Vindictive YouTuber uses homophobic speech to destroy the first man to star in a make-up campaign
Every day the internet brings out how imperfect the human being can be. Twenty years ago, at the beginning of the Internet, there was the World Wide Web dream and utopia that it could be the most accessible pillar of democracy: the Internet as the place where everyone has a voice.
Today the internet is totally monopolized by large conglomerates who run the big platforms. The Internet suffers to remain relevant amidst noise from a handful of shallow and petty people. This noise has been used by groups, politicians and organizations to manipulate the public.
In this toxic environment, Internet drama happens on a daily basis, but these imbroglios not often migrate from the Internet to the traditional media.
The biggest feud between YouTubers to date
Since last week one of these dramas is getting a lot of attention all over the world and has been receiving coverage from the traditional press. The feud is between makeup artist and influencer James Charles and YouTuber Tati Westbrook, who reviews new cosmetic products and has a vitamin company which supposedly helps with appearance, but is facing backlash. One of the ingredients in her beauty pills formula is Saw Palmetto. Saw palmetto comes from the berry of a palm tree, and has been used to fight prostate cancer, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The ingredient is also used for hair growth, but Web MD confirms it can affect birth control negatively.
It all began in mid-April when 37-year-old Tati posted a video on her Instagram stories crying and saying she had been wronged by her friends, not mentioning any names. The reason for this was known soon after. James Charles posted an apology explaining what happened. During the weekend of Coachella music festival, James made a deal and promoted sleeping pills from Sugar Bear Hair, supposedly a competitor of Westbrook’s company, Halo Beauty. However Halo does not make sleeping pills.
James publicly apologised to Tati for having made the deal with the competing company. In fact he didn’t have to apologize, since he does not work for Halo company, that is, he does not have any type of contract with Tati or her company. But attempting to keep the friendship alive, he made the post.
Not only did Tati Westbrook ignore her friend’s post, as days later, on Friday, May 10, she posted a video on YouTube that today, May 17, is already over 47 million views. In the video she accuses James Charles of treason and goes on to make judgments about his love life, a 19 year old gay boy. According to her, Charles, is a “sexual predator” trying to “convince” straight boys that they are gay.
The video became viral and sparked a backlash against Charles who has been translating into thousands of people unsubscribing from his YouTube channel. On May 5th he had more than 16 million subscribers and now he has about 13 million. It was a loss of about 3 million in a period of less than a week.
James Charles posted a new reply, a video apologising, and even so she refused to talk to her friend in private. Tati, however, is profiting a lot from the drama. Her channel jumped from 6 to 10 million subscribers in less than a week. Halo Beauty, a company that many people had never heard of, is being talked about a lot.
The two videos are making a fortune for the two YouTubers as they have millions of views, which means they will receive huge amounts of money from their advertising quotas on the platform.
Dozens of channels on YouTube are making live countdowns with the number of subscribers of the two channels. Viewers are very excited to drag James Charles down, wanting to “cancel” him and spreading homophobic comments all over the internet.
Tati promotes in her video Bye Sister a virtual public lynching of James Charles. All we see in the comments is humiliation after humiliation and without any proof. A real case of bullying with homophobic bias.
Not only does the YouTuber speak of betrayal, which does not correspond to the truth, as she highlights details about James love life and about him hitting on a waiter. The problem is that it was the same waiter who looked for James through Instagram DM.
The waiter came to light and confirmed he was the one to go after James and called him a bad kisser. It’s a festival of peripheral people wanting to profit from the historical drama.
Tati’s video is horrible; it is painful to watch because of the humiliating details and the homophobic content of her speech. She uses the term “sexual predator” several times. This term was used in gay conversion therapies in the 1950s. It’s very homophobic to imply one can force sexual preference onto another. To imply that someone is a “sexual predator” is to affirm this person is sick. So homosexuality would be a sickness. It’s a very homophobic affirmation. Tati stole the #MeToo discussion to turn it into the salvation of straight men.
YouTuber Tati — self-proclaimed example of honesty and integrity
Tati Westbrook is a self-proclaimed example of honesty and integrity. She boasts in all her videos how unbiased she is. She says she is against the practice of affiliate marketing. This is one of the ways YouTubers have to make money on the Internet. Basically it’s an agreement between product brands and creators where the products shown in the videos (or posts) can be bought at a discount through a code.
Tati condemns the practice and says her channel is more reliable because she doesn’t partner with brands and doesn’t make affiliate marketing. However she has her own product and advertises it on every video, on film and on all text descriptions.
As a makeup artist Tati has never shown great merits. She makes very basic and ordinary makeup, never artistic makeup as do some of the best makeup YouTubers, like Nikki Tutorials and James Charles himself. She never demonstrated special effects makeup skills, as James Charles does in almost all of his videos.
In the channel of this “bastion of truth and integrity”, according to herself, she presents reviews of new product launches. In this field the amateur makeup artist has already made several enemies and has already made public her beefs with other creators on the platform.
Regarding her beauty pills, facing the backlash about Saw Palmetto and birth control, she did nothing but deactivate comments on the video where she talks about her product. No explanation was given to the public.
As you can see, much more than James Charles, Tati Westbrook is a veteran of drama and making enemies on the Internet.
The first man to be a make up brand ambassador. Who is James Charles?
James Charles is not just an internet influencer. He was the first man to be chosen to star in a makeup advertising campaign. In 2016 he was the star of Cover Girl and its ambassador. At the time he was only 17 years old.
