscribers Amid Willow Smith Backlash
YouTuber Shane Dawson is on track to lose one million subscribers after footage emerged of him appearing to sexualise Willow Smith when she was 11 years old.
The disturbing footage began to do the rounds on Twitter last week and showed Dawson appearing to masturbate over a Radio Disney poster of Willow.
As a result, the YouTuber faced huge backlash from both his followers and from Willow’s family, with Jaden Smith saying he was ‘disgusted’ by the scene.
The video emerged shortly after Dawson released an apology video titled ‘Taking Accountability’, in which he addressed his use of blackface in the past.
Before he was called out for his controversial actions, Dawson had more than 23 million YouTube subscribers. On Sunday, June 28, he lost 200,000 of them.
In the wake of the controversy involving Willow, Dawson subscriber count dropped by another 500,000. At the time of writing, June 30, his count stands at 22.6 million.
Social media users began to circulate Dawson’s old clips in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, and on June 21 he shared a tweet to say he’d since ‘deleted everything’.
I’m done. For those who wanted me to “address it” I did. I’m sure u can find it reposted somewhere. But I don’t want this energy in my life or on my timeline. I’m too sensitive for this sh*t and I’m done.
In his following apology video, Dawson admitted he’d previously done blackface ‘a lot’ on his channel, adding: ‘There’s no excuse for it, there’s literally no excuse.’
He said he’d addressed the issue some years before, but said he ‘didn’t actually look into the history of it and why it’s so wrong, and why people were so upset.’ He added that he is now willing to ‘lose everything’ if it means ‘own[ing] up to all of this and [being] accountable’.
Dawson has not posted on his social media channels since the apology was released and he has failed to address the clip involving Willow.
After the footage emerged, social media users branded the YouTuber ‘disgusting’.
One person wrote:
Before you excuse away Shane Dawson’s past as “dark humor” concerning KIDS like Willow Smith at the time, think about this… YOU KNOW DAYUM WELL IF HIS HUMOR WAS DIRECTED AND PLAYED OUT LIKE THAT TOWARDS THE YOUTH IN YOUR LIFE EXCUSES OF HUMOR WOULD NOT BE ON THE TABLE!!!
Willow’s mum, Jada Pinkett Smith, implied she was tired of young girls being sexualised as she wrote:
To Shane Dawson … I’m done with the excuses.
As well as losing subscribers on YouTube, Dawson lost one of his collaborators as Rapper CupcakKe, who has made videos with Dawson in the past, said she would no longer work with him because of the Willow clip.
Willow has not commented on the clip at the time of writing.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111.