Over the weekend, YouTuber James Charles came under fire when his former friend, makeup artist and Halo Beauty founder Tati Westbrook, spilled major tea about the beauty influencer. In her video, Westbrook details how she was hurt when Charles promoted SugarBear Hair vitamins (a direct competitor of her own vitamin line) on Instagram, an action Charles apologised for on Instagram previously. However, Westbrook had more to say about Charles: She specifically called out the young star for alleged sexual misconduct (Charles denied this in a video, but said "I have learned the hard way about boys that I am interested in, and also ones that I should or shouldn't be talking to.") It was this accusation that really angered fans, and led to Charles losing millions of subscribers, including celebrities like the Kardashians and Ariana Grande.
The drama with Charles and Westbrook may be the most recent YouTuber drama, but it's just one situation in a long list of scandals. Here are some other famous YouTubers who came under fire.
The OG scandal that stemmed from YouTube's early days, in 2006. Lonelygirl15 started out as a simple vlogging account, where an allegedly 16-year-old girl, "Bree," documented her days and shared some details about her life with her friends and religious parents. Eventually, however, the videos got stranger and stranger, and fans of the channel became concerned that their internet friend Bree was involved in some sort of a cult. Bree was — but neither she nor the cult were actually real.
After online sleuths discovered that emails sent from the Lonelygirl15 account were actually sent from Creative Artists Agency, it was revealed that Lonelygirl15 was merely a fictionalised web series that purported to be the real deal — like a YouTube version of The Blair Witch Project. Actress Jessica Lee Rose, who would go on to appear in the series Greek, was "Bree." Though some fans were angry they were fooled, the series continued until 2008 and expanded its mystery after the death of its titular character.
Nicole Arbour's "Dear Fat People" Video
In 2015, YouTuber Arbour posted a video titled "Dear Fat People," in which she ranted about fat people and called them everything from lazy to smelly, all in the name of "comedy." This wasn't Arbour's first or only controversial video — she also posted one in which she slut-shamed Instagram models and a more recent video in which she criticised religion — but it did stir up significant controversy when stars like Ashley Graham and Tess Holiday clapped back at the insensitive comments.
In 2016, fans became concerned that London-based YouTuber Marina Joyce was in trouble when they noticed bruising on her body and other alleged signs that she needed help. However, police checked on Joyce and found her to be safe and well.
MommyOfFive & DaddyOfFive's "Pranks"
In 2017, YouTuber couple Mike and Heather Martin were accused of abusing their children via their popular family YouTube channels. The alleged abuse included wrongly accusing their children of "bad behaviour," leading to extreme emotional reactions, and encouraging their other kids to hurt one another. The parents issued an apology on YouTube. After an investigation was launched into the abuse allegations, Rose Hall, the biological mother of two of the children featured on Mike and Heather's channel, received emergency custody of her kids.
Logan Paul's Suicide Forest Video
In December 2017, uber-popular vlogger Logan Paul went on a trip to Japan where he filmed the corpse of a man who died by suicide in Aokigahara, a part of Japan's Mt. Fuji known as the "suicide forest." Paul uploaded a video titled "We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…" It was deleted after enormous backlash from fans and celebrities alike. Paul issued an apology on social media, and made a YouTube video follow-up. YouTube temporarily demonetised Paul's videos following the incident.
In summer of 2018, YouTuber Tana Mongeau announced she was hosting an alternative to VidCon after the YouTuber conference did not give her a featured creator badge. Unlike VidCon, the majority of TanaCon tickets would be free of cost, with a select amount of VIP tickets retailing around $65. However, TanaCon had major logistical issues, leading Shane Dawson to make a three-part series uncovering the truth behind YouTube's Fyre Festival.