The Mind of Shane Dawson
October 30, 2018
Shane Dawson has just over eighteen and a half million subscribers on his Youtube channel, a video sharing platform that has been around since 2008. As a Youtube creator for over a decade, he is estimated to make up to 10.8 million dollars a year, according to SocialBlade, a website that provides statistics. His content has ranged from comedy skits, food recipe videos, conspiracy videos, scary videos and his current style of documentary — “episode-based” videos.
In the past year, Dawson has made documentary videos about Tana Mongeau, Jeffree Star, Trisha Paytas, his father, his cameraman and many others. The most controversial of these widely adored videos is his most recent series, The Mind of Jake Paul. The eight part docu-series was announced on Sept. 11, with the main focus of the series being the controversial former Vine star and current Youtuber, Jake Paul.
“I was so excited, because like Jake Paul is such a like talked about figure, like especially for like people our age, everyone talks about him,” sophomore Antonella Paz said.
Although the initial meaning of the series was unclear at the time, Dawson received immediate criticism due to his choice of the star of the series. Dawson’s recent series mostly left viewers feeling bad for controversial celebrities such as Jeffree Star and Tana Mongeau, who are known for their various scandals; however, viewers felt that Paul’s actions over the years were unforgivable, and did not want to see him portrayed in a pitying light. Paul has had his fair share of scandals in the past couple of years, such as his alleged racist comments, abuse of his ex-girlfriend, jumping on a news van, and his overall disregard towards others’ safety and comfort.
When the first 40 minute episode was released on Sept. 25th, Dawson quickly gained criticism for the focus of the videos. It was made clear that the intent of the videos was to figure out if Paul was a sociopath — a mental disorder also known as Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). Critics and fans of Dawson found it problematic and stated that he should not try to diagnose Paul with a serious mental health disorder that affects people worldwide, as Dawson is not a licensed psychoanalyst. Dawson brought a therapist along with him to meet Paul, however Paul was under the impression that the therapist was Dawson’s producer.
“I think the intention was a little messed up because he wanted to see if he was a sociopath or whatever, but other than that I think it was a good idea to take a therapist,” Paz said.
Throughout the series, Dawson was criticized for a multitude of things; from giving Paul a platform to influence more people, to overdramatizing and using mental health as an aspect of horror, to his choice of therapist, to the gaps of time between posting videos. The videos featured professionals such as therapist Kati Morton; however they also featured people from Paul’s life such as Nick Crompton, a former member of Paul’s company “Team 10,” and Alissa Violet, Paul’s former on-again off-again fling. Also featured in the series is Paul’s current girlfriend, Erika Costell. Paul himself did not appear in the videos until episode five: “The World of Jake Paul.”
The final video, “Inside the Mind of Jake Paul,” came out on Oct. 18, a little over a month after the series was initially announced. It summarized Paul’s thoughts on all the scandals relating to him, his family, and his friends, and what he could do better in the future.
While the series was heavily criticized, it was also praised for the research, editing and hard work put into it. The Mind of Jake Paul has racked up over 131 million views in total, with 413 minutes of new content over the course of the eight videos. The series was the longest Dawson has ever done. Dawson has stated that he will be going on a break after filming and editing the series.
“I think the Jake Paul series was the best [out of all the series Dawson has done],” Paz said.