There are a lot of problematic people on the internet. Some get away with the behavior for too long and others are called out and canceled. For Shane Dawson, he's been on the internet for a long time and has had to answer for more than his fair share of controversy and has been a trending topic because of them. Now, Shane Dawson's death rumors are trending, and it's gone too far.
Shane Dawson has been on the internet for a long time.
Shane Dawson has had a career on the internet and has been a figure on YouTube for 10 years. During this span, he's had more than his fair share of controversy follow him from decisions he's made, including videos with blackface on more than one occasion. At the time, he said he didn't understand all the controversy and pushback he got over his choice, and eventually admitted that viewers were justified in being upset.
"For me, in my head, I was just becoming a character," he said at the time, in an apology video posted in 2014. "I'm not making fun of them for being black, I'm just looking like them... which didn't offend my audience." He continued, "But the biggest thing I learned is that just because it doesn't offend my audience, doesn't mean it isn't offending mass amounts of people outside of my audience, and that's what I should be more aware of."
He added, "I made a mistake. I shouldn't have done that... It was stupid. It wasn't mean-spirited, it was not malicious. It was just stupid and I shouldn't have done it."
Shane has also had to apologize for videos where he seemed to make light of pedophilia, opening up about his past in a way to try and explain where his humor was coming from. This issue arose again in 2020, when an image made the rounds online of Shane pretending to masturbate to a picture of then-11-year-old Willow Smith.
To Shane Dawson ... I’m done with the excuses.— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) June 27, 2020
In July, fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook called him out. In a video posted to her YouTube channel, she claimed he and Jeffree Star "gaslit" and manipulated her into recording and sharing a video callout titled "Bye Sister" in May 2019 that nearly canceled James Charles.
Since that all went down, Shane has received a lot of backlash and it's impacted his work and career. He's lost over 1 million subscribers over the past few weeks and has been dropped from major collaborations, including ones with Target and Morphe.
Canceling Shane Dawson is one thing, but death rumors are going too far.
On July 27, 2020, the hashtag #RIPShane claiming Shane Dawson is dead started to pick up some traction. He's not dead, but the hashtag seemed to originate from a "fan account" that is branded to look like TMZ which tweeted an image of Shane Dawson, alongside the message, "American Youtuber Shane Dawson dead at 32 #RipShane."
It immediately received criticism with some saying that the fake news took things too far, and with the hashtag trending in the United States, people were confused.
"I'm an outspoken criticiser [sic] of Shane Dawson but this #ripshane tag is honestly horrible," one person tweeted. "Dislike Shane as much as you want but you should NEVER joke about or fake someone's death. Having lost people close to me it makes my blood boil at some of the jokes being made."
I'm an outspoken criticiser of Shane Dawson but this #ripshane tag is honestly horrible. Dislike Shane as much as you want but you should NEVER joke about or fake someone's death. Having lost people close to me it makes my blood boil at some of the jokes being made.— Kestrel (@SpaceKestrel) July 27, 2020
"Is this real? #ripshane I haven't been keeping up with the drama recently but damn that's f--ked up," another wrote.
"i’m not a fan of shane dawson by any means but starting hashtags like this and suicide baiting is f--king deplorable what is wrong with you lot #ripshane," said another.
While people have every right to want to cancel Shane Dawson and not see him be able to use his huge platform to share his problematic humor and views, there's nothing OK with starting a trend joking or hoping that someone had died.