The now-deleted Pop Blast video included edited audio from a July 1, 2013 podcast on Dawson’s “Shane and Friends” show in which he and co-host Lauren Schnipper were discussing an encounter Dawson had in public with a “child who was probably six years old” who began talking about Instagram with Dawson.
In the featured clip that brought Dawson under fire, he was explaining why he Googled the term “naked baby.”
“I went to Google and I didn't want to see child porn. I just wanted to see, let me pretend I'm a pedophile for a second," he said. "So I typed in naked baby. First of all, I don't understand why anybody would be turned on by that. But, they were sexy. I'm kidding."
The exchange begins around the 6-minute mark in the podcast.
In the 2013 podcast, Dawson also jokes that Rebecca Black “has made a little less of a sex tape” than Kim Kardashian, quipping, “She hasn’t had sex with as many black guys.” He also offered his “justification of pedophilia,” which compares it to other “weird, creepy” fetishes that aren’t illegal.
Dawson, who says he was molested as a child himself, decries the editing of the accusatory video because he says it’s out of context. “I am sorry that these [offensive jokes] are making people uncomfortable, but also it’s very out of context,” he said. “When you listen to the full thing, it’s still s----- and creepy and bad jokes, but it’s not me being a pedophile... I’m proud that I’ve grown up. I’m proud that I don’t make crazy jokes anymore."
The controversy comes shortly after Logan Paul, another YouTube personality, faced backlash for posting a video from Japan’s “suicide forest," which featured a suicide victim. The streaming channel announced yesterday (Jan. 10) that Paul has been removed from the platform’s Google Preferred program, which gives brands access to the top 5 percent of creators on the platform for ad-selling.
"In light of recent events, we have decided to remove Logan Paul’s channels from Google Preferred," a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement. "Additionally, we will not feature Logan in season four of ‘Foursome’ and his new Originals are on hold."
Paul and Dawson are not the only creators to face criticisms, but they are perhaps the most well know and have some of the widest reach, with 15 million and 11 million subscribers, respectively.
YouTube has not released a statement on Dawson, but the Pop Blast channel was removed for “multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy against spam, deceptive practices, and misleading content or other Terms of Service violations."