James Charles is still dealing with the fallout from his very public feud with former friend and YouTuber Tati Westbrook
More than six months after YouTube beauty guru James Charles faced intense internet scrutiny after a vicious feud with former friend and fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook, the 20-year-old star admits that he still doesn’t feel quite like himself.
Charles, who previously admitted the scandal severely impacted his mental health, opened up about the the place he’s at now in a new candid interview with Paper magazine. “I’m not mentally in a place where I want to be. What’s even harder to swallow is that it’s been six months since all the drama happened,” the star said.
He added, “I thought by this time I’d be completely good — back to normal, if you will — and that’s not the case.”
In a lengthy video (that has since been deleted), Westbrook accused Charles of betraying and spreading lies about her, making negative comments about other beauty influencers and allegedly sexually harassing straight men. Quickly after Westbrook’s tell-all, Charles lost nearly 3 million subscribers, dropping from 16.5 million subscribers to 13.8 million in just three days, while critics kept the hashtag #JamesCharlesIsCancelled trending on social media. He’s since regained nearly all his followers, and is back up to over 16 million YouTube subscribers.
“We’re quickly getting to a point where cyberbullying, hating and cancel culture is getting stronger,” Charles told Paper. “I can say firsthand, they got to me. I was so grateful to be surrounded by close friends and family that were checking on me all day long, every single day, in the middle of the night, every 10 minutes to make sure I didn’t do something that I could never take back.”
At the time of their feud, Charles fired back at Westbrook’s video in a more in-depth video of his own titled “No More Lies” where he shut down all her sexual harassment allegations. He also clarified the situation in his new interview with Paper.
“The reality is that the ‘hook-up’ that was being discussed was completely consensual. It was with a boy who told me that he was bisexual and later on told the world he was bisexual. Therefore there’s nothing wrong with that,” Charles said.
He continued by noting that such allegations have a harmful effect on the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.
“What that statement implies is that gay men are all predatory, which is disgusting, not true and very dangerous to put out there,” Charles said. “The whole situation was scary for the LGBTQ+ community and paints a really bad picture of gay men.”
The drama with Westbrook was first sparked by a sponsored advertisement that Charles posted from Coachella for Sugar Bear Hair vitamins, a competitor to Westbrook’s own supplement brand, Halo Beauty. In her immediate response, which was shared on Instagram, Westbrook said she felt “betrayed” and “lost,” without naming Charles directly.
In her original video, Westbrook claimed that Charles did not reach out to her before posting the advertisement and that he had been untruthful about how long he had been in talks with the brand to make the sponsored post.
Pulling up receipts of their text messages, in his latest video Charles alleged that Westbrook’s claims were untruthful.
“Despite what Tati said in her video, this whole situation was not a big scheme that was orchestrated beforehand. It really did happen on the spot,” he said, claiming that he had reached out to the brand after feeling concerned for his safety at Coachella, as he remembered the brand had recently provided security for another one of his friends at the festival.
Then as the feud escalated, Westbrook deleted her original take-down and explained that she was ready to move on from the drama — and urged her fans to do the same.
“I have been in contact with James Charles through an intermediary over the last week, and we believe that it is the best interest of our community, our viewers and our own mental health to put this matter to a rest,” she began the lengthy note she shared on Twitter. “For that reason, I will not be making any further public comments and I hope and pray that no one else will make anymore hurtful statements on my behalf.”
“In my original video, I felt the need to publicly breakup with James with a warning call loud enough for him to hear,” she continued. “I was attempting to explain my upset and concerns so that everyone would understand my position and end the speculation that it was all over vitamins.”