Last week, the beauty-blogger world exploded, inviting the rest of us into a web of lies and betrayals in this niche community. The Tati Westbrook/James Charles feud has more surprises than the final season of Game of Thrones. There's even a third act reveal from a Dragun!
James Charles is a nineteen-year-old makeup artist with a massive social media following. Tati is a thirty-seven-year-old beauty vlogger who helped James break in and build his brand. A week ago, Tati made a video that ended her friendship with James, primarily accusing him of betrayal and also asserting that he's behaved in a sexually inappropriate way towards men who were not interested in him.
After this video, there was a movement to "cancel" James Charles, and then there was a whole lot more tea, backlash, and, of course, think pieces.
Keep reading to follow the insane life cycle of this story.
James started his beauty channel when he was sixteen.
Around this time, James hit up Tati's DMs.
James' stardom quickly ascended.
With his new-found fame, he was able to work with people like Kylie Jenner.Kylie is a mammoth figure in pop culture and make-up specifically. Her company, KYLIE COSMETICS, was recently valued at one billion dollars. She's one of the most followed people across all platforms. When she decided she didn't like SnapChat anymore, their stock price fell. That's power.
This year, James was invited to the Met Gala.
via: GettyOnly the most famous of the famous get an invite to the Met Gala, referred to as the Oscars of fashion. This year, the theme was "camp," so it had a more inclusive feeling than years past.
While at Coachella (the Oscars for Influencers), James posted an #ad for Sugar Bear Hair gummies.
After the SBH post, Tati took to Instagram to say that she felt hurt by James.
Hey loves! Don’t forget to take your Halo! 💗⏰💕#halobeauty— Halo Beauty (@Halo Beauty)1557943195.0
To heat things up, Gabriel Zamora, another beauty 'Tuber, made a video shading Tati.Gabriel argued in his video that James can promote whatever he wants - Tati doesn't "have" him exclusively just because she's been his mentor. He thought that the whole situation was ridiculous.
After Gabriel's video, Tati released The Video Heard Round The World.It's forty-three minutes long, and it's as intense as it sounds. In the video, Tati lays out all the ways that she's helped James (there are many), she lays how he mishandled the SBH promotion (he did), she accuses him of trying to stoke the fire by talking to drama channels (more on those later) and finally she drops a big bomb. She accuses him of coercing straight men into hooking up with him. Ultimately, that's what broke the back of his fame.
James responded to that video with his own video.James posted an eight-minute video response, makeup-less, simply titled "tati." In the video, he apologizes to Tati for how he handled the SBH deal and cries while talking about how much he loves his mom.
After these videos came out, "James Charles" started trending on Twitter, which, these days, is mostly a bad thing.
Tati just cancelled James Charles with her new video and honestly I'm living for it, i mean it was literally Tati e… https://t.co/8mIIpUXYJi— teresaaaa🧃 (@teresaaaa🧃)1557510345.0
James' YouTube subscriber count crashed.
However, Tati's follower count exploded.
Many people who had never heard of these people followed along.
me getting ready to watch a 43 minute video by tati westbrook, whom I have never heard of, exposing james charles,… https://t.co/WeAABG6yhP— marshall lo (@marshall lo)1557539128.0
Jeffree Star chimed in, surprising no one.
James' little brothe, Ian, tweeted about the situation, and Jeffree Star came for him.In a now-deleted exchange, Ian said that people act tougher on the internet than they would in person, and Jeffree quote tweeted Ian accusing James of being a predator. Jeffree was called out for bullying a teenager and deleted the exchange.
This is not the first feud for Jeffree. He had a whole thing with Kat Von D a few years ago.
via: GettyTell me if you've heard this one before, but the two beauty behemoths exploded at each other over social media about various business practices and feelings.
The beauty wars are real.In the game of eye shadow, you either win or you die. Chaos is a ladder, winter is coming, Cersei deserved better.
With all of this scrutiny on James, some bad tweets and old scandals resurfaced.a few scandals, which isn't surprising given that he became famous under the age of 18. He's said some things that have been deemed transphobic, he posted comments on a Shawn Mendes livestream that fit with these most recent accusations of harassing straight guys, and his caption on his Met Gala Instagram photo comes off as insensitive and privileged.
There was a particularly bad tweet about Africa.
https://t.co/HQ0NvzA36C— James Charles (@James Charles)1487281093.0
With the re-examination of James Charles came the backlash to Tati.She was accused of only distancing herself from James once James directly affected her business, despite his history of insensitive and ignorant behavior. The tables started to turn.
Following these back and forth videos and accusations, Nikita Dragun posted screenshots proving that James hadn't preplanned his support of Sugar Bear Hair gummies.
heard a situation needed some clarification 👀 my friend was in an emergency and texted me in the moment... unfortun… https://t.co/hHopxZ1sja— Nikita (@Nikita)1557808013.0
But then other screenshots came out refuting that story.A so-called tea account called Tea Spill posted screenshots contradicting the texts from Dragun. James had initially told them that SBH had reached out to him, not the other way around.
Tea accounts are the secret sauce of internet feuds.We live in a world wherein transparency reigns supreme. Any person with an Instagram account can track who is following who, who is liking or commenting on what. There are Twitter accounts, YouTube channels, and Instagram accounts dedicated to following that kind of minutiae and reporting on it. With the James/Tati scandal, these accounts were posting hour by hour updates on all of the moves and responses.
After Tati posted her first Instagram story, she found out that James had been talking to one of these accounts about their argument.
Several of these tea accounts reported on this feud until it transcended the beauty world and entered mainstream gossip media.
Tati's video came out last week, and the scandal keeps spinning.
On May 16, Tati released another video to YouTube saying that she wants the world to stop criticizing James.Are you guys having a hard time following this? Because it just keeps spinning...
Now, another tea account is calling for people to "cancel James."
I’m putting the Canceling of James Charles on Hold until Further notice! https://t.co/WYj8LR0GPc— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEM 🍿)1557863820.0