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James Charles & Tati Westbrook controversy

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File:Tati Westbrook (Glamlifeguru).png
Tati Westbrook (Glamlifeguru)
James Charles

In May 2019, YouTube internet personalities and make-up artists Tati Westbrook and James Charles became involved in a controversy after they publicly clashed over the promotion of a vitamin brand, resulting in Westbrook publishing a video calling out Charles for "aggressive" behaviour, which subsequently went viral. The incident has since caused a record loss of YouTube channel subscribers for Charles while gaining channel subscribers for Westbrook, amid accusations of "predatory behaviour" directed at James by several other Internet personalities who have become embroiled in an ongoing and internationally reported feud.[1][2]


Westbrook is a make-up artist and YouTube beauty broadcaster, known on the platform as GlamLifeGuru since 2010, and Charles is a make-up artist who launched a beauty channel on YouTube in 2015, which led to him becoming the first male ambassador for CoverGirl in 2016. Charles credits Westbrook, a former friend, as the reason he began experimenting with make-up.[3] The two shared a mentoring relationship that, over time, developed into a friendship. Charles would appear frequently in videos on Westbrook's channel, and was employed as the make-up artist at her wedding.[4] Charles and Westbrook were friends during the time that Westbrook was developing her brand of hair supplements, Halo Beauty Vitamins.[citation needed][5]

The controversial feud between Charles and Westbrook began on April 22, 2019, while Charles was attending Coachella and posted a sponsored Instagram video for Sugar Bear Hair, a popular gummy vitamin supplement. The gummies are a direct competitor with Westbrook's own beauty supplements, Halo Beauty.[6] After the video was released, Westbrook posted a clip of herself to her Instagram, saying she felt “lost” and “betrayed” by an unnamed person, who was later revealed to be Charles.[7][8]

Original video[edit]

On May 10, 2019, Westbrook uploaded a 43-minute video to her YouTube channel titled "BYE SISTER...", in which she defended her stance on the Sugar Bear Hair incident. In the video, she states that Charles refused to promote Halo Beauty on his channel due to his stance on vitamins and supplements.[6] Westbrook also talked about how Charles was sexually manipulating a male waiter at her birthday dinner. When Westbrook told Charles that the waiter was straight, Charles replied that it didn't matter because he was a celebrity.

She ended her video by stating, "I've said my piece, I'm moving forward, it is painful to lose someone that you care about that you thought would be in your life forever... I felt you guys deserved the truth and for your questions to be answered."[9][10][11]

Apology video[edit]

Eight hours after Westbrook posted her 43-minute video, Charles posted an 8-minute apology video entitled "tati". In the video he stated, "To Tati and James Westbrook... I'm sorry for everything that is going on, everything that I have put you through over the past few weeks." He went on to say, "There's always going to be people that don't believe me and will think that I am lying, and that's okay. At this point the truth really does not matter it, it's the feelings that do, and no matter what happened, I hurt two very very important people."[12][non-primary source needed]

However, the video received massive backlash with many stating that Charles showed lack of emotion, almost like it was a scripted video. The video is on the List of most-disliked YouTube videos.

Public response[edit]

Within 24 hours of the original video being uploaded, Charles lost more than one million subscribers from his YouTube channel,[13][14] while Westbrook gained a little over one million.[15]

With over three million dislikes, Charles' response video "tati" is among the most disliked videos on the platform.

Date James Charles[16] Tati Westbrook[17]
Subscribers Change Subscribers Change
May 9, 2019 16,553,579 Pre-Controversy 5,908,733 Pre-Controversy
May 10, 2019 16,014,696 –538,883 6,382,321 +473,588
May 11, 2019 14,753,236 –1,261,460 7,664,071 +1,281,750
May 12, 2019 13,980,863 –772,373 8,854,301 +1,190,230
May 13, 2019 13,587,442 –393,421 9,585,436 +731,135
May 14, 2019 13,450,443 –136,999 9,960,788 +375,352
May 15, 2019 13,427,783 –22,660 10,179,192 +218,404
Total –3,125,796 +4,270,459

Social media[edit]

