On Nov. 1, Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star broke the internet.
After releasing his latest Youtube series, “The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star,” Dawson announced his makeup collaboration with Jeffree Star Cosmetics. Subscribers of both Dawson and Star were enthralled with the news as they followed Dawson’s makeup progress journey through his Instagram posts and Snapchat story updates. Needless to say, the duo sold 1 million eye shadow palettes in roughly 30 minutes.
While much of the internet rejoiced as they successfully managed to order a Conspiracy palette, many people expressed their anger toward both Dawson and Star.
In 2012, Dawson came under attack as he invited teenaged girls at VidCon to participate in what he called, “ghetto pranks.” These pranks included the teenagers joking around about chicken and booty dances.
Then, in 2014, Dawson came under fire once again for using blackface in his impersonation of TV show host Wendy Williams.
Dawson has also been labeled misogynistic for his portrayal of his character “Shanaynay.” Shanaynay is a character that relied heavily on stereotypes, primarily “ghetto” stereotypes. She starred in several videos, including “Ghetto Drive-Thru From Hell” and “DMV.”
In Dawson’s infamous apology video, “My Apology (Blackface & Offensive Videos),” he stated, “I made a mistake, I shouldn’t have performed that. I shouldn’t have put make-up on my face to look black, I shouldn’t have performed it. It wasn’t mean-spirited, it wasn’t malicious, it was simply silly and offensive.”
Dawson, who is now 31 years old, also admitted that he used an outdated, “edgy” sense of humor back when those videos were uploaded.
Internet users dug up the fact that, although Shane has publically announced he was wrong for his Shanaynay character, he still makes a profit off of the Shanaynay shirts found on his official Amazon merchandise store.
Jeffree Star, like Dawson, is no stranger to controversy. Jackie Aina, an online beauty influencer, posted an open letter to Star on Sept. 28, 2018. She explained that she will no longer overlook his actions and deemed him to be racist in nature. Daved Anthony Munoz, Star’s previous hairstylist leaked text messages which show Star using racial slurs. Additionally, Munoz shared a video that showed Star calling Aina a “gorilla”.
Star has since released an apology video on YouTube entitled “RACISM.”
Internet users were not excited when the Conspiracy collection was introduced, and many took to Twitter to vocalize their opinions. People expressed that fans allowed Dawson to enter the beauty community knowing that he has a history of racism and misogyny with no questions asked, but when a woman tries to enter the community, she is “just doing it for the money.”
It’s important for creators like Star and Dawson to realize that their content follows them forever. If they did not want people opening up old wounds, they should have never created videos of that nature in the first place. Just because they both have grown in maturity does not mean that people cannot be offended by their past content. Changing does not justify past problematic behaviors nor does it make the content less offensive.