- A drama YouTuber named Sanders Kennedy sent old videos of Shane Dawson to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
- He then made a monetized video about an “investigation” into Dawson on his own channel.
- The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department confirmed to Insider that there is no criminal investigation.
- Kennedy’s video caused immediate controversy in the YouTube drama community surrounding his actions.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
YouTube star Shane Dawson has faced backlash over the past few weeks over some of his older videos, including one where he sexualized then-11-year-old Willow Smith.
Now a well-known “drama YouTuber” is mired in controversy after sending the videos to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and reporting on the so-called “investigation” on his YouTube channel. Sanders Kennedy, 31, a self-proclaimed entertainment reporter with a popular YouTube drama channel, confirmed to Insider that he sent the videos to the police, days after he tweeted about doing so.
The move caused an uproar in the YouTube drama community — though it was directed at Kennedy himself, not Dawson.
Kennedy sent photos to the LASD and then posted a video saying there was an ‘investigation’ into Shane Dawson. Insider confirmed there is no investigation into Dawson.
After tweeting that he had sent Dawson’s old videos and posts to the police, Kennedy posted a video to his YouTube channel saying that they had resulted in an “investigation.”
The LASD confirmed to Insider that there is no investigation into Dawson and that any statements otherwise were “misinformation.”
Sergeant Dave Payne, the Human Trafficking Bureau sergeant for the department, said that Dawson had not been charged with a crime and that no one has come forward to identify themselves to the LASD as a victim of Dawson’s.
In a video on his YouTube page, Kennedy posted audio of his own conversation with Sergeant Payne, in which the sergeant refers to a “suspicious circumstance investigation.” “We don’t have enough to call it a crime, but there’s a lot of things we have to look through first, and we also need victims,” Sergeant Payne says in the recording.
Kennedy later clarified that he never referred to the “investigation” as a criminal one, although critics have pointed out that he changed the title of his first video from, “LA Sheriff’s Department Officially Opens Investigation On Shane Dawson, Survivors Urged To Come Forward!,” to omit the word “Officially.” Sanders also edited himself saying the word “officially” out of the video after he began to receive backlash for it.
Kennedy monetized his video about the ‘investigation’ — a move that caused controversy among independent YouTube drama reporters and fans
Kennedy has more than 240,000 subscribers, and the first video he uploaded around the Shane Dawson “investigation” has been viewed more than a quarter of a million times. It immediately caused a stir in the YouTube drama community, prompting follow-up investigations from other YouTubers.
Kennedy’s decision to monetize the video — which purported to report on information he himself had submitted to the police — also drew widespread ire.
In exchange for paying $2.99 a month for his premium channel, subscribers would have access to “exclusive” information from the LASD, as well as “things that might not become public on social media and on YouTube,” he said.
Kennedy also said that the LASD was strongly encouraging “victims” or “survivors” of Dawson to come forward, particularly in connection with old videos from TinyChat conversations. Kennedy asked so-called “victims” to reach out to him directly so he could be the one to direct them to the LASD.
Controversy over the nature of Kennedy’s involvement with the police and his portrayal of any so-called investigation erupted shortly after he posted his video
“We’re considering all options and we will take appropriate action against Mr. Kennedy to protect and enforce our client’s rights,” Dawson’s legal representatives told Insider.
The backlash has raised questions about Sanders’ credibility in the YouTube drama community
Drama YouTubers have become a part of YouTube’s ecosystem, with independent YouTube news reporters becoming influencers themselves, making livings off their channels and shaping public opinion about famous creators.
The controversy over Kennedy’s videos and reporting tactics, which included a scathing video response from YouTuber Trisha Paytas, raises transparency concerns about how YouTubers who task themselves with holding their famous counterparts accountable go about doing so.
An outpouring of criticism over his recent videos has caused Kennedy to largely disappear from social media, and Kennedy says he has received death threats. He has since taken all the videos down from his YouTube channel.
Dawson has been quiet over the past two weeks as he has been buried by backlash of his own, including criticism from Jada Pinkett Smith and Jaden Smith, over his older videos. He’s also faced accusations from YouTuber Tati Westbrook, who said Dawson “manipulated” and “gaslit” her into starting her 2019 feud with James Charles.