James Charles and Tati Westbrook’s falling out


PHOTO CREDS TO www.revelist.com This is a side-by-side comparison of images from their two videos.

Grace Humphries, Staff Reporter

Over the last couple years, internet personality James Charles has rose to online fame. He primarily makes makeup tutorials on YouTube, but he has also become a big influencer on social media. He clicked with a lot of his fans, making content that was “relatable” and “fun”. Though recently, Charles’ internet empire has come crashing down since his former best friend and mentor, Tati Westbrook, spoke out about ways James has betrayed her trust and behaved inappropriately when the camera isn’t rolling. The video was titled “BYE SISTER”, and it was over 43 minutes long.

“This is absolutely not a video I thought I’d be making in a million years,” said Tati in the intro to her video.

She covered a number of topics, addressing things such as James manipulating straight men into thinking they’re gay with his money and fame.

“Oh my God, you tried to trick a straight man into thinking he’s gay yet again, and somehow you’re the victim. You know, it’s really disgusting to manipulate someone’s sexuality, especially when they are still emerging into adulthood… You are using your fame, your power, your money to play with people’s emotions. You’re threatening to ruin them, you’re threatening to embarrass them, and you’re using that to have them behave sexually in your favor even if they’re straight, and you know what? That’s not okay, that behavior is not okay,” she said, directing it at Charles.

“You were talking in detail about things you wanted to do to the waiter. And when I said ‘James, he’s straight’, your response was ‘Doesn’t matter, I’m a celebrity.’ So. Freaking. Gross. And you said that in front of my family. In front of my childhood friends.”

“Cracking someone’s sexuality is not an escape room, this is sh*t that will follow them for the rest of their lives.”

She also mentioned Charles’ sponsored post for vitamin brand Sugar Bear Hair, which is Westbrook’s #1 competitor to her brand Halo Beauty. He posted it, then told her about it after.

“So when you pair up with my #1 competitor, it’s embarrassing to me. Is it gonna crush my business? No. But it’s embarrassing, and you know that because of things I’ve had to deal with in the past. And if you don’t have my back, at least have your subscribers’ back,” said Westbrook.

When she heard about it, she was hurt and felt betrayed. She had even offered James sponsors for her brand if he wanted the money. She explained that everything she did for James was not for her benefit, but for his. She took on a motherly role to him, helping him get his footing within the beauty community without asking for anything in return.

“My relationship with James Charles is not transactional. I have not asked him for a penny, I have never been on his Instagram,” she said.

When the whole situation occurred, she tried to handle it by talking to Charles face-to-face, but her prodigy, her friend, betrayed her yet again.

“I knew that I needed to talk to James, and I was planning on hopping in my car and sitting down with him, but I changed my mind very very quickly when I found out that he had been giving his side to drama channels. He had been in contact with plenty of them. I immediately knew that this was all about damage control and had little to do with his care for me, because I just don’t think that he does,” said Westbrook.

After the video came out, the aftermath was disastrous for James. He became the first YouTuber to lose over a million subscribers in 24 hours, and the numbers continue to drop. That same day, James made a response video, apologizing to Tati and her family and to his fans. He wore no makeup and had on relaxed clothing. He spoke quietly and solemnly, getting emotional and tearing up throughout the eight-minute video.

First, he talked about Westbrook and the friendship they had.

“Tati very quickly took on a parental role with me,” said Charles.

“And through all of this, what sucks the most is that I know there’s nothing I can say or do to ever earn that friendship or trust back, but I don’t blame them for it… They’ve been very loyal to me and I betrayed that.”

He also addressed the issue of him manipulating straight men for his own benefit, something that made Westbrook (as well as her friends and family) very uncomfortable and worried.

“I’ve learned the hard way about ways that I can interact with boys that I’m interested in, and also ones that I should or shouldn’t be talking to,” Charles explained.

The overall message of his video was that he still has lots of growing to do, and that he was deeply sorry for everything that had happened, and that he would use this as a learning experience for the future.

Regardless of his apology, there is still a lot of backlash on social media, which isn’t surprising. Though some of his fans that are standing by his side defending him, many people refuse to follow him on any kind of social media and will no longer watch his content. This may cause him to lose his deal with Morphe for his eye-shadow palette, and it will most likely affect his worldwide meet-and-greet tour.