This series contains explicit language and descriptions of violence including self-harm and suicide.

The Brief: Shane Dawson's latest YouTube documentary series explores contemporary conspiracy theories.


Shane Dawson and his team have pioneered a new YouTube genre: the irresistibly juicy long-form documentary series. After his successes The Truth About Tanacon, The Secret World Of Jeffree Star, and The Mind Of Jake Paul, Shane has moved back to his bread and butter: conspiracy theories. In this multi-part “Conspiracy Series,” Shane Dawson dives deep into a range of popular and previously obscure conspiracy theories. As stated throughout the videos, “these are all just theories, not facts.”

Part 1: Conspiracy Theories With Shane Dawson

In the first 24 hours since its release, the first installment of the series has attracted over ten million views. It covers a number of conspiracy theories that are rooted in capitalism, surveillance, and secret government control.

Slang & Pop Culture References:

  • “That’s tea” means that’s gossip or juicy information.
  • Blue Whale and Momo “challenges:” reference reported instances of minors being influenced to self-harm by strangers posing as characters from viral online horror stories.
  • Zepeto: a free avatar and social media app that sparked some rumors about it “spying on” users.

Conspiracy Theories

iPhone Surveillance

Shane seems to have been ahead of the game on spotting a version of an iPhone FaceTime/call glitch wherein some callers could hear audio from before the person they were trying to reach actually picked up. Shane and his friends also talk about how the “always on” functions for iPhone live photos and Siri mean that to a certain degree, phones are recording even before those commands are invoked. The video also addresses a theory that a static sound some people reportedly hear emitted from their phone means that they are being secretly recorded.

Fake App & Deep Fakes

As high-tech video editing software becomes increasingly accessible to the average user, it is easy to manufacture false videos of celebrities and anyone else. These can include fake news videos or forged celebrity sex tapes. The technology has evidently also led to numerous iterations of actor Nicolas Cage being inserted into video clips. 

California Wildfires

In the wake of the devastating Woolsey and Camp fires in California, Shane Dawson travels to several of the burn sites in Los Angeles County and reflects on the severity of these fires. After serious statements about these tragic disasters, Shane speculates wildly about the fires potentially being caused by the U.S. government, lasers, microwave explosions, and/or insurance fraudsters.

Subliminal Messages

This video highlights just how prevalent subliminal messages about sex, violence, consumerism, success, and more are interspersed throughout advertising and media including commercials, board games, nursery rhymes, cartoons, films, and more.

Whether viewers actually buy into these conspiracy theories or disregard them as clickbait mumbo jumbo, this 1 hour, 44-minute long video delivers on suspense, comedy, and footage of Shane Dawson walking around dramatically in his bathrobe.