Another day, another drama in the YouTube beauty community
It seems every other day the YouTube beauty community has a new drama unfold and spill out onto the world stage that is the Internet: Laura Lee’s racist tweets of 2012 that came to light as a result of a beef with Jeffree Star; Jeffree Star’s beef with Kylie Jenner; Jeffree Star’s beef with Kat Von D (again); Jeffree Star’s beef with Jackie Aina; and, in a strange twist of events, Jeffree Star’s reconciliation with NikkieTutorials (*miracles do happen*) - and that was just all in the last year!
So, when Tati Westbrook – one of the YouTube community’s most-trusted beauty gurus thanks to her unwavering honesty when it comes to reviewing products – posted a 40-minute-long video to her YouTube channel titled ‘BYE SISTER …’, in which she detailed her heartbreak over fellow YouTuber and close personal friend James Charles endorsing Sleep Vitamins by SugarBearHair (competitors to her own beauty supplement company Halo Beauty), the online beauty community subsequently exploded into a rage.
Since it was posted on Friday, the video has racked up over 30 million views and garnered the attention of news outlets all over the world.
The incident in question occurred back in April, when James was at Coachella and he posted the video endorsing the Sleep Vitamins to his Instagram. Following this, Tati posted a vague video to her own Instagram detailing how she felt “lost” and “betrayed” by some unnamed person.
Following this, James, somewhat uncharacteristically, accepted the blame immediately, following the cryptic video with a statement posted to his Instagram that read: “I want to publicly apologize to my close friend, Tati. She has been like a mother to me since my first days in this industry and has given me more love, support, resources and advice than I could ever ask for.”
James went on to explain why he had chosen to publicly endorse SugarBearHair on his Instagram during Coachella, saying: ““This weekend I did an Instagram story for sleep vitamins that I’ve been taking because the brand helped me with security when the crowd around me at Coachella became unsafe, I did not accept any money from this post.”
So, back to that viral video of Tati’s….
Tati explained her issue with James was not only a result of his endorsement of a competitor’s brand, but because of James’ ongoing behavioural issues that Tati and her husband were having to deal with and subsequently apologise for, including saying mean things about other beauty influencers and sexually harassing un-interested men.
James responded on Saturday with a video of his own and has accumulated over 30 million views since posting, apologising to Tati and her husband for his behaviour: “I hate knowing that I disappointed not only (my fans), but two people that have been role models for me doing this. What sucks the most is that I know there’s nothing I can say or do to ever earn that friendship or trust back, but I don’t blame them for it.”
He also issued an apology for the way he has spoken about other people on his social media: “A lot of the time when I’ve had to address things in the past, I’ve acted out of impulse and I’ve gone off and tried to pull receipts or facts or screenshots and play the victim and I’m not doing that today, I’m not. That is all I have to say, I’m sorry.”
While beauty lovers everywhere were a little surprised by his response - James has a history of clapping back at haters with a barrage of Twitter rants and venting on his YouTube channel – his attempt to make nice did little to quell the fire that had been lit under the online beauty community.
At the time of writing this article, James has lost three million of his YouTube subscribers and counting.
Tati took to Twitter on Sunday to apologise to fans about her absence from her channel in the wake of the drama, saying: "There won't be a video tomorrow. My heart is still too heavy."
James Charles officially made his rebuttal to the accusations that were made regarding the untoward behaviour that Tati had described in her original Bye Sister exposé with a video of his own on Saturday. The 41-minute-long video in question, titled No More Lies details James' side of the story in true James Charles fashion; we're talking receipts people and there's a lot of them. In the video James explains his reasoning behind choosing to release the video in the first place, saying“I will not ask for sympathy and I will definitely not ask for forgiveness either, but I will ask that you watch this entire thing all the way through before forming any further opinions or talking about this story more."
He then goes on to detail the ways in which Tati's video failed to explain the full story behind their falling out, explicitly stating, "It is very important to me that this video has all the information, all the facts, all the receipts, and is current and present because I will not be addressing it again."
James explains that although Tati has accused him of entering into a contract with SugarBearHair while at Coachella, it was in fact a deal that was struck on the spot. He shows texts that seem to corroborate this information in the video as well as a text chain with Tati herself, in which James gives Tati a heads up about the sponsorship deal. *awks*
Probably the most shocking revelation to come from James' tell-all though is his version of events of his supposed sexual harassment of a straight male guest at Tati's birthday party in Seattle.
"I am a 19-year-old virgin … I really don’t get a lot of action … I have never, and would never, and will never use my fame, money, or power to manipulate or get any sexual actions from a guy. That is disgusting."
As usual the Internet has come out in full force to revel in the misery of others and people have been taking to social media to express their take on the feud.
Surprisingly, even celebrities have been getting in on the drama with Katy Perry liking one Twitter user’s shade tweet:
Can’t get enough of the weird and wonderful things beauty vloggers do? Watch this YouTuber curl her hair with Cheetos!
Drama and all, who is your favourite beauty influencer? Let us know in the comments below.
Main Image Credit:@jamescharles
Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.