Over the weekend, a 16-year-old TikTok user posted (now-deleted) videos accusing Beauty YouTuber James Charles of grooming, soliciting nude photographs from him despite knowing he was underage. Charles is 21. According to Us Weekly, the teen also said Charles “sent him sexually explicit messages and photos via Snapchat,” and that their conversations were “very sexual,” causing him discomfort.
Charles published a lengthy statement on Twitter, denying the allegations while claiming that the teen told Charles he was 18:
“There’s a video going around about me on TikTok and Twitter of a guy calling me a groomer and I want to address it right away. The accusation that I have groomed this person is completely false. Last week, I came across someone on my Instagram explore page, saw he followed me, and added him on snapchat. The next morning, I woke up to several snaps from this person being excited I added him back, saying he loved me, and also lewd photos of himself in the shower. I asked how old he was right away and he told me he was 18 so I started flirting back. In the excitement of meeting someone I thought could be potentially great, I didn’t ask for a copy of his ID or passport. It’s now clear, based on the video he uploaded, he was taking photos of me with another device, and had an ulterior motive from the beginning. Later in the day, he said a few things that made me question the validity of his original age answer and when I asked him to confirm his age once again, he admitted he was 16.”
Charles continued, saying he stopped flirting once he learned the boy was underage:
“I told him I was really uncomfortable and apologized for flirting, but he insisted on continuing talking, saying it could be our little secret, he’s a fine of mine and would never tell anyone. I told him I wasn’t okay with this, he started getting upset, and at this point, I unfriended him. We haven’t spoken since. I’m not victim blaming him or victimizing myself either, simply sharing what happened, and what happened was not okay. After false allegations like this in the past, I would never knowingly engage with anyone underage and put my life on the line for a few snapchats. Because of situations like this, instead of taking someone’s word for it, I now will ask to see the ID or passport of every guy I have a conversation with.”
Shouldn’t the onus be on recognizing his status as a famous/rich/powerful person and ensuring he doesn’t take advantage of his young fans, not just putting his own “life on the line”? And by “life,” he means “career,” right?
Anyway, according to Insider, the alleged accuser, who goes by Isaiyah on social media, responded to Charles’ statement on Twitter with, “James we both know I blocked you, you never asked for my age. After I told you I was 16 you proceeded to ask me for nudes and said it didn’t matter. You called me hot and said ‘I wish the timeline could speed up so you can be 18.’”
Charles has yet to respond to that comment.
James Charles has been accused of sending unsolicited nudes and pressuring men into sexual situations the past—first, in Tati Westbrook’s infamous “Bye Sister” vlog, published back in May 2019. Westbrook accused Charles of trying to seduce straight men and harassing them because he believed their “sexuality” doesn’t matter because he is “a celebrity.” In January 2021, as Vulture points out, a different straight man accused James Charles of similar behavior on TikTok, resulting in Charles commented on the deleted video, “You are so weird for this. An ‘exposé’ video because you’re mad I un-friended you after months of not talking after you told me you were straight… okay.” Hm.
Jezebel will update this story as it develops.