YouTube suspends monetization for Shane Dawson following backlash

This is the right move. But if YouTube really cared it would ban him altogether.

YouTube has removed monetization options from all three of Shane Dawson’s popular channels on the platform, the company confirmed to TubeFilter. The move comes as Dawson, who has been one of YouTube’s top creators for more than a decade, is facing backlash related to old videos of him featuring blackface and other racist, anti-Semitic, and otherwise unsavory remarks.

Demonetization of Dawson’s channels — Shane (22.5 million subscribers), Shane Dawson TV (8.4 million subscribers), and Sane Glossin (3.7 million subscribers) — began on June 29 and will continue indefinitely. YouTube has confirmed that the demonetization is not permanent.

This isn’t the first time Dawson has been called out for his history of harmful comments, but it’s certainly the most comprehensive. Dawson posted a video last week in which he apologized for using blackface “a lot” as well as for problematic statements he’s made in the past.

It’s rare for YouTube to step in when it comes to influencer drama. That alone proves the company considers Dawson’s a serious case — one that would hurt its users and its brand. Why not ban him completely?

What did he do, exactly? — Oh, the list of offenses is too long to include here in full. But we’ll summarize.

Shane Dawson has built an entire YouTube empire on offensive jokes. He’s posted more than one video in blackface and joked about bestiality. He’s sexualized minors — most notably Willow Smith — and openly mocked people with disabilities. He’s used the n-word and used racist stereotypes for skits.

On a less harmful (but still awful) scale, he’s stoked backlash against other YouTube personalities like James Charles and Tati Westbrook. Dawson has used these problematic ways to amass billions of views on YouTube.

What YouTube says — YouTube doesn’t often take a side when it comes to its top creators. Dawson’s case is an unusually terrible look for the platform. Some other creators like Logan Paul and JayStation have faced similar demonetization after posting problematic videos.

YouTube told TubeFilter that it takes action in “rare circumstances” where a newsworthy creator’s bad behavior could have a negative impact across its collective community of creators, viewers, and advertisers. In other words: yes, YouTube is looking out for itself here, but it’s also aware that Dawson’s presence is harmful to viewers.

Why not go further? — YouTube is making the right call by no longer allowing Dawson to profit off his history of hate speech. But it’s not enough.

If YouTube really cared about its community, the company would ban Shane Dawson completely. By allowing Dawson to continue maintaining a presence on its website, YouTube is essentially saying we only care about your hate speech if we’re paying you for it. That’s not care or concern: it’s ruthless business.

By stopping at demonetizing Dawson’s videos, YouTube makes it pretty clear: this is just about money. Allowing Dawson and those like him to have a platform — despite repeatedly violating the site’s policies — is toxic. Shane Dawson’s comeuppance is way past due. Now it’s time to ban him completely. Otherwise YouTube is just saving face.