^ Shane Dawson
Merely hours after a panel about digital diversity and racism on YouTube popular vlogger Shane Dawson and comedian Kyle Mooney (booked by Maker Studios) apparently put a decidedly bum note into what all agree was another three days of IRL online video awesome fun times.
What particularly stands out about this incident is the sheer sense of confusion felt by those who were following the event [VidCon] online but who weren’t there themselves.
It was clear that something big and unpleasant had happened but very few people, if any, had any clear idea of what that was.
In the absence of such information they did what humans are unfortunately very good at doing; they took all the information they could gather at that moment and filled in the gaps with whatever seemed the most likely, namely that Dawson was booed off the stage when in fact he wasn’t.
However, there is still a lot of genuine controversy surrounding his set.
Chicken & Ghetto Jokes
Dawson apparently utilised cultural stereotypes typically associated with lower class black people in order to generate laughs. He is said to have gone on to poke fun at child abuse.
Criticism was levied not only at the content of his set but the people it was directed towards. Many felt that it was inappropriate for the younger audience that is present at VidCon.
“He [Dawson] had young girls go onstage and impersonate black women using the words “chicken” and “ghetto.” Multiple times. And made his usual pedophilia jokes. Extremely distasteful, worse than usual, and not appropriate for the audience there.”
In response many people made the point that it simply seemed that he had scaled up what he does in his videos anyway and seemed confused as to why others found it shocking.
Although whether this makes it acceptable behaviour is another matter entirely.
"There has been a big explosion of talk that Shane Dawson was really racist for his show at vidcon today
Is that really surprising when the guy rose to huge success doing that?”
The part that really ignited widespread outrage and repugnance was the set of comedian Kyle Mooney; he allegedly made extremely misogynistic jokes and referred to female genitalia and sexual arousal in a very offensive way.
"The second guest was where the issue lay. I’m not going to go into specifics here, but his content was extremely offensive to anyone even remotely feminist, hugely mysoginistic and utterly indefensible. He was booed off stage, and left behind a shocked and angry crowd."
Others went further and described exactly what the set involved
"The second bit was a “comedian” that did a presentation called ‘hooking up’ which was just offensive.
I left part way through after they put up the graph of how “wet” all the 300 girls he hooked up with this month got, saying they were all past the “wet and creamy” stage, so I didn’t see all of it. I know it was all a joke but I was creeped out and didn’t want to sit through that”
Again, it’s not just the content that many objected to but the timing and the audience it was performed in front of.
It’s widely accepted that there was a warning that the material was mature and unsuitable for children but that seems a poor defence within the context of VidCon itself; the conference’s image is presented as child and young person friendly.
The sets were also played close together so it’s extremely likely that someone there to see George Watsky or SourceFed would also see everything else that played at the concert.
A whole host of prominent content creators led an outpouring of disgust on twitter, some of it seems to have been directed towards both Dawson and Mooney / just Mooney while most is aimed at Dawson alone; probably because of his higher profile within the community.
^ Oh my Mr Dawson *fans self* your ribald humour, pop culture reference and eloquent defence of your content have swayed my heart AND mind.
There has yet to be any kind of response or statement from the social networking accounts of Kyle Mooney and Shane Dawson’s response, well, it…it pretty much speaks for itself.
Or it would if I had enough self control to not caption it in bold.
Regardless of whether this incident blows up or quietly drifts into obscurity it seems inevitable that the Green brothers will be looking a lot more closely at the sets they allow to perform when VidCon swings around next year.
[Disclaimer: I was not at VidCon, this article is based on statements from people who were there and have described the events in detail through their own posts online and those who have submitted their experience in strict confidence and who wish to remain anonymous.
I have cross checked and researched all of this as thoroughly as possible. Some of the quotations have been edited for brevity]