Will this really be the downfall of James Charles' career? Plus, what this may mean for controversial YouTubers that still have large followings
Beauty YouTuber James Charles has been having a nightmarish few days, to say the least - a downward spiral sparked by the “Bye sister” video posted by fellow beauty influencer Tati Westbrook.
According to WWD, James and Tati have been embroiled in a public feud since April, but Tati’s 43-minute YouTube video is what ended it all. Tati expressed her unhappiness with James choosing to advertise for her vitamin brand's rival, in addition to alleging a host of character flaws.
All this while on social media James has been accused of being a sexual predator, transphobic, racist (thanks to his previous public controversy concerning South Africa) as well as disloyal.
Since this video went live, James has been declared cancelled in social media beauty circles, resulting in apparent monetary and reputation damage for the social media star.
Since Tati’s video was posted on 10 May 2019 and his subsequent apology video, James has lost a significant following. According to CNN, his following dropped by almost three million subscribers from the 16.5 million he initially had. The most notable people who have unfollowed James on social media are fellow YouTubers Emma Chamberlain, the Dolan Twins Ethan and Grayson Dolan – who have done a series of videos with him – and, of course, Tati.
While news of the downfall of James’ follower count has made numerous headlines, quite a lot of people are still following him. At the time of publication of this article, James was sitting on 15.3 million YouTube subscribers, 15.2 million followers on Instagram and 3.5 million followers on Twitter, and still verified on all platforms. Some of the notable figures that follow James inclufde supermodel Karlie Kloss, Selena Gomez, Zendaya, and media personality Derek Blasberg.
Three days after the YouTuber’s scandal broke, Variety reported that James had leased his Los Angeles “mini mansion” worth R28 million in 2016.
While this looks like the ultimate demise of James’ career, it’s hard to say if his cancelled status will stick if any other ‘cancelled’ beauty influencers are anything to go by. One of the few people on his side is fellow beauty YouTuber Nikita Dragun, who has had her share of controversy online, who has come to James’ defence re Tati’s accusations saying, “my friend was in an emergency and texted me in the moment”.
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
Even in the face of online international backlash, James is not that different from his peers who have also committed grave blunders online and were under threat of being cancelled by the online community. The notable fact about these social media stars is that they still have successful careers.
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