A lot of drama went down this weekend. There was that shocking Game of Thrones episode (no spoilers!), the end of Veep, and a beauty YouTuber feud to end all feuds. Yes, I’m talking about the James Charles/Tati Westbrook drama that blew up this weekend. You don’t have to be a YouTube-obsessed teen or even a beauty junkie to be enthralled with this feud that feels so juicy, it could have been created by Kris Jenner for TV ratings. But instead, it’s playing out IRL right on YouTube dot com. Since it feels like something new happens every hour, here’s a CliffNotes version of what all went down.
Back in April, Charles posted an ad for Sugar Bear Hair supplements to his Instagram story. The 19-year-old influencer’s former mentor and friend, fellow beauty YouTuber Tati Westbrook, took offense to the post. You see, she has a competing brand of supplements called Halo Beauty, which Charles has posted about in the past. She said she felt betrayed and accused him of not being supportive. He posted an apology to his Instagram story. According to Buzzfeed, it read:
“I want to publicly apologize to my close friend, Tati. She has been like a mother to me since my first days in this industry and has given me more love, support, resources and advice than I could ever ask for. This weekend I did an Instagram Story for sleep vitamins that I’ve been taking because the brand helped me with security when the crowd around me at Coachella became unsafe. I did not accept any money from this post.”
If you think this is just about hair supplements, you’d be mistaken. On May 4, another beauty influencer, Gabriel Zamora, jumped in, seemingly on Charles’ side. In the below video, he calls Westbrook “fraudulent” and says there are videos “being made where James is being made out to be this horrible human being and I’m just confused as to what happened.”
That’s what possibly prompted Westbrook to make her own video on May 10, a 43-minute tell-all in which she explains her feelings behind Charles’ “betrayal,” as well as drops some serious tea. She claims Charles has sexually harassed men who weren’t interested in him, even going so far as to “trick a straight man into thinking he’s gay” by “manipulating [his] sexuality, especially when they are still emerging into adulthood and don’t quite have everything figured out.” She claims Charles is using his “fame, power and money in order to play with people’s emotions.” She continues: “You’re threatening to ruin them, you’re threatening to embarrass them, and you’re doing it to have them behave sexually in your favor.”
The video currently has almost 40 million views.
One day later, Charles posted an apology video to Westbrook that now has almost 36 million views. “A lot of the time when I’ve had to address things in the past, I’ve acted out of impulse and I’ve gone off and tried to pull receipts or facts or screenshots and play the victim and I’m not doing that today, I’m not,” he says. “That is all I have to say, I’m sorry.”
Phew. Are you tired? I’m tired. And it just keeps going. Jeffree Star jumped in on Twitter, calling Charles a “danger to society”, in a since-deleted tweet, and YouTuber Zara Larsson claimed Charles DM’d her boyfriend “several times knowing damn well he’s straight.” This tweet has also been deleted but screenshots live forever. This all prompted more than one meme about all your problematic faves.
Now everyone is watching Charles’ YouTube subscriber count go down while Westbrook’s goes up. But TBH, it feels like no one wins here.
According to Cosmopolitan UK, celebrities are unfollowing Charles left and right. These allegedly include the Kardashian-Jenner fam, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato.
There’s no way we’ve heard the last of this latest beauty YouTuber drama so we’ll update you when another must-see video comes our way.