Shane Edward Lee is a YouTube phenomenon. No-one quite knows what to make of him. He is a military veteran. He is a Christian. He is possibly, according to confessions made on his own videos, a paedophile. He is all of these things and (very possibly) none of these things. And, God help me, I spoke to him.
So how did you get to where you are today?
I was raised in the South, and experienced a little bit of everything both good and bad growing up. I am attempting to explain how it affected my psyche and why my mental illness may have developed. I was brought up religious, and had a religious experience after the death of my dad when I was 11 years old, and I had a religious dream about God, but I didn’t understand it so asked my Sunday School teacher what it might mean, but she didn’t help me to understand it, so I went on with my life, not worrying about it. Then I was reading about the two witnesses mentioned in the Book of Revelation, and heard a voice say “that’s you.”
I was then in a serious car accident, that I shouldn’t have walked away from, but did. Then a few years later I joined the military. Then the rest [Shane fell from a balcony, suffering serious injuries, while in the military. He has explained in his videos and written testimony on his website that he was trying to break back into his room – which he was locked out of – when he fell up to three stories] happened, and here I am today on disability.
You’re very open in your videos about your past, including talking about your medical records and your treatment by your pastor. What made you want to speak out on YouTube?
I believe in complete honesty, and not hiding my mistakes, or making excuses, though I believe that we can be influenced, and get confused about things, and that religious leaders sometimes add to that confusion, because they are confused about things, and don’t really understand Jesus’ message, which isn’t about overcoming your mistakes with Judgment, but overcoming them with Love.
How does your son feel about your YouTube fame?
My son knows about them, but doesn’t really go to my videos [and watch them], because he is a teenage boy growing up and doing other things.
Are you on the YouTube partners scheme, making money from each view of your videos?
No I am not, because my videos are to teach and help people to better deal with life.
You’re keen in your videos to explain to people that you have something wrong with your eye – that it blinks a lot. What happened to it? What’s the concern about it?
I have what is called a stigmatism, and vision loss in it greater than 20/200. Though my left eye sees normally, my right eye has the problem. [In his videos, Shane has acknowledged that his stigmatism is often misconstrued as a sexual come-on; winking at women.]
Further to a line in your song ‘Drop It’, why was it Michael Jackson’s right to have a monkey?
It’s everyone’s right to own a pet, but you have to treat it properly. Plus I was just taking a fact and making it part of the song.
Do you feel that he was misrepresented by the media?
I am not sure what to think about Jackson and the media: it seems too much like a circus sometimes, though I understand that he had a troubled childhood.
Is that media circus why you use YouTube? As a way of getting your voice out to the world without being hindered by the media or life?
I use YouTube because it gives people a chance to tell their side of the story.
What percentage of your YouTube personality is a real and what percentage is an act?
About 90 [% real]/10 [% fiction]. The only fiction is what I told happened with my stepdaughter [Shane spoke of a sexual encounter with his stepdaughter in an ambiguous way (saying that what he described ‘could have been a dream’)], which was really a point about child molestation and the mentally ill, and to point out that paedophilia is an illness.
Was that a dream or did it happen?
No, it was just an example of how to confess something difficult. What happened is I said on one of my blogs that I could have molested my step daughter, because of the schizophrenia, though I didn’t, and someone took it out of context, and started harassing me about it, so I told two different stories, including the one in the video. It is just an example of what I believe would have been the worst I could have done if the schizophrenia caused me to act that way.
Your favourited videos on Youtube have included a lot of sexual content (current ones include ‘Nice Rack Contest 2007’ and ‘Webcam Girl Sexxy’; past ones include ‘LEAKED SEX TAPE’ and ‘sexy japnees girl’). Why?
I think that the religious community shames us about sex…though I think monogamy is the best sex practice, I also understand that things don’t always work out, and love can let go and move on, and doesn’t have to force itself.
Have you ever contacted women through the internet? Has it ever led to a face-to-face meeting?
Yes I contacted a woman named Molly Z and she visited twice, but then we sort of went our separate ways, and she has met someone new.
Was she of legal age?
Yes, she was 23.
Can you explain what happened in the twin events which seem to have shaped your life – the car accident and falling several stories?
Well I am lucky to be alive, and not paralyzed, though I wasn’t told all the damage that occurred either, which could be a mild cover up, because it would be a true miracle from God, and I think that the world needs to hear about it to give them hope.
Do you believe in any other conspiracy theories? Which ones?
I think the government always keeps things from the public, but I also sort of understand as well. Like, if a giant meteor was hurtling towards the earth, would you want to know? And what could we do about it if it was?
Which war did you fight in? Did you see active service?
I entered into service at the start of the first Persian Gulf Conflict and War though quickly I became paranoid that by 1994 World War III or Armageddon would break out, and had problems functioning in the military until I heard voices again in 1993. When I told the Navy about it they discharged me for it. Though I didn’t actually go there during the war we were part of the clean up in Kuwait.
How long have you been claiming disability benefits?
What jobs did you do before the military?
I worked at Burger King, and different restaurants, and for the Roger Wood Packing Company that makes hot dogs and sausage.
Do you believe that veterans are given a fair shake in America and across the world?
I think in some cases they can be taken advantage of…some like myself may not have realized how damaged they were, and in a sense of honour tried to work before going on disability, and they often get screwed out of money.
What are your aims in creating these Youtube videos? Do you want to convert people to Christianity through them?
I want people to understand the message of Christianity is unconditional love, but people have lost sight of it, and started judging and condemning instead of helping Jesus to truly save us.
What’s your favourite cover you’ve performed on YouTube?
I kinda like them all, but my favourite is Knights in White Satin.
Do you have a higher calling in life, given your past? What is it?
I have a calling on my life to help people see the good and not the evil within their lives, we have to start seeing the truth, and doing the right thing.