Shane Dawson is one of YouTube’s most iconic creators — and one with a sizable, overwhelmingly dedicated fan group. The hive is so supportive of Dawson, and so enthusiastic about meeting him, that many members flew from around the world just to meet him at this year’s TanaCon.
They never got the chance. TanaCon, an event set up by YouTuber Tana Mongeau in retaliation to VidCon, was shut down following safety concerns and riot hazards. The event was so mishandled that people referred to it as the new DashCon or Fyre Festival. In a new video, Dawson calls his participation in TanaCon the “worst decision I ever made.”
“Not only was TanaCon a failure,” Dawson says in the video above, “but it was a safety hazard, it caused riots, it caused so many thousands of people to get sunburned, like third-degree burns on their bodies, people were passing out, nobody was even getting into the convention center. It wasn’t even a convention center; it was a hotel lobby the size of a Chipotle. And then of course it was cancelled.”
The statement is part of a three-part documentary series that Dawson is doing on how TanaCon failed. Dawson, who recently began producing more of these series on his channel, wants to conduct interviews with executives involved in planning TanaCon to finally figure out the answers to hopeful attendees’ questions. Like reality television, parts of Dawson’s “docu-series” are exaggerated for dramatic purposes. Some moments even seem scripted. The first episode does include a small interview with Mongeau about what happened, which even if scripted, is interesting to hear.
The episode also sets up the series as an investigative look into GoodTimes, Mongeau’s agency, and how the event managed to come together in the first place.
“You start to think, ‘What if this whole thing is bullshit?’,” Dawson says in the video. “When I saw all the footage, and the kids in the videos that were there, so many of them said they went there specifically to see me ... I mean, there were kids who flew there to see me. There’s only so much tweets are going to do. And someone needs to pay for it.”
The highlight of the video occurs in the last five minutes, when Mongeau and Dawson are talking about TanaCon’s behind-the-scenes moments and exploring the disastrous event at length. Mongeau, who tweeted about TanaCon’s closure after the incident occurred, admits she’s scared of tweeting anything negative about the agency or its CEO, Michael Mellon, adding that she’s willing to accept the blame for everything.
“Michael can’t keep doing this to people,” Mongeau said. “GoodTimes can’t keep doing this to people. I’ve been really afraid for the past few days about saying anything Michael or GoodTimes because it’s like, no matter how dirty they did me, like it’s my fault. I agreed. I should have listened to people who told me not to work with him, I should have done better research.”
“Do I talk about the fact that I was lied to about venue and capacity size,” Mongeau continued. “Do I talk about the fact that Michael literally got people from Anaheim Marriott to lie to me? Do I say those things or do I just take full blame?”
Mongeau admits toward the end of the video that she’s most concerned over TanaCon-goers refunds, and how she should go about making it right for those who traveled internationally just to see their favorite creators.
“I’m just terrified of letting the people who love me the most down,” Mongeau said. “And I did. I let them down.”
Dawson did not say when the second part of the series is set to go live.
Update (July 2): Dawson uploaded the second episode over the weekend. You can watch it below.
The last part of the documentary was published today. You can watch it below.