Following backlash over videos of popular beauty vlogger Shane Dawson in blackface, saying racial slurs and sexualizing minors, YouTube confirmed Tuesday that it has suspended monetization for his channels that reach a combined 34.6 million subscribers — a decision that may signal how YouTube will respond to other influencers.
YouTube confirmed to Buzzfeed News on Tuesday that it demonetized Dawson’s channels for an indefinite amount of time starting Monday, meaning he won’t be able to make money through advertising his videos that get tens of millions of views each month.
Dawson’s apology video called ‘Taking Accountability” has racked up north of 11 million views since it was posted on June 26; Dawson said he “deserved to lose everything.”
In the 20-minute video, he apologized for “all the racism I put on the internet,” including playing racist stereotypes, wearing blackface “a lot” on his channel and comments he made about pedophilia.
In recent weeks, other YouTubers including Jenna Marbles, David Dobrik and Liza Koshy have all faced criticism for past videos — Marbles told her 20 million followers she was quitting YouTube after a video resurfaced of her in blackface and Koshy apologized for perpetuating racist ideas in a past video with Dobrik; the decision Monday means that other YouTubers could also lose their ability to profit off their videos.
YouTube told Tubefilter that it will take action when a “newsworthy creator” could have a negative impact on its creators, viewers and advertisers and that, in Dawson’s case, the company took into account the impact and nature of his previous videos and his off-platform behavior.
People are calling on other brands to stop working with Dawson. A petition to beauty companies already has more than 12,000 signatures. Target confirmed to Insider that it will no longer carry Dawson’s books.
“To Shane Dawson…I’m done with excuses,” actress Jada Pinkett Smith tweeted on June 27 after one of Dawson’s old videos resurfaced that showed him pretending to sexually gratify himself to a poster of Willow Smith, who was then just 11 years old.