Shane Dawson's latest YouTube docu-series titled "The Mind of Jake Paul" has been dominating YouTube for the past several weeks and there have been mixed reactions. I have been a fan of Dawson since 2007, so I had hope for the series. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by how it all played out.
Prior to the series airing, I was intrigued by Dawson's idea of having Paul be the subject of his next series. However, I was also against it because I did not want Paul to be given a redemption arc. I have never liked him because I always thought he was narcissistic, rude, and racist. Dawson was aware that many other fans had this same fear, so at the beginning of the series, he explained that he wanted to take a critical look at Paul and hold him accountable for his actions.
I was hoping that he would not let Paul off the hook for being abusive and racist, but in the end, the majority of Dawson's audience left the series feeling sympathy for Paul. This is exactly what I was afraid of because Paul was not the victim. He came up with excuses for his behavior and since Shane did not criticize him harshly, his fans ended up believing that he was innocent.
Two of the biggest controversies surrounding Paul that I wanted Dawson to touch on were Alissa Violet's abuse allegations against him and Ivan and Emilio Martinez' (known as the Martinez twins) claims of Paul being racist. Even though they were both discussed in the docu-series, I do not think they were treated as seriously as they should have been.
One of the episodes of the docu-series was an interview with Alissa Violet and in it, she explained how Paul was mentally and emotionally abusive to her. Dawson looked empathetic throughout, but then when the finale came out, Paul was made the victim instead of Violet. In Paul's interview, he denied ever being physically abusive to Violet and said that they did have an on again off again relationship.
He explained that they would both push each other's buttons, but that was basically the extent to what he confessed to. He went on to talk about how hurt he was when he found out Violet had sex with his older brother, Logan, and how he was still dealing with that pain. He felt betrayed by his brother and the situation ended up affecting his whole family, but this does not validate Paul's abusive behavior.
Before I continue, I want to add that it was revealed that Dawson filmed his interview with Violet after his interview with Paul and that he released them in the opposite order. People have been claiming that he changed his mind about the situation and realized Paul should be held responsible, but I do not think this is the case because the day that the finale aired, Dawson tweeted to Paul: "spoiler art: ur family to me now. love u too man."
Some of Dawson's viewers have claimed that Paul was not abusive because he never physically hurt Violet, but that does not mean that the emotional and mental abuse he put her through was insignificant. He would try to control her life, prevent her from seeing her friends, and go from telling her he loved her to having sex with another girl a few days later. Paul was treating her like a pawn and not a human being. He was also clearly abusing his power by telling Instagram models to come to the Team 10 house to be interviewed for a spot in his squad and then end up luring them into having sex with him.
In the finale episode, Paul also spoke about his feud with the Martinez twins. He defended himself from their accusations of him being racist because he grew up in an environment where people would make offensive jokes and no one would take them seriously. Paul then claimed that since the Martinez twins would jokingly call him a cracker, then he was justified in calling them beaners, which is a Latinx slur. Reverse racism does not exist and is not an excuse for his actions.
As a Latina, I am able to say beaner, but Paul is a white man and he had no business calling the Martinez twins that or repeating the word in Dawson's interview. Of course, I am not holding Dawson responsible for the fact that Paul said beaner in the interview because he cannot anticipate what someone is going to say, but he should have called him out for saying the word. Even though at that moment Paul was not directing it towards anyone, it is still a slur and should not be said in any context by someone that is not Latinx.
I believe that Dawson created the docu-series with good intentions, but he let his overly empathetic nature get the best of him. He let Paul convince him that he was the victim in every situation and that it was the people around him that were to blame. He should have been harder on Paul and educated him about how he was being racist and how reverse racism is not real.
Dawson also should have made Paul own up to the fact that he was abusive to Violet and that he had no one else to blame for how he treated her but himself. I do not think Dawson realized how serious the allegations against Paul were, so he was unable to confront him in the way that many of us wanted. I hope Dawson treats this as a learning experience and is able to make a better docu-series in the future.