It began when his mentor, beauty expert Tati Westbrook who fostered his career, called the millionaire influencer out in a 43 minute long video.
?Never bite the hand that feeds you? is the old adage and it certainly applies here. Two years ago, a 17 year old James Charles reached out on social media to Youtube Star and entrepreneur Tati Westbrook. According to Westbrook, Charles idolized her and implied his desire to follow in her footsteps. She took the young man under her wing, counseled him, negotiated contracts for him, optimized his youtube channel to maximize his profits and introduced him to other influencers to give him more clout. Beyond that, Westbrook says she took on a maternal role as well, seeing Charles as a son. She alleges their relationship was not transactional and she expected nothing in return from the budding make-up guru.
She explains in her video that she watched with pride as James Charles career soared. His Youtube subscriptions reached over 16 million followers and he was inking million dollar deals with sponsors around the world. He commanded large sums of money for personal appearances and endorsements and established his own brand of make-up that he marketed to his throngs of fans. By 19 years old, he was a multi-millionaire and bonafide celebrity. Most recently, he attended the elite Met Gala in New York City, allegedly as a representative for YouTube. This is the first year the Met Gala included popular influencers on their list of invitees.
James Charles was on top of the world, but soon it would all come crumbling down when he decided to betray Westbrook, the very woman who had coached him to his status, and aligned himself with her competitor. It was then that Westbrook published a video that gave disturbing in-depth details on her friendship with James Charles, characterizing him as an opportunist who used her and her family as a wrung on the ladder of success- but even worse- as a sexual predator who routinely targeted straight identifying men and sexually harassed them both in public and in private. When confronted about his behavior, Charles told Westbrook ?I can do this because I?m a celebrity!?
In the aftermath of Westbrook?s lengthy tell-all, James Charles subscribers- which he affectionately dubbed ?Sisters? began unsubscribing in record numbers. As of this writing, he holds the number one spot on Social Blade for number of subscribers lost in 24 hours.
And then it got worse for Charles, who released a tepid, 8 minute apology video to assert some damage control, when men started coming forward with stories about their own disturbing encounter with James Charles- including the boyfriend of pop musician Zara Larsson who alleges that Charles attempted to come onto her boyfriend knowing that they were in a committed relationship and that Larsson?s boyfriend was straight.
As his subscriber numbers plummeted, other men, emboldened by Westbrook?s lead, began detailing their uncomfortable encounters with the YouTube Sensation.
How did James Charles respond? In private, threatening lawsuits against at least one individual accuser, and claiming that in the referenced incident, his victim did not resist despite insisting he was straight, thus Charles perceived the Man?s not struggling or screaming as ?Consent.? Charles explained he ?Got a vibe he was bi-curious,? and thus pursued a sexual encounter anyway.
This is the very pattern of behavior that Tatianna Westbrook outlined in her video and attempted to discourage claiming she found his treatment of straight men inappropriate.
In the past, in tweets that obviously didn?t age well, James Charles openly bragged about his relentless pursuit of straight men which led members of his high school to start calling him out as well, alleging he would pretend to be a female to solicit explicit photos of male students.
James himself has posted about his adoration of straight identifying males.
He has called the sexual pursuit of straight men a ?challenge? in previous videos demonstrating a lack of respect for straight sexuality.
Unusually, Tati Westbrook?s video, which had been trending at #1 on Youtube?s page, suddenly vanished from the trending list as allegations against Charles escalated. While Youtube has not indicated why they would remove Westbrook?s video from circulation, some have speculated it is likely because, just last month, YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, met with James Charles to discuss potential partnerships.
James Charles, at 19, has done gay men- who are already a huge target by Red Hat wearing Trump Supporters- a dangerous disservice. His behavior reflects poorly on the entire LGBT community, and in the hostile climate we are thriving in as a disenfranchised minority, the last thing we needed was a gay men preying upon straight men. You can be certain that conservatives will leverage this and attempt to use it to their advantage.
Despite all of this, Charles still has his supporters, and as of this writing, his partnerships with companies including Cover Girl, Sugar Bear Hair Vitamins and his own line of eyeshadow pallets by Morphe.