How a Popular Beauty Influencer Got 'Canceled'

James Charles lost 3M subscribers in one weekend
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2019 6:16 PM CDT
Inside the 'Canceling' of a Popular Beauty YouTuber
James Charles attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "Camp: Notes on Fashion" exhibition on Monday, May 6, 2019, in New York.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

James Charles is, or was, one of the most popular "beauty influencers" around, amassing legions of followers on YouTube and Instagram—but he lost 3 million of those YouTube followers this weekend alone, thanks to a scandal involving gummy vitamins, NBC News reports. Charles, 19, got his start as CoverGirl's first "CoverBoy" back when he was a 17-year-old aspiring makeup artist, and he ended up building an empire worth millions thanks to his massive following, plus makeup and branding deals. But things started crumbling on Friday, when fellow beauty YouTuber—and Charles' mentor and friend—Tati Westbrook posted a video titled "BYE SISTER ...," a reference to Charles' well-known catchphrase. The lowdown:

  • In the 43-minute video, which has so far been viewed more than 36 million times, Westbrook says that she had been having issues with Charles over behavior she found offensive for a while, but that things came to a head in April. During Coachella, Charles added a sponsored post for Sugar Bear Hair supplements to his Instagram story; it's a gummy vitamin brand that is a rival to Westbrook's own vitamin brand, Halo Beauty. This did not go over well with Westbrook, who often promoted Charles' own products.

  • Westbrook said in her video that she felt used by Charles: "You’re a phony. You’re easily bought. You sold me out, but you threw away our friendship." Charles responded with his own 8-minute video apologizing to Westbrook, but many didn't think it was enough (his video has millions of "dislikes"), and people have largely sided with Westbrook. She had around 6 million YouTube followers before all this went down, and her numbers have jumped to more than 9 million.
  • And big names are on Westbrook's side too, including yet another fashion YouTuber, Jeffree Star, who wrote in a since-deleted tweet that he had "banned James Charles from ever coming to our home."
  • Celebrities including Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian unfollowed Charles after the drama, per Perez Hilton.
  • And some former Charles fans have even taken to destroying or burning their Charles makeup palettes, Newsweek reports.
  • Westbrook says she's taking a break from producing new videos for a while, per People.
  • Have questions about all this? The Cut has a handy explainer that will answer all your questions, and explains how a third vlogger was involved in the Charles-Westbrook feud.
  • If you're just here for the memes, BuzzFeed and Seventeen are among the outlets rounding up some of the best ones to come out of the drama.
  • This is far from the only scandal surrounding Charles; ETOnline has more. And Perez Hilton has a story about Charles being accused of "catfishing" back in high school.
(How Payless got fashion influencers to pay hundreds for its shoes.)

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