May 13, 2019 | Posted in Editorial Features by
If you guys don't know about the drama going down in the beauty community right now between Tati Westbrook and the openly gay James Charles, then I'm going to try and catch you up as succinctly as possible so that we can get to the most important thing - my opinion! And if you don't know what a beauty community is, I love you. I personally have been watching both Tati and James' videos for years, but then again, I hate myself.
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The nineteen-year-old James Charles is (or was) one of the most famous makeup artists on YouTube and had over 16 million subscribers before this weekend's drama. The thirty-seven-year-old Tati Westbrook is considered the OG beauty blogger and started the weekend with just under 6 million subscribers. The two were friends and collaborated together a handful of times. But probably never again.
Tati has a vitamin supplement company (PLEASE STICK WITH ME GUYS, THIS WILL GET MORE INTERESTING) called Halo Beauty, and this April Charles - after Tati had promoted his eyeshadow palette numerous times on her channel throughout 2018 - promoted her direct competitor, Sugar Bear Hair, on his Instagram Story. Tati then posted an emotional and just slightly cryptic video confessing her deep feelings of betrayal.
After the tears dried, rather than get mad, Tati decided to get Glad, and on Friday released a truly explosive 45-minute video (top of page) publically cutting ties with Charles and exposing him for being, well, many things. A disloyal friend, a narcissist, a lair, and most important to this post (I SWEAR I'M GOING SOMEWHERE WITH ALL THIS) a sexual predator - against straight men exclusively.
Her video went massively viral, and sparked a huge public backlash against Charles. He's lost over 3 million YouTube subscribers (you can watch his number plummet live here) while Tati gained about the same number. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner unfollowed Charles on Instagram, pretty much every news site in the country picked up the story, and Charles' former friend Jeffree Star even called Charles - in referencing the predator claims - a "danger to society" in a since-deleted tweet.
Uhmmmmmmmm why did Jeffree Star delete his James Charles tweet? pic.twitter.com/EWAmzJLF4l
— Connor Chrisman (@ConnorKrystyn) May 13, 2019
Charles quickly released an apology video to Tati, in which he acknowledges that he needs to be more careful with boys. However, his video has been widely lampooned as insincere.
NOW we just need to go through a brief history of Charles' alleged predatory behavior that Tati references before we can collectively question whether the unrelenting backlash against Charles is warranted. Charles often, if not incessantly, jokes about wanting to get with straight guys. (You can clearly see his thirst in this cringy video that he filmed with the straight Dolan Twins.) At this year's Coachella, James brought along a guy he met online who later said that James wanted sexual attention in exchange for his Coachella ticket. Their texts reveal that the guy, named Gage, actually told James he was questioning his sexuality and that throughout Coachella and his time with Charles he decided that he wasn't into men. However, most people online are treating this as a case of a gay man basically catfishing a straight man into sex. Here's part of Charles' text exchange with Gage. Charles is in blue:
Twitter users claim the text exchange as being further evidence that Charles is a predator. But, like, is it? About 24 minutes into her video, Tati tells a story about Charles hitting on a straight waiter at her birthday party, and gives her thoughts on Charles' general "disgusting" behavior towards straight men:
Everything is oversexualized, and that's the huge underlayer to this all, that I finally have had enough. The last phone conversation that James Charles and I had, he said some things, telling me about a situation that happened at my birthday, and it literally made me want to vomit. Oh my God, you tried to trick a straight man into thinking he's gay yet again, and somehow you're the victim .You know, it's really disgusting to manipulate someone's sexuality especially when they are still emerging into adulthood and don't quite have everything figured out. You are using your fame, your power, your money to play with peoples' emotions. You're threating to ruin them, you're threating to embarass them, and you're doing it to have them behave sexually in your favor even if they're straight. And you know what, that's not okay.
