If you’re familiar with the YouTube beauty community, or really are online at all, chances are you’ve heard about the recent controversy that James Charles was involved in. James Charles is a 19-year-old makeup mogul that has made quite a name for himself using the platform, accumulated millions of followers on social media, and drawn in high-profile endorsement deals from a number of big name companies.
However, just last week, it looked like he could be losing everything all because of an online feud that revealed some of his behavioral flaws, according to Entertainment Tonight.
It all started with an advertiser for a vitamin brand, of all things. While at the Coachella Music Festival, Charles posted a promotional video to his Instagram story in which he endorsed the supplement brand Sugar Bear Hair. Fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook has been friends with Charles since well before he found online success and has claimed to have done everything in her power throughout the years to help him achieve online fame. Westbrook has her own supplement brand called Halo Beauty.
When she viewed Charles’s endorsement of one of her competitors, she viewed it as a complete betrayal. She posted a lengthy video to YouTube in which she explained why she would be severing ties with Charles and exposed some of his alleged character flaws.
ok so I just posted this pic on IG but I wanted to post it here too & say I’m SO excited about my photography progress?! I took this myself & retouched it too and I’m really proud!! honest feedback & constructive criticism is welcome ☺️ pic.twitter.com/yqtHYl4cse— James Charles (@jamescharles) May 27, 2019
In the video, Westbrook accuses Charles not only of not showing loyalty to those who helped him start his career, but of far worse things. She accused him of behaving inappropriately toward straight men by hitting on them while ignoring their sexual orientation. The video changed many people’s opinions of the influencer and caused him to lose millions of subscribers.
A week after the incident, Charles returned to YouTube and apologized for the mistakes he’s made in the past. He also defended himself against some of Westbrook’s accusations, but admitted there’s certainly been situations in the past he should have handled better.
Fellow YouTuber Joey Graceffa recently spoke out about the incident and expressed his relief that the controversy didn’t intensify any further and cause a threat to Charles’s mental health.
“I mean, what he went through is something that no human should ever have to experience, like, that level of intensity. It’s surprising that he didn’t like, kill himself. And I feel like it’s going to get to that point where someone who isn’t as strong as James is going to get to the point where they believe what people are saying.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.