Shane Dawson has issued a lengthy apology after fans accused him of joking about paedophilia in an unearthed podcast recorded six years ago.
Fans of the YouTube star were left furious after Pop Blast posted a edited audio clip in which the 29-year-old made controversial comments about meeting a six-year-old girl with over 100,000 followers on Instagram.
"I said OK, why do you have so many followers? And she said, 'Oh I’m a cheerleader' Oh really? And she shows me her Instagram which are like… First of all, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but she’s like sexy," he said in the podcast.
Shane, who's YouTube channel has over 11 million subscribers, then went on to explain his “justification for paedophilia,” describing it as a “fetish” that some people have.
"Here’s my justification for paedophilia – people have foot fetishes, people have fetishes about everything, that’s fine, do your thing," he says.
"So why is it when somebody looks at and Googles like ‘naked baby’ on Google and jerks off to it, they can get arrested? I don’t understand that."
Needless to say, the viral clip garnered huge backlash, prompting the internet star to issue an apology.
"I am not a f**king pedophile!,” Shane said in a video uploaded on Wednesday.
"I loved the feeling of making somebody shocked and laugh because they couldn't believe what was coming out of my mouth. I wasn't confident enough to make smarter jokes. I was making the easy jokes,” he continued
"I was playing crazy stereotypical characters. I was doing sh*t that was racially insensitive, I was doing sh*t that was homophobic, I was doing shit that could be considered fat shaming, I was doing some f**ked up comedy stuff that I'm not proud of.”
Shane, who is known for his controversial content, insists that he has “changed so much as a person and as a creative” since the time of the recording.
"The stuff that I was saying back in those times I would never say now. Ever. Because I don't think that's funny. Listening to that clip now, I didn't laugh."
"I didn't think it was funny. But when you hear that clip, you hear my co-host laughing, which was my goal. I wanted to always make her shocked and laugh. That was our thing."
You can watch Shane's full apology here.