Make no mistake — this is not James Charles‘ first time at the drama rodeo. The YouTuber has dealt with his fair share of controversy throughout the span of his four-year career, and the current falling out with former friend Tati Westbrook is just the latest in a long list. Allow us to bring you on a walk down memory lane and recount the 19-year-old’s most infamous scandals.
The former face of CoverGirl took to Twitter to make a joke that brought fans and followers crashing down on him with criticism. “‘I can’t believe we’re going to Africa today OMG what if we get Ebola.’ ‘James we’re fine we could’ve gotten it at chipotle last year,'” he wrote.
After the severe backlash, he resurfaced on the platform with a short apology tweet. “I am extremely sorry. Regardless of my intentions, words have consequences. I take full responsibility and will learn and do better,” he wrote, issuing a longer apology after where he explained that he “recognized” his privilege.
Back in September 2016, James went viral when he shared his high school graduation photos, revealing he had them retaken with a ring light so his highlight would be more visible. When he appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show in November 2016, he said that move helped him get CoverGirl’s attention and ultimately become a face for the brand.
But another beauty guru, Thomas Halbert, revealed to Twitter months later that his ex-friend had faked the whole “glow up” incident by releasing text messages that proved the YouTuber specifically set out to lie about the very thing that got him recognition in the first place. Instead, Thomas claimed James actually edited his photo to make his highlight really pop.
Lmao James Charles is racist,his makeup looks are basic and edited,and his whole come up was a scam ..he basically got discovered from a lie pic.twitter.com/GgqOL5eN6n
— HOOD VOGUE (@itskeyon) March 1, 2017
James had a falling out with Makeup Geek founder Marlena Stell after a feud relating to a Netflix project Marlena was working on that would go behind the scenes in the beauty industry. James angrily took to Twitter, where he got mouthy because he had a similar idea. “This woman knows nothing about the industry other than blaming her bad business decisions and personal issues on influencers. @Netflix This is absurd & I’d love to get in a room together to show you the non-bias outline I’ve already made on this subject that documents all sides,” he wrote at the time.
In a video with YouTuber Jeff Witteck, James explained the Kinsey Scale to him and revealed he considered himself a 5.5. “So you’re not even full gay,” his friend commented, to which James explained there have “been girls in the past who I’ve thought were very, very beautiful. There’s also been trans guys in the past, too, that I was really, really into for a moment in time.”
That comment didn’t sit well with the trans community, who claimed the comment was a very exclusionary way of looking at things and chided James for missing an opportunity to educate himself on sexual fluidity.
Former BFF Tati, 37, posted a video titled “Bye Sister,” where she claimed that James intentionally embarrassed her and her business via a collab with a competing brand and also revealed that the guru had engaged in predatory behaviors. She alleged he was “manipulating people’s sexuality” by pursuing straight men and “using fame, power and money to play with people’s emotions.”
As a result, James’ subscriber count dropped by over one million in less than 24 hours, and by over three million over the course of the following days, while Tati’s increased by over four million in the same time frame. In his subsequent apology video, titled “Tati,” he apologized to her, her husband and fans for his behaviors.