The End of YouTube's Longest Friendship: Shane Dawson vs. Trisha Paytas (Also, Jeffree Star Is Involved)

The End of YouTube's Longest Friendship: Shane Dawson vs. Trisha Paytas (Also, Jeffree Star Is Involved)
Image:L-R: John Phillips, Noam Galai, Jesse Grant/Getty Images for iHeartMedia (Getty Images)

YouTube is an exhausting platform where cloying personalities reign supreme, so, naturally, there’s always a new beef. Because it is literally my job, I’ve gone ahead and spent too much time unraveling what appears to be the end of YouTube’s longest friendship—the one between Trisha Paytas and Shane Dawson. Also, Jeffree Star is involved, because he is always involved. Let’s dive in.

According to The Diamondback, The University of Maryland’s independent student newspaper, Trisha Paytas and Shane Dawson’s friendship goes back nearly a decade: They uploaded their first collaborative video, a “sexual candy haul,” in 2014 and have appeared in each other’s videos ever since. In 2017, Dawson began collaborating with Jeffree Star, eventually leading to Paytas and Star’s partnering in 2018. The three appeared to hit it off: In 2019, when Star and Dawson released their sold-out Conspiracy eye shadow palette, they labeled the hot pink shade “Trisha,” an ode to their friend. All was well.

Consider that moment the beginning of the end.

That is, until a few months later, in February 2020, when Star took Paytas on a Valentine’s Day trip to Las Vegas to celebrate their single lives. She reportedly left early, posting and deleting a vlog accusing Star of making fun of her and bullying her about her weight and skin. She claims he smacked a nacho chip out of her hand, instructing her, “Don’t eat.” Consider that moment the beginning of the end.

By September 2020, Paytas had started a podcast called Frenemies, where she revealed she was no longer friends with Star. In early 2021, things began to spiral, after Star’s former stylist, Hair By Jay, posted a viscous Instagram Story showcasing the duo’s rude critique: They labeled Paytas a “walrus” with “warts.” Paytas, in tears, posted an impassioned reaction, titled “why I’m scared of jeffree and hairbyjay.” That same day, no longer crying, she paid a visit to Ethan Klein’s live YouTube talk show, H3 After Dark, where she dismissed Star’s “mean girl shit.” Paytas also revealed that she was mad with Shane Dawson and his fiancé Ryland Adams, whom she told about the Las Vegas trip but had still invited Star on his podcast, ignoring their behavior. Star responded on Twitter, chastising his stylist, but claiming he had nothing to do with the comments—even though Paytas said Star was a part of the behavior.

On January 19, Paytas continued the conversation on her Frenemies podcast, revealing that Dawson reached out to her privately but refused to support her publicly, likely for fear of upsetting Star. Paytas said she blocked Dawson and Adams’s phone numbers and social media accounts. On January 20, Adams’s addressed the situation on his own podcast, The Sip with Ryland Adams and Lizze Gordon, saying that he supports Paytas but also wished she was more forthright, adding that he can’t “read someone’s mind.” At no point did he rebuke Jeffree Star, which pissed off fans who felt the statement was cowardly and hypocritical. Those fans flooded the video, confused by Dawson’s silence and Adams’s non-comments. Eventually The Sip removed the comment section.

The following day, Trisha posted a vlog titled “Shane and Ryland are literal SCUM OF THE EARTH,” accusing Adams of lying and Dawson of exploiting her. “[Dawson] would give me the validation in a way that a toxic boyfriend would,” she said. “They string you along enough to, like, keep you happy but also destroy you behind your back.”

Dawson has yet to address the beef publicly, and I doubt he will—he’s been silent since last summer, when he posted a video apologizing for racist, misogynistic, fat phobic, pedophilic and transphobic “jokes” throughout his career. If his future husband will be the face of the drama, why speak up until a new controversy emerges, one that casts him in a better light? Or maybe he’s hoping to stay in Jeffree Star’s good graces, because that dude is loaded? Who knows!

All I know is that YouTube’s longest friendship is over, and I want to take a nap.

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