Beauty vlogger James Charles recently reached 16 million subscribers on YouTube. A few days later, those numbers dropped to 13 million after his mentor, Tati Westbrook, exposed his misconduct.
Tati's 40-minute video, "BYE SISTER," talks about her massive falling out with James.
They have been friends for over two years-to the point that Tati and her husband considered him family and helped him with his business contracts. Not gonna lie, I personally believe Tati gave him his big start at 17 when she asked him to do her wedding makeup.
In the first part of the video, Tati decided to clear the air about James' Sugar Bear Hair Instagram #ad. The supplement brand is the direct competitor of Tati's Halo Beauty. Since its launch, Tati never paid influencers to endorse her brand on social media-unlike SBH which has a pool of high-profile personalities.
James' first SBH #ad was a slap in the face for Tati. 1) Because James swore loyalty to Tati. 2) He refused a Halo sponsorship because he has a younger demographic, but decided to promote SBH gummy sleeping pills to the same audience. 3) He also claimed it wasn't paid, and he only did it as a favour to the brand for giving him Coachella security.
We understand Tati's dismay. However, there are people who think this issue is just "vitamin-related." As she mentioned in the video: "There are layers."
WHAT'S THE REAL DEAL WITH JAMES CHARLES?
Before the whole Tati Westbrook expose, James has had his fair share of controversies. The most recent involved his overpriced tour tickets, and his tweets about getting with straight men. The latter was confirmed by Tati. According to her, James has explicitly said, "Everyone is a little gay." He also claimed he's allowed to do sexual acts to a straight male waiter during Tati's birthday dinner because he's "a celebrity."
Jeffree Star, who was also present at the dinner, addressed this in a now-deleted tweet. "There is a reason that Nathan (Jeffree's boyfriend) banned James Charles from ever coming over to our home again. There's a reason why I haven't seen him since [Tati's] birthday in February. He is a danger to society," he said.
Some of James' old schoolmates in high school also alleged that he used to catfish sports teams. He would pretend to be a girl so he could solicit d*ck pics from straight guys. He also allegedly has a verified Tinder account where he's listed as "Female."
There's a lot to unpack in this situation. Firstly, James Charles or any other person has no right to break someone's sexuality. James has no right to "turn" a straight man gay. Even if they were closeted or curious, no one has the right to sexually harass them into coming out.
Last month, model Gage Gomez claimed that James tried to manipulate him into getting romantic. This is despite Gage's insistence that he's straight and not into experimenting with the same sex. The two were also rumored to be dating during Coachella, and James accused the model of using him for clout.
This behaviour is no different from straight guys trying to convince lesbians to date them-it's fetishism. In James' apology video to Tati, he didn't apologise for going after these men. Instead, he said he shouldn't have spoken about his preferences so publicly. But this isn't just about preference, it's about ignoring boundaries and forcing someone to turn gay.
The issue also doesn't give straights a pass to throw homophobic slurs at James or any gay and bisexual man. The accusations against the vlogger are bordering on sexual predation and harassment. It doesn't matter if he's gay, straight, bisexual, or transgender-sexual misconduct is never excusable.
So, no, this isn't just a feud about beauty supplements or Tati trying to drag James into the mud because he endorsed Sugar Bear Hair. It's disappointing to see people like top YouTuber Pewdiepie try to simplify the matter, completely forgetting the harassment part.
Based on all the claims and accusations, it's pretty clear what fame and money can do if you don't have the right support system. It's also evident that he might not take accountability anytime soon since he only directed his apology video to Tati, not the other people who were affected by his actions.
Since James got his start at 17, his audience's age range from teens to pre-teens. So, ask yourself: Is this someone you want impressionable young people to look up to?