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Is This the End for Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star?

  • June 30, 2020

Mr. Dawson has racked up billions of views on YouTube, often by engaging in offensive humor. He has posted several videos in blackface, mocked those with disabilities, joked about bestiality, sexualized minors, and once spoke about “figuratively murdering someone.” On June 26, Mr. Dawson posted a teary apology to his channel, in which he tried to make amends for his past, declaring that he deserved to “lose everything.”

No sooner had his apology video posted than a clip of him pretending to sexually gratify himself to a photo of Willow Smith, then 11 years old, resurfaced and began to get shared widely. Jaden and Jada Pinkett Smith spoke out against Mr. Dawson immediately. “To Shane Dawson … I’m done with the excuses,” Ms. Pinkett Smith, Willow’s mother, tweeted.

Mr. Star, a close friend of Mr. Dawson’s, also faced cancellation last week. Like Mr. Dawson, Mr. Star has been a fixture on YouTube since the early days. But while Mr. Dawson cultivated an image of a good-natured friend to all, Mr. Star has been called a YouTube “super villain” and is considered by many fans to be duplicitous.

Beauty insiders have speculated that both Mr. Dawson and Mr. Star played a large behind-the-scenes role in stoking backlash against James Charles, another beauty YouTuber, last year.

Mr. Star’s tight hold on the beauty community and broader relevance on YouTube has begun slipping, as has Mr. Dawson’s. In the past few months, several channels that document drama have released investigations into Mr. Star’s past, resurfacing old content in which Mr. Star posed for a brand he was set to start called Lipstick Nazi and supported a fellow music artist, Dahvie Vanity, who was accused of sexual misconduct.

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