A fan is viral on TikTok after calling out YouTuber Kurtis Conner for platforming his best friend with a history of blackface.
In a video that has amassed more than 142,000 views, TikTok user @cbrenn (@coney_d0g) reveals that she is a fan of the popular YouTuber Kurtis Conner, who she describes as a progressive, feminist, and ally of social justice movements.
But @cbrenn is troubled by Conner’s relationship with his “best friend” Dean Hebscher. At the start of the video, cbrenn shows images of a person she identifies as Hebscher. “No your eyes do not deceive you,” cbrenn says. “Dean is white. As far as I can tell, he is not Black. And he is participating in the vile act of blackface.”
Blackface is the practice of non-Black folks painting their faces or using makeup to mock and deride blackness. The practice has roots in minstrel performances, which often featured white actors wearing blackface to portray stereotypes and exaggerate harmful perceptions of Black people.
The reason cbrenn is bringing up Hebscher’s history of blackface is because she says Conner has appeared with Hebscher on his channel. “He’s taken Dean on tour with him where Dean performs his own comedy sets, which I have heard are not funny,” cbrenn says.
She continues: “I’m bringing Kurtis up because the entire reason that Dean has a following at all – however small it may be compared to Kurtis – it’s because of Kurtis. He has platformed him multiple times, and, again, brought him on a tour with him.”
@coney_d0g TW. Tell your mom you love her each time i say “um” @kurtis conner @Dean Hebscher #kurtisconner #deanhebscher #fyp #greenscreen ♬ original sound – cbrenn
In an X post on Oct. 13, Hebscher acknowledged the photos. “As many of you already know, there are some photos that have resurfaced of me in blackface from a Halloween party in the year 2014,” Hebscher said in the video. “My intentions at the time were in the nature of trying to have the most authentic costume possible, but clearly I was displaying derogatory behavior and was incredibly uneducated. This is something I will regret for the rest of my life, because it was nothing but racist. Black people are not a novelty. They are not costumes. They are not characters. They are human beings.”
He said he wanted to do the video because “it’s only right. I’ve had so many lapses in judgment that have hurt so many people that have hurt so many people and left so many people offended.”
cbrenn shows some examples of those “lapses” in the form of X posts, which include sexist, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic language.
The TikToker then references a Reddit post from two years ago, in which a user asks, “Relationship w Dean Problematic?” In the comments, u/kurtisconner replied, “I’ve already addressed this a bunch of times but I’ll do it again because I would like to stick up for my friend. If he really was as bad as some people on the internet say he is then I would simply not be his friend, y’know? Also he did apologize tons of times and has grown a lot over the past few years and I’ve literally seen it firsthand. That whole situation a few years ago was full of weird stuff that went on behind the scenes and we’ve all just been trying to move on from it for years now. I understand your concern and I appreciate you but honestly if you don’t like the guy then just don’t watch his content it’s that easy.”
“I would love to never see Dean’s little face again, but, unfortunately Kurtis you did post videos with him and, again, you did bring him on your tour – giving him a platform,” cbrenn says.
cbrenn continues, “Kurtis Conner, his best friend, has defended him and continued to platform him. He has not said a thing on this. And I am willing to bet that his subscribers and followers would be disgusted if they knew that Kurtis was still associating with Dean.”
The TikToker notes that she considers herself a fan of Conner. “I am very disappointed that Kurtis has not said anything about this. I do think that he’s seen it, though, because the videos that he did have with Dean on his channel have since been deleted. It’s just discouraging seeing a creator that you believed had good values associate with someone like this and continue to associate with them. Through those tweets, through the blackface. They were friends through it. And Kurtis hasn’t said a thing on any of his platforms.”
She concludes: “Kurtis, you’re probably never going to see this. But as a fan I urge you to say something. Anything on any platform about this. Because you are the reason he has a following. You have platformed him. Just the fact that you are not saying anything is extremely disappointing considering what your personality is like in your videos. Do you actually believe all the things that you say Kurtis? Or is it just marketing to an audience that you know will eat it up? Because I’m not sure? I’m just disappointed.”
In the comments, users weighed in on the situation.
“I remember Dean getting exposed years like years ago and I’ve always wondered why everyone just forgot,” wrote on user.
Another user wrote, “I thought Kurtis deleted all the vids with Dean and didn’t collab with him anymore.”
A third user wrote, “I HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS FOR YEARS NO ONE HAS BEEN LISTENING TO ME.”
The Daily Dot reached out to cbrenn via TikTok direct message and Conner and Hebscher via email for comment.
Update Oct. 30, 3:20pm CT: This article has been updated with a definition of “blackface.”
Update Oct. 20, 4:09pm CT: “I am so surprised it got as big as it did, this is the first social media post I’ve had that’s gotten more than 50 likes lol. It feels surreal having so many people agreeing and thanking me for bringing this to light. I’m sad I had to share the news, but I am glad I could bring it to so many fans of Kurtis’ attention. It felt important to share,” @cbrenn told the Daily Dot.