Somehow it has been less than a week since Beauty YouTube exploded over the kerfuffle surrounding influencers James Charles and Tati Westbrook. In that time, Westbrook has nearly doubled her subscriber count (5.9 million to 10 million at time of publishing this blog) and Charles has bled out 3 million (16.5 to 13.4 million.) According to various pop culture-savvy sites, that’s not all he’s lost.
If you have no idea what any of this is about, I’ve written a handy explainer. If you don’t have time to read it because you’d rather your updates be piping hot and current, here’s the abridged: Westbrook was a mentor to Charles when he got his start in the beauty guru YouTube community three short years ago, at age 16. In the time since, she’s apparently, quietly, felt betrayed by him on multiple occasions. This all came to a head when he promoted Sugar Bear Hair vitamins at Coachella, the direct competitor of her main business, the supplement company Halo Beauty. (He said he needed the deal last minute because they provided him security and he was overwhelmed at the festival.) She posted a 43-minute long vlog explaining all of that drama, and concluded by saying Charles is wildly inappropriate and often disregards straight men’s sexuality while attempting to seduce them. Charles posted a short video apology in response, just seven hours later.
It’s dramatic and petty as all hell, and many, many other players in the YouTube community have come out to show their support for Westbrook (like Jeffree Star, who called Charles a “danger to society.”) Conversely, very, very few have backed Charles (noted anti-semite PewDiePie, Star-haters/makeup artists Gabriel Zamora and Nikita Dragun might be the extent of the list.)
So what’s the latest? Allow me to break it down.
Nikita Dragun attempted to verify Charles’ Coachella/Sugar Bear Hair story by posting screenshots of their text conversations. He allegedly told her, “I’m in vip and am getting attacked.”
I thought there was, like, no service at Coachella? How are they communicating?
According to Cosmopolitan, Tea Spill, a YouTube drama channel (a channel that specializes in social media celebrity gossip) said Charles reached out to them with, “so I was getting mobbed like crazy and the SugarBear team heard about it from a few influencers that were there and they texted me and were like hey James we have an extra artist and safari pass for you and a friend if you need to get backstage.”
Tea Spill also shared DMs from Charles in which he says Sugar Bear Hair asked him to post on his Instagram Story, whereas in the Dragun interaction, it was clearly stated as his idea. That’s sketchy...
...I guess? None of this actually matters.
James Charles’s merch store, Sister Apparel, has been taken offline... rumored to be because of its connection to Jeffree Star.
As BuzzFeed reported on Tuesday, Charles’s web-store has been showing an “under construction” notice for at least two days, though the Instagram page is still up and running. Many of the comments on the most recent post, however, are from former fans asking to cancel their pending orders.
Also according to BuzzFeed, Jeffree Star owns Killer Merch, the distribution company that services Sisters Apparel. It’s currently unknown if there is any connection, but it’s fishy nonetheless.
I love a conspiracy, and so does YouTube.
James Charles is still planning on going forward with his extremely expensive, 24-date, North American tour, TMZ reports.
Tickets range from $100 to $500 for VIP access, whatever that means. It’s also unclear what he actually does at these events? I think he does a makeup tutorial and then maybe sings? He loves to sing? He can’t sing.
See you on the road, sister.