The End of YouTube's Longest Friendship: Shane Dawson vs. Trisha Paytas (Also, Jeffree Star Is Involved)

Illustration for article titled The End of YouTube's Longest Friendship: Shane Dawson vs. Trisha Paytas (Also, Jeffree Star Is Involved)
Image: L-R: John Phillips, Noam Galai, Jesse Grant/Getty Images for iHeartMedia (Getty Images)

YouTube is an exhausting platform where cloying personalities reign supreme, so, naturally, there’s always a new beef. Because it is literally my job, I’ve gone ahead and spent too much time unraveling what appears to be the end of YouTube’s longest friendship—the one between Trisha Paytas and Shane Dawson. Also, Jeffree Star is involved, because he is always involved. Let’s dive in.

According to The Diamondback, The University of Maryland’s independent student newspaper, Trisha Paytas and Shane Dawson’s friendship goes back nearly a decade: They uploaded their first collaborative video, a “sexual candy haul,” in 2014 and have appeared in each other’s videos ever since. In 2017, Dawson began collaborating with Jeffree Star, eventually leading to Paytas and Star’s partnering in 2018. The three appeared to hit it off: In 2019, when Star and Dawson released their sold-out Conspiracy eye shadow palette, they labeled the hot pink shade “Trisha,” an ode to their friend. All was well.

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That is, until a few months later, in February 2020, when Star took Paytas on a Valentine’s Day trip to Las Vegas to celebrate their single lives. She reportedly left early, posting and deleting a vlog accusing Star of making fun of her and bullying her about her weight and skin. She claims he smacked a nacho chip out of her hand, instructing her, “Don’t eat.” Consider that moment the beginning of the end.

By September 2020, Paytas had started a podcast called Frenemies, where she revealed she was no longer friends with Star. In early 2021, things began to spiral, after Star’s former stylist, Hair By Jay, posted a viscous Instagram Story showcasing the duo’s rude critique: They labeled Paytas a “walrus” with “warts.” Paytas, in tears, posted an impassioned reaction, titled “why I’m scared of jeffree and hairbyjay.” That same day, no longer crying, she paid a visit to Ethan Klein’s live YouTube talk show, H3 After Dark, where she dismissed Star’s “mean girl shit.” Paytas also revealed that she was mad with Shane Dawson and his fiancé Ryland Adams, whom she told about the Las Vegas trip but had still invited Star on his podcast, ignoring their behavior. Star responded on Twitter, chastising his stylist, but claiming he had nothing to do with the comments—even though Paytas said Star was a part of the behavior.

On January 19, Paytas continued the conversation on her Frenemies podcast, revealing that Dawson reached out to her privately but refused to support her publicly, likely for fear of upsetting Star. Paytas said she blocked Dawson and Adams’s phone numbers and social media accounts. On January 20, Adams’s addressed the situation on his own podcast, The Sip with Ryland Adams and Lizze Gordon, saying that he supports Paytas but also wished she was more forthright, adding that he can’t “read someone’s mind.” At no point did he rebuke Jeffree Star, which pissed off fans who felt the statement was cowardly and hypocritical. Those fans flooded the video, confused by Dawson’s silence and Adams’s non-comments. Eventually The Sip removed the comment section.

The following day, Trisha posted a vlog titled “Shane and Ryland are literal SCUM OF THE EARTH,” accusing Adams of lying and Dawson of exploiting her. “[Dawson] would give me the validation in a way that a toxic boyfriend would,” she said. “They string you along enough to, like, keep you happy but also destroy you behind your back.”

Dawson has yet to address the beef publicly, and I doubt he will—he’s been silent since last summer, when he posted a video apologizing for racist, misogynistic, fat phobic, pedophilic and transphobic “jokes” throughout his career. If his future husband will be the face of the drama, why speak up until a new controversy emerges, one that casts him in a better light? Or maybe he’s hoping to stay in Jeffree Star’s good graces, because that dude is loaded? Who knows!

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All I know is that YouTube’s longest friendship is over, and I want to take a nap.

URL: Senior Writer, Jezebel. IRL: Author of the very good book 'LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS,' out now.

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DISCUSSION

Diosabella
Diosabella

Allow me to jump in between all of the holier than thou commenters who are going to read this article and rush to the comment section to gloat about how they have no idea who these people are because they read books or whatever nonsense they are using to justify their misplaced elitism.

Anyway.

I’ve been following this story and honestly it is very, very sad. Trisha has a problematic history on the internet, but she seems to be a person with a good heart and probably too much trust. Jeffree very clearly is a toxic person who uses and abuses people (as has been documented time and time again). The things his hairdresser said about Trisha on that live were absolutely vile and I totally believe he was stalking her and threatening her.

It’s a damned shame that the people she considered her closest friends in the world wouldn’t jump to her defense here, instead basically siding with her bullies. On one hand, it sucks, but on the other. . . at least she got to see where their loyalties really lie.

Compare Shane and Ryland’s response (or non response) to Trisha’s brother and sister in law’s responses. Night and day. That is how you defend a friend.

And I know that all of this may seem petty and shallow, but I do think these folks are followed by a lot of younger people--- and this situation is going to educate a lot of kids about how important boundaries are with the people in your life, especially friends. That’s actually a very good thing.