Last month, Tik Tok teenagers, influencers, and sisters Charli D’Amelio and Dixie D’Amelio went viral for all the wrong reasons: in an episode of “Dinner With The D’Amelios” on the D’Amelio family’s YouTube channel, the D’Amelio’s personal chef Aaron May served paella valenciana with snails, which inspired the daughters to pretend to gag. (Dixie actually ran off to throw up, and Charli asked if she can have dino nuggets instead. James Charles was also there, and he was fine.) Naturally, fans were pissed by the girls’ ignorant reactions, which escalated in a later scene when Charli lamented not breaking 100 million TikTok followers in the year since she hit one million. “Ninety-five million not enough for you?,” Charles retorted. Audiences simply hate spoiled brats, but they love rich teenagers—social media celebrity is an intricate dance. Some assumed their careers were over, because Charli lost one million followers despite having 90+ million followers. Gossip channels had a field day.
And so, a few weeks later, James Charles came to the rescue.
Of course, the chef/cooking kerfuffle didn’t actually topple the D’Amelios’ throne—only the cessation of all social media could do that, in the present moment, and because cancel culture doesn’t exist. But it did enrage viewers enough to inspire another sit down between Dixie and James Charles, himself no stranger to online controversy. (And to be fair, it was probably a welcome change for him—he wasn’t the catalyst of the drama, and that’s such a nice place to be in!) In an episode of “The Dixie D’Amelio Show,” Charles offered some explanation for the gross behavior of the clip. “The whole thing definitely got taken way out of proportion. I can see why, however, from the public’s perspective, why it turned into what it did. But I don’t think that the reaction should’ve been as harsh,” he says, without missing a beat. “The situation... with the whole followers thing was an innocent joke... And your situation with the snails. I don’t care if Gordon Ramsey puts a snail in front of me, I’m not eating it.”
“What people don’t know with reality television—I hate to break it to you—it’s scripted. It’s planned. You have a story board. Nobody’s going to watch it if its boring, hello! The team was behind the camera telling Dixie to try the snail. She ate the snail, didn’t like the snail, and therefore threw up the snail. And obviously your team was in control of the edit... But that was kept in the video because everyone genuinely thought it was funny.”
And everyone was wrong!
Charles has a way of squashing controversy—I think it is because he speaks a mile a minute so that no one else can get a word in—but also because he painted their behavior and the fallout as “a learning lesson.” I’m not sure it will be. At the very least, if this is the last I have to hear about two rich, white American teenagers scoffing at food that originates from a culture not their own, I’m happy!