Like Gage the Coachella guy, the waiter from Tati's birthday party in Seattle released a YouTube video addressing the drama. He reveals that he actually took it upon himself to text James Charles the morning following the birthday party with this:
The nineteen-year-old waiter, named Sam Cooke, states "at that time I was bicurious" and that when James invited him to his hotel, he went. Cooke explains "we ended making out for about an hour, and if I'm being honest, he's the worst kisser I've ever kissed." Sweet guy. He eventually left the hotel, and when James tried to get together with him on a later day, Cooke (in blue) texted:
It must be hard to not be able to tell when guys are telling the truth and when they're just chasing that clout. Thankfully I've never had any clout to give. Bullet dodged.
I also want to point out before we get to the best part of this post that Tati said in her video:
"Whether you're a woman, a man, gay, straight, bi, whatever sexual orientation you are, that is your person call. It is not someone else's to take, it's not someone else's to play with, it's not someone else's to mess with"
I love you Tati!! & Goodbye James Charles!! pic.twitter.com/iDGa8awhTH
— Paulo John (@paudaexplorer) May 10, 2019
I want to draw everyone's attention to the phrase "personal call." Sounds a lot like "decision" if you ask this born and bred fairy. As in she doesn't in fact think we're Born This Way. Just sayin'.
While I agree with the overall sentiment that James Charles is probably a piece of poop, I feel that Tati used discriminatory language when describing sexuality, and might have overstepped her bounds. She equates experimentation with perversion, and in saying "you tried to trick a straight man into thinking he's gay yet again" frames the restaurant encounter in a way that frankly I don't see represented in the text messages between James and Sam. She's providing a toxic narrative that the Internet is processing and regurgitating in ways that I just think are fucking off. Even from gay men:
and he’s encouraging other gay men to go for straight men and it’s so sad because all they’ll get is heart break other than the few that question their sexuality but yeah he’s becoming more and more problematic
— HENNI (@amydaisy_) May 5, 2019
So Taron Egerton can gay bait for the Gawds but James Charles is the downfall of gay culture. Interesting. Tati's assumption that the waiter at her birthday party was straight - and not momentarily bicurious or other as he claimed in his video - further proves that she might have a somewhat antiquated perspective on sexuality. Gay men are a) identifiable and b) aggressors, straight men are the victims, sexuality is black and white - all are reinforced in Tati's exposé.
When Tati states that it's "really disgusting to manipulate someone's sexuality especially when they are still emerging into adulthood and don't quite have everything figured out," she neglects to knowledge the fact that James Charles himself is "emerging into adulthood" and definitely doesn't have everything figured out. Obviously.
People online are condemning James Charles for perpetuating the stereotype of the predatory gay man. But I'm not sure he deserves that classification. Regardless, Tati helped inspire a tidal wave of memes that just don't sit right with me, mawmaw:
James Charles: I like straight men hahaha!! Why would I go for gay guys? Where’s the fun in that?
— shannon (@shannon13swift) May 13, 2019
James Charles entering the male toilets at Coachella pic.twitter.com/yFdm1Rum2m
— Karl (@kxrlpxrk) May 13, 2019
James Charles: pic.twitter.com/BYd3UBStni
— shelby (@shelbyybailey) May 13, 2019
They're... fucking homophobic. For his part, Charles needs to reign in his horniness and be a lot more selective with who he pursues. He's mitigating being a thirsty gay teen (with teenage-level decision-making skills) with having every part of his life aired out in excruciating detail. A symptom of being a social media celebrity. Maybe this falling out will be the wakeup call he needs to stop being the Tasmanian Devil of dicks, makeup, cum jokes, and assless chaps. He needs to learn that there is a time and a place. Unique advice. Just came up with it.
I'm guilty of reveling in this delicious hot tea over the weekend like Johnny Rapid in a pile of cum. But now I feel like Charles has simply become our latest sacrifice, and that the punishment just doesn't fit the crime. Anyone who still finds James' downfall to be rewarding needs to revisit their teenage text messages as a sobering reminder that, while many claim age is no excuse for James' behavior, nineteen-year-olds are all disgusting. The moral of today's story. Or maybe the moral is - don't piss off Tati Westbrook. Sorry this was so long, but if you love me you'll light a match to even more time by letting us know your thoughts in the comments!
Photo Credit: Twitter, YouTube