Social media has been bombarded with memes after Charles lost one million subscribers in less than 24 hours, the most ever in that time span.[18][19] Celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Caitlyn Jenner, Iggy Azalea, Halsey, Gigi Hadid, Shawn Mendes, Kathy Griffin, Ellen DeGeneres and fellow YouTubers The Dolan Twins, Emma Chamberlain, Shane Dawson, Jeffree Star, Laura Lee, Bretman Rock, Casey Holmes, MannyMUA, Antonio Garza, KathleenLights, SimplyNailogical, and Gabbie Hanna have unfollowed Charles on social media.[20][21][22]

YouTube personality and make-up entrepreneur Jeffree Star has publicly backed Westbrook, claiming her testimony is "100% true".[23] Charles has been accused by Zara Larsson on Twitter of privately messaging her boyfriend[24] and a number of individuals have accused Charles of sexually harassing them online.[25][26]

Several YouTube channels and news outlets have capitalised on the controversy following a surge in interest in the incident.[27]


  1. Alexander, Julia (2019-05-13). "One video led to YouTube's biggest makeup vlogger losing millions of subscribers". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  2. "The real winner of the James Charles drama? Gummy vitamins, experts say". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  3. "The canceling of James Charles: Beauty guru loses 3 million subscribers in a weekend". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  4. Chambers, Georgia (14 May 2019). "Who is Tati Westbrook? James Charles drama, YouTube subscribers, husband, age and all you need to know". Evening Standard. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  5. Kesslen, Ben (13 May 2019). "The canceling of James Charles: Beauty YouTuber loses 3 million subscribers in a weekend". NBC News. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Cremen, Alanea (10 May 2019). "Tati Westbrook and James Charles. Who are they and why is everyone tweeting about them?". ABC10. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  7. Barbour, Shannon (10 May 2019). "YouTuber Tati Westbrook Just Went After James Charles". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  8. Lauren Greco, Alanna (11 May 2019). "Yikes: YouTuber James Charles Just Lost Over a Million Subscribers". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  9. Wesbrook, Tati. "BYE SISTER..." YouTube.
  10. "Opinion: James Charles and Tati's feud is proof – YouTube influencers no longer hold all the power". The Independent. 2019-05-14. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  11. Aggeler, Opheli Garcia Lawler, Madeleine (2019-05-15). "Everything to Know About the James Charles and Tati Westbrook Feud". The Cut. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  12. Charles, James. "tati". YouTube. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  13. Bennett, Connor (11 May 2019). "James Charles responds to Tati YouTube drama as he loses over 1 million subs". Dexerto. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  15. Clemens, Danny (11 May 2019). "James Charles subscriber count falls by 1 million after Tati Westbrook speaks out, polarizing YouTube beauty community". ABC7 News. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  16. "James Charles". Socialblade. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  17. "Tati". Socialblade. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  18. "James Charles loses 900k subscribers in 24 hours after Tati Westbrook's video". We the Unicorns. PopBuzz. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  19. "James Charles loses a million subscribers after YouTube row". BBC News. 12 May 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  20. Darmon, Aynslee (11 May 2019). "James Charles' Apology To Tati Westbrook Is Not Enough As A-List Celebs Unfollow Him". ET Canada. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  21. Capon, Laura (12 May 2019). "Did Jeffree Star just shade James Charles with this Tweet?". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  22. McGregor, Nesta (2019-05-12). "James Charles loses a million subscribers amid row". Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  23. EDT, Hannah Preston On 5/12/19 at 3:03 PM (2019-05-12). "Jeffree Star comments on James Charles scandal, saying "there's a reason" for everything". Newsweek. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  24. "YouTube star James Charles loses 2m subscribers after row with fellow vlogger". Sky News. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  25. "Male model accuses James Charles of trying to hit on him in Instagram DMs". indy100. 2019-05-15. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  26. Schocket, Ryan. "13 Alleged DMs/Texts/Receipts From James Charles That Have Surfaced Since The Tati Scandal". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  27. Alexander, Julia (2019-05-15). "James Charles' YouTube downfall is big business for the rest of the community". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-05-15.

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