YouTuber Shane Dawson was targed by a celebrity death hoax on Monday, and many fans are still trying to sort the confusion out. An account posing as a celebrity news site appears to have started the hashtag "RIP Shane," leading many fans to believe that Dawson had died before he could clear it up. According to a report by Insider, Dawson is definitely alive.
Dawson has been mostly silent on social media since June, but now he and his representatives are being forced to confirm that he is alive for fearful fans. The hashtag "RIP Shane" began trending on Monday, July 27, beginning with dubious an anonymous fan account posing as the news site TMZ. The user changed their display name and profile photo, even adding an emoji that might look like a verification check mark at first glance. From there, the hashtag took off, with some fans knowing it was false and others taking it seriously.
If you’re tweeting #RIPSHANE you seriously need to take a long hard look at yourself, absolutely vile. Grow up.— Phoebe Taylor (@phoebetaylorxo) July 28, 2020
So far, neither Dawson or his fiance, YouTuber Ryland Adams have resurfaced on Twitter to address the death hoax. Both have been absent from social media altogether since June, when some of Dawson's resurfaced content caused a storm of backlash against them. The only exception was Dawson's birthday earlier this month, when Adams posted a photo on his Instagram Story to celebrate.
This was not entirely by choice, as YouTube suspended all monetization of content on all three of Dawson's YouTube channels on June 30. Dawson was one of the earliest creators to break out on YouTube, beginning in 2008 at the age of 19. Over the years, his videos have included instances of Blackface, racist language and the sexualization of children and animals.
Dawson has apologized for and addressed these controversies on social media, though for many fans, it was not enough to convince them to continue following his work. Others took it further, recirculating Dawson's racist content and urging others to stop following him as well.
This was especially true in June, when a number of TV shows were apologizing for past instances of Blackface, and other creators were owning up to similar mistakes.0comments
Dawson's apologies have gone just as viral as the content that necessitated them, however. Last year, Dawson made waves on Twitter for a frustrated apology that alarmed those who did not know the context. It was in reference to a 2015 podcast where he joked about engaging in sexual activity with his cat.
"I didn't f— my cat," it read. "I didn't c— on my cat. I didn't put my d— anywhere near my cat. I've never done anything weird with my cats."