Shane Dawson, one of the biggest YouTubers on the planet with over 21 million subscribers, apologized Sunday for joking about dry-humping and ejaculating on his cat in a recently resurfaced quote from a 2015 tapping of his Shane and Friends podcast. He wrote on Twitter, “ive apologized many times for all the dumb shit ive said in videos and podcasts over the years. ive learned my lesson over and over again and im more confident now in my ability to be entertaining by just being myself and not being so shocking for laughs,” and claimed to regret telling the joke as if it were a true story.
In the recording, Dawson says, “I laid my cat down on her back. I didn’t penetrate. I laid the cat down on her back and I moved her little chicken legs, you know, spread apart. If I just hump, like, on her tummy, that’s not weird so I humped and I humped and I kept going and I came all over the cat. It was, like, my first sexual experience. I was also, like, 19.” He was 26 at the time of the podcast.
Since joining YouTube in 2008, Dawson has apologized countless times for making inappropriate jokes ranging from pedophilia to racism, including the use of blackface to portray Wendy Williams, Raven Symone and Chris Brown in his videos. Criticism of Dawson’s past behavior tends to resurface frequently, but often dies down when he releases a new conspiracy video about Chuck E. Cheese re-selling uneaten pizza or some other mundanity—it’s convenient to forget about a YouTuber’s past indiscretions when you’re too busy being entertained.
If this ends up going the route of Olivia Jade and the college admissions controversy, joking about fucking a cat could inspire the kind of outrage that does numbers and boosts follower counts. It’s self-marketing, in a way, that goes well beyond the “good guy once said a bad thing” rhetoric so many YouTube celebrities hide behind. But how good can you be when the bad continues to pop up, endlessly?