Controversy and Charisma: How Shane Dawson Won ‘Youtuber of the Year’

Whether it be a trending video about Chuck E. Cheese pizza or a scandal involving his cat, the internet has always had a love-hate relationship with YouTuber, Shane Dawson. But, even with a few viral scandals under his belt, the 30-year-old influencer managed to push through and win the 2019 Shorty award for “YouTuber of the Year.” How did he do it?

“I was honest year after year after year and you guys stayed with me,” Kathy Griffin explains in her version of Shane Dawson’s acceptance speech. “…I love what I do and I work my butt off and I hope you guys still love it.”

Shane Dawson and Kathy Griffin
Shane Dawson, Ryland Adams, and Kathy Griffin | Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Shorty Awards

He’s been on Youtube since 2008

Shane Dawson, Nigahiga, Smosh, and Fred were among the first YouTubers to become “internet famous.” Shane was just 19 years old when he created his account and dreamt up crazy characters and skits like the blonde and plucky Shanaynay. Since then, Shane broke YouTube boundaries and earned over 21 million subscribers, making “Shane” one of the Top 100 YouTube channels of 2019.

Some of his most popular videos include his multipart investigative series exploring the life of YouTuber Jake Paul, his in-depth analysis of Tanacon, and his conspiracy videos — some lasting over an hour and a half.

Shane Dawson also wrote two books that are currently available at large retailers like Barnes & Nobles and Target. His line of merchandise is available on Amazon, and he is presently collaborating with makeup artist and YouTuber Jeffree Star.

Shane Dawson
Shane Dawson | Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic

What happened with Shane’s cat?

On a now-deleted 2015 episode of Shane Dawson’s podcast, Shane and Friends, Shane told listeners about his first sexual experience with his cat. Within a few hours, Shane Dawson tweeted an eight-part statement denying accusations of bestiality, claiming the whole segment was a joke.

A year before the cat controversy, the internet accused Shane Dawson of pedophilia, following his comments towards a six-year-old girl in a podcast. He then released a 14-minute long video in response, again claiming the comments were a joke, primarily for shock value. The video earned Shane over 7 million views.

Ryland Adams
Ryland Adams and Morgan Adams | Noam Galai/Getty Images for Shorty Awards

What’s next for Shane Dawson?

Controversy after controversy, the YouTuber’s videos continue to rack up hundreds of millions of views. His success, in part, is due to his creativity and research. Andrew Siwicki, the co-creator and editor of many recent Shane Dawson videos, credits Shane’s hard work to his success.

“Just wanted [to] say that I’m so grateful to be working for somebody who’d electively give himself an extra 5 days of tireless work simply because he knows how good something can be,” Siwicki tweet. “Thanks for always inspiring me, man.”

Shane Dawson doesn’t post videos as frequently as some YouTubers, primarily because of the length and scale of his content. In between videos, Shane can be seen in vlogs by his fiancé, Ryland Adams, who won the 2019 shorty award for “Vlogger of the Year.”