In Defense of Shane Dawson


Shane Dawson’s newest profile image, with title : “In Defense of Shane Dawson”

On September 25th, last week, Shane Dawson’s newest series dropped. Like most of his web series, it was highly anticipated ever since Shane dropped a teaser video on September 11. Yet it was also met with excessive criticism. Fans took to twitter to express their distaste for the 8- part series. Followers of Dawson were enraged that the docu-series would be covering non-other than Jake Paul. 

The Paul last name is one of the most recognizably infamous last names of YouTube. Logan Paul and Jake Paul are vine sensations turn YouTubers with long histories of controversy after controversy. Earlier this year, Logan Paul had posted a video of a “suicide forest” in Japan which had even shown a dead body. After the fallout of the scandal, Logan Paul and “sociopath” were two words that were instantly associated with each other.  

Jake Paul, Logan’s younger brother, isn’t free of scandal either. Most revolve around Jake’ Paul’s brand “Team 10”, a house of YouTubers who create content together. Accusations of abuse, both verbal and physical, have been made against Jake, most directly relating to the notorious team. 

So, perhaps the backlash against Shane Dawson isn’t completely unjustifiable. I mean, who would want their idol creating an entire series on one of the most hated YouTubers on the platform?

When that first episode aired, “The Mind of Jake Paul”, fans were pleasantly surprised. One comment said, “It took me so long to click on this, just cause I hate Jake Paul- but it was beyond worth it.” 

Consumers loved the first episode. They were hungry for more. For two days, everything seemed to be going well for Dawson.

That is, until part two came out. People got mad.

The entirety of the second installment of the series was an interview between Shane Dawson and Psychologist/YouTuber Kati Morton.  The hate was intense. Viewers felt as though the video was over the top with its horror style editing. They also felt as though Morton had described sociopaths as monsters in an insensitive fashion. 

“I think the disconnect came when Kati used the words “gross” and “creepy”. I believe she was trying to describe it in the most laymen’s terms and that was not professional…” one comment speculated. 

As soon as Dawson saw the backlash, he responded via twitter. “I understand why people are upset. I definitely went overboard with the horror movie editing but that’s cause I got excited [and] love editing horror… I’m going to be more sensitive with the editing going forward. The last thing I want [is] to hurt anyone.” Morton didn’t respond to any negativity. She has experienced an influx of twitter attention since her interview in the series, despite accusations of unprofessionalism. 

Despite all of this, I don’t believe that Shane Dawson is in the wrong. While maybe his editing was a bit insensitive in the second episode, it was a simple mistake. The whole premise of a YouTuber’s job is to make videos that people want to watch. That’s a hard feat to accomplish when the video exceeds 10 minutes, and Dawson’s whopping eight part series has episodes totaling around 45 minutes. I’m not surprised that his editing may have been a bit much- he’s just a human trying to create not only a successful, but also meaningful series. Another controversy was that Dawson was demonizing mental illnesses. Yes, this is an extremely big deal, but I don’t think that Dawson is at fault. He’s not a psychologist. He doesn’t have a college degree. He turned to Kati Morton to help make his series factual and credible. Sadly, she didn’t accomplish either. Instead, she misinformed not only Dawson, but over 15 million viewers. 

Yesterday, Monday the 8th, Dawson dropped his 5th installment. This was the first part of the series to include Jake Paul, himself. Hitting number one trending within a few hours, the reception was very high. Most controversy has been left behind and the series continues gracefully as if there hadn’t been a bump. Whether or not Paul is a sociopath can’t be determined. At the end of the day, Dawson’s series is pure entertainment. And that’s okay. All we really want from Youtubers is quality content. Shane Dawson’s “In The Mind Of” series is certainly one of the most captivating on the platform right now.