James Charles is a Predator. Period.

Youtuber leaves a trail of Underage Victims in his Wake. Predator Promises to “Do Better”

Mary Kelley, Scarlet Staff

Another beauty guru has been exposed as an alleged predator for the second time in his short career – James Charles. Though, this time around, all of the accusations have been brought forth by victims with actual evidence. In 2019, Charles was accused in a video that caused him to lose three million followers. While semi-successfully evading public disapproval then, it is unlikely he will be able to recover from this new round of accusations. Charles claims that his inappropriate actions were caused by the minors lying to the influencer about their age. In other instances, Charles claims that his accusers were lying that they even communicated with him at all. This defense is faulty and unlikely to be true, as the minors in question have released screen shots of their conversations with Charles, multiple of which include the minor’s disclosing their age and Charles explicitly acknowledging this information, but then proceeding with his sexually explicit actions. Even if Charles did not know the age of the minors involved, it is still a felony. Minors cannot consent, and even if they lie, are still the victim. 

Morphe, a popular makeup brand, has since begun to “wind-down” their longstanding collaboration with Charles. Youtube demonetized the creator’s content and announced that Charles would no longer host the Youtube original game show, Instant Influencers. Youtube could resume Charles’ monetization in the near future, but it is unlikely he will regain his status as a “recommended” account within the Youtube algorithm. 

On May 10th 2019, Tati Westbrook came out with a video titled “Bye Sister” wherein she spent a majority of the video criticizing James Charles’ predatory behavior, specifically citing times she witnessed him pressuring heterosexual men into inapropriate interactions. Westbrook received support from Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson, who similarly “called out” Charles. Charles lost the most followers in the shortest period of time in Youtube history –  over three million in less than 24 hours. After that video was uploaded, the alleged victim stood up for Charles and denied any inappropriate behavior. The Youtube community turned on Westbrook, accusing her of being too harsh on the then 19 year old Charles. Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star were later accused of orchestrating the entire “scandal” and Charles came out of the ordeal slowly regaining his popularity. Dawson and Star have since been “cancelled” for years of overlooked racist and overly sexual content. 

Since “Bye Sister,” Charles and Westbrook have rekindled their friendship. Westbrook blamed the video that nearly ruined Charles’ career on Dawson and Star’s manipulation, but since then more and more victims have come out against Charles. Charles has openly admitted to having inappropriate sexual interactions with two individuals under the age of 18 and he stated these crimes in yet another apology video for his 25 million followers. Yet, a 16 and 17 year old fan have both separately come forward since then with screenshots proving his continued grooming and sexual interactions with minors. Over ten teenagers have recently come forward. This boom of victims coming forwards is what led to Youtube demonetizing Charles’ account and Morphe severing ties with him. The language used in Morphe’s announcement was identical to a statement released by Charles’ team at the same time, appearing that Morphe and Charles collaborated on their response. Whether this was contractually obligated or a sign of a continued business relationship may never be publicly known. If Morphe does not take a more established stance away from Charles, it is likely they will lose more loyal customers. Morphe is still suffering from the close business relationship they had with Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson, still offering products from both of those “cancelled” creators, though not featured as predominantly on Morphe’s website. 

This so-called scandal is being brushed aside by most traditional newspapers and media forms referencing it as “Youtube Drama.” As if that makes the crimes committed less severe. Charles is preying on children through his platforms on various social media. His actions are not limited to “Youtube Drama,” but if his victims do not seek criminal charges, there is little to no legal ramifications for Charles. Youtube executives would have to permanently demonetize his account. Snapchat and Instagram would have to ban him or restrict his interactions with minors. These companies are well within their rights to remove Charles as a creator even without an ongoing criminal investigation. Companies like Morphe need to cut all ties with abusers like Charles, Star, and Dawson. It becomes the moral responsibility of these companies to limit Charles’ power and actively not support predators.