James Charles And Tati Westbrook: Everything There Is To Know About The Beauty Bloggers' YouTube Drama

It all started with a post about hair vitamins – and has escalated *quite* quickly.

If you’re not au fait with the latest YouTube stars, then there’s every chance the drama involving beauty bloggers James Charles and Tati Westbrook has passed you by.

However, in the last few days, the pair’s feud has spilled over into the real world, with James breaking online records he’d probably rather have steered clear of.

If you’ve seen their names (and videos) popping up on Twitter, but not quite got what is going on, then allow us to explain...

How famous is James Charles?

We’ll start with this, just to clear things up. While James started out on the internet, his fame is seriously far-reaching nowadays.

The 19-year-old has steadily made a name for himself after starting his beauty=-based YouTube channel in 2015, amassing over 1.7 billion views on the site thanks to videos including make-up tutorials (like this one with Kylie Jenner), reviews and “beauty battles” between make-up artists.

In 2016, he became the first male spokesperson for US cosmetics brand CoverGirl and, before this latest controversy, he had a whooping 16.6 million subscribers on YouTube.

James at this month's Met Gala
James at this month's Met Gala
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

If you’re still not convinced about his celebrity status, then there’s this too: In January, he visited Birmingham to make a public appearance at a new cosmetics shop and managed to bring the entire city centre to a standstill.

“Rows of police and security guards [were] struggling to hold back thousands of people, mainly teenage girls, who had been gathering at the Bullring shopping centre since early in the morning,” the Guardian reported at the time.

The BBC added that horrific amounts of traffic led to drivers abandoning their cars.

And then there’s Tati Westbrook

This time last month, James and fellow YouTuber, 37-year-old Tati, appeared to be good friends.

Famous in her own right years before her affiliation with James, Tati launched her channel, GlamLifeGuru, in 2010 and as of last month, had just over 4 million subscribers.

She and James formed a solid friendship when he joined the YouTube beauty blogging community and he’s often appeared in her videos.

James was also a guest at Tati’s Maldives wedding in 2017, even doing her make-up for the big day.

So what’s happened?

The drama starts with a video about hair supplements. No, we’re not kidding.

While he was at Coachella, James posted a seemingly innocent vid plugging Sugar Bear Hair, gummy vitamins that will apparently vitalise your hair and help it grow.

The problem is, Tati has her own brand of beauty supplements and seemingly unhappy with James’ plug for a rival, posted a clip on her Instagram Story saying she’d been “betrayed” by an unnamed friend.

At no point did Tati mention James by name, but to be honest, she didn’t need to, and as if there was any doubt, James then shared an apology (basically confirming himself as the target of Tati’s disdain).

“I want to publicly apologise to my close friend, Tati,” he said, in his own Instagram story. “She has been like a mother to me since my first days in this industry and has given me more love, support, resources and advice than I could ever ask for.”

He also attempted to explain why he did the post in the first place, stating that the rival brand “helped me with security when the crowd around me at Coachella became unsafe”

“I did not accept any money from this post,” he said. “Tati has a vitamin brand which I take on a daily basis, but in the moment, I did not think about the competition.”

… Then what?

We now come to the main component of this story: Tati’s 43-minute, friendship-ending video.

On May 10, Tati posted a mammoth vid (which has now been viewed more than 34 million times) titled “BYE SISTER”, in which she effectively calls time on her friendship with James.

“I know he has a way of getting what he wants,” she says. “There’s so much going on with James Charles right now that I do not support, that I do not agree with.”

“Fame, power and a fat bank account will change almost anyone,” she added. “If you don’t have people that will tell you to your face that you are doing the wrong things, you will change.”

“I tried to be that person for you, James. I really tried,” Westbrook continued. “I don’t think there’s any getting through to you and I don’t want to be friends with you, I don’t want to be associated with you and I need to say that very publicly so that chapter can be closed.”

In the video, she makes a series of other claims about James too, calling him out for alleged “problematic behaviour” and “manipulating people’s sexuality”.

“You are using you fame, power and money to play with people’s emotions,” she says. “You’re threatening to ruin them and embarrass them, and you’re doing that to have them behave sexually in your favour even if they’re straight?

“That behaviour is not okay if you’re a woman a man, gay, straight, bi, whatever sexual orientation you are, that is your personal call and it is not someone else’s to take, not someone else’s to play with.”

James then responded with an 8-minute video

In his shorter piece, James apologised to Tati and her husband.

“What sucks the most is that I know there’s nothing I can say or do to ever earn that friendship or trust back but I don’t blame them for it,” he says in the clip. “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 and I’m not doing that today, I’m not.

“That is all I have to say, I’m sorry.”

James denied pressuring people into dating him though, adding: “I’ve been involved in a lot of very unique situations that have left people confused or upset.

“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.

“This is a conversation I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with and it’s something that I should have been far more careful with bringing into the public.”

Tati hasn’t responded to this video (yet).

What’s the damage?

The fallout has been huge, with James losing more than 2.6 million subscribers, with 1 million of them unfollowing his channel in just 24 hours. This is a new record (though obviously not one James will be pleased to hold).

Plenty of tabloid outlets have charted his loss of followers on other platforms too, noting that Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus have all hit unfollow on Instagram.

James hasn’t posted on any of his social media platforms since sharing the apology video.


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