Update 5/17: Tati Westbook has replied to all the controversy with James Charles in a new video. “I want the hate to stop. I want the picking sides and the abusive memes and the language… on both sides... to stop,” she said in the 18-minute message that she titled "Why I Did It." Westbrook went on to explain that her original video was meant to call Charles out on what she believes is bad behavior, but the backlash got out of control. “This was just a last ditch effort for me to wake up someone I really love before they go and make some really serious mistakes,” she said.
Her most important takeaway: It's time for the internet to let the whole thing go. “I don’t hate James Charles, and I don’t want you to hate on him,” she said. “It’s painful to watch someone you have cared about be dragged.” Westbrook also announced that she is taking a hiatus from social media and recording new videos for her channel (although she will be posting some pre-recorded content). “I pray that we can be kind to each other through this, and I’m going to take a time-out.”
Charles has yet to respond to the video.
Update 5/14: YouTuber and makeup entrepreneur Nikita Dragun has officially entered the ring, detailing exactly how the James Charles SugarBearHair connection came about — which corroborates Charles' side of the story. Dragun posted screenshots of texts between Charles and SugarBearHair and tweeted, “heard a situation needed some clarification… my friend was in an emergency and texted me in the moment... unfortunately since @dragunbeauty used all of our marketing budget on the fantasy, i connected him with sugar bear. nothing shady.”
After posting, some fans accused Dragun of editing the texts, to which she promptly replied, "u really think i have the time to fake texts? the only thing i edit is my waist on facetune sis. they have the screen recording of the messages."
heard a situation needed some clarification ? my friend was in an emergency and texted me in the moment... unfortunately since @dragunbeauty used all of our marketing budget on the ???????, i connected him with sugar bear. nothing shady. pic.twitter.com/fNNtMReApm— Mama Dragun (@NikitaDragun) May 14, 2019
Charles and Westbrook have yet to respond.
Update 5/13: In the wake of the YouTube scandal heard 'round the world, Tati Westbrook is taking a brief hiatus from the video platform. "There won't be a video tomorrow. My heart is still too heavy," wrote Westbrook, whose follower count has soared to over 9.1 million since uploading her video "Bye Sister," which has 35 million views. (James Charles, on the other hand, has seen his follower count drop to nearly 13.6 million, including unfollows by notable celebs like Kylie Jenner, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Shawn Mendes, according to People.)
Westbrook went on to urge her followers to foster an uplifting conversation — rather than a hateful one. "I feel like I need to remind you that we can hold truth & inspire change without grabbing onto hate," she continued. "Honor your blessings, don't abuse them. Celebrating pain will only bring it to your door. love you guys, see you soon."
This story was originally published May 12, 2019.
Beauty vloggers and former friends James Charles and Tati Westbrook have had a massive falling out, and it has cost Charles millions of YouTube subscribers. Charles, who has a partnership with Morphe and was the first male face of CoverGirl, has seen his subscriber count drop from roughly 16 million to 14 million in just days. There’s even a channel dedicated to monitoring his subscriber count.
Fans felt Charles owed Westbrook an apology after a dustup over the brand of hair supplements being promoted by Charles caused Westbrook to post a scathing video bidding farewell to their friendship.
James Charles entered the YouTube makeup vlogging world three years ago, when he was just 16, with a video called “BLUE/BROWN SERPENT Makeup Tutorial.”
Soon after his debut, Westbrook, an early entrant in the YouTube beauty scene, became something of a mentor to the young beauty vlogger. Westbrook and Charles’ bond was so close that she had him do her wedding makeup when he was just 17.
However, that all changed recently.
Discord between the pair started this April, during Week One of Coachella, when James promoted Sleep Vitamins by SugarBearHair on his Instagram stories. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but Westbrook, the founder of Halo Beauty, saw it as a betrayal.
SugarBearHair is a competitor to Halo Beauty, and Westbrook dropped a 40-minute video entitled “BYE SISTER ...” (Charles often opens his videos, “Hi, sisters”) explaining why she was upset with him.
Westbrook said in her video that Charles claimed he never promoted her brand on any of his channels because he didn’t want to promote supplements to his young audience. She said she felt like Charles had used her and her husband, because they negotiated deals on his behalf and promoted his palette on her channel.
She also said she needed to cut ties due to his problematic behavior, which included accusations of sexual misconduct. Refinery29 has reached out to both parties for further comment.
Following Westbrooks video dropping, Charles responded with his own video, called “tati,” with what seemed like a sincere apology.
In the eight-minute video, a makeup-free Charles apologizes to Tati for "everything that I put you through.
"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,” he said. "I'm not doing that today, I'm not. That is all I have to say, I'm sorry."
The 19-year-old denied he had ever pressured someone into dating him but conceded he had perhaps mishandled situations in the past.
"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,” Charles said.
This story has been updated.