James Charles has his own style, very interesting and bold, as well as very handsome. At Coachella Festival in 2018 and 2019, the influencer showed very colorful and sensual looks which, of course, always resulted in a lot of engagement on his social media. This year James was the only influencer in the beauty community to be invited to the Met Gala. Of course this fact generated lots of jealousy.
Other more scandalous cases where YouTuber’s dubious conduct is easily verifiable and not just the result of pure gossip, did not have the same outcome.
Infamous YouTubers Logan and Tana haven’t been through the same ordeal
Logan Paul is the most famous of the infamous YouTubers. On December 31st, 2017 Logan posted a video recorded in Japan in the Suicide Forest. In the video he and his team were about to set up the tent to camp in the woods when they found the body of a boy who had just committed suicide. The scene is absolutely grotesque. He and his friends laughed. At the beginning of the video he already warned that this would be a “milestone in YouTube history”.
The repercussion was immense and Logan turned into persona non grata on the platform and out of it. The mainstream press, celebrities, and the general public were in shock. YouTube took some of the big channel’s perks from advertisers out of Logan’s channel and promised to lower his presence on YouTube Originals productions. However, instead of Logan Paul losing fans, he gained one million subscribers and today continues his YouTuber career. Now, May 2019, Logan Paul has over 19 million subscribers on his vlog channel and more than 1 million and 400,000 subscribers on his new channel, where he posts podcasts.
Tana Mongeau is another big American YouTuber. In 2018 she hosted a free convention called TanaCon that would be a response to Vidcon, the biggest online video creator event. TanaCon, which took place in June 2018, was a disaster comparable to the Fyre Festival. The event ended up being closed by the police for not being able to accommodate all the people that showed up. Tana was deprecated by the public on the Internet and out but, even so, there was not a stampede of subscribers equal to that of James Charles.
Envy as the core of defamation case
Tati Westbrook is not a great make-up artist and her videos are pretty insipid. She’s been on YouTube for about 10 years, which makes her an OG (Original Gang). Rarely does she change scenery in her videos. In the last year she has recorded all the videos in the same place and in the same position with only some scenes recorded on her cell phone when she wants to show the performance of a makeup foundation. She rarely does a makeup tutorial, talks only about the products she is reviewing and gives her opinion.
James Charles is at the top of his career as a video creator and social network influencer. Even with the nonsense posted by his former friend, he has 13 million subscribers on the YouTube channel and more than 14 million followers on Instagram. His work as a makeup artist is very recognized and he has been doing makeup for artists and music videos, like the new one by Iggy Azalea.
He produces beautiful images and tutorial videos where he shows skills as a makeup and special effects artist. James is also a model and his campaign for Cover Girl in 2016 is a historical fact. It was the first time a man starred in a makeup campaign. The brand enterprise is a milestone in society and places the moment as the key in the issue of empowerment and LGBTQ community civil rights. The entire cosmetics and makeup industry is now home to a much larger and more diverse group.
For his beauty, for his well-produced content shared on Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat, James Charles has become one of the most sought-after influencers for brands. At the moment James Charles has his own brand of T-shirts and sweatshirts, the Sister Apparel. In June he starts his first tour.
Controversy on social media and misinterpretation
Some of James social media posts did not go well with the public, but they are far from being evidence of bad things like racism or arrogance, as people say. In 2017, while still the ambassador of Cover Girl, he tweeted a joke about Ebola disease.
The tweet is actually a phrase he said and also contains a joke that a friend made with him, that is, shows that he laughed at himself and his own ignorance: “I can not believe we are going to Africa today. My God, what if we catch Ebola? James, we’re fine, we could have caught Chipotle last week. “ This incident shows that people believe in what they want to believe. No, James Charles is not racist because he made that joke.
The Met Gala Ball is the biggest fashion event today. Coordinated by American Vogue publisher Anna Wintour, the event is charitable and funds raised from the sale of tickets and tables are aimed at maintaining the costume wing of the Metropolitan Museum, The Costume Institute. James Charles was the only beauty influencer to be invited to the event. He was dressed by designer Alexander Wang and was at the party alongside YouTubers Liza Koshy, Lilly Singh and actress Madeleine Pletch of Riverdale. These guests stayed at the table organized and purchased by YouTube.
On the day of the event James Charles expressed himself on social media and again was misunderstood. He wrote the following in his Instagram profile but already erased, after great controversy:
“My first Met Gala. Thank you very much YouTube for inviting me and Alexander Wang for dressing me! Being invited to such an important event as the ball is a great honor and a step in the right direction of the representation of influencers in the media. I’m very excited to be a catalyst. “
People, as a result of misinterpretation, said that James Charles was arrogant for placing the category of influencers as marginalized by the media …
That’s not what he said. Specifically in Met Gala it is evident that Internet celebrities are not invited. Fashion or beauty bloggers are rarely seen at the event. People took it as if it were something about political activism towards influencers.
What is most surprising about this whole issue and what led to this stratospheric repercussion is the disproportionate degree of hatred people show in comments, posts, and memes on the subject. It shows a lot of homophobia.
Tati Westbrook, who has cast an absolutely unfounded and homophobic narrative about James Charles, is regarded as above good and evil. James Charles can not say anything, he is always “wrong”.
Angry mob powered by “drama channels”
The noise is replicated by the unpleasant, ugly and poorly produced “drama channels”. They’re the worst thing on YouTube. These are gossip videos produced in the worst possible way, with photos and images without any quality, captured on the internet. These channels are profiting immensely from the feud and are keeping the subject on track, looking for the “victims” of James Charles. So far no one has found anyone who has suffered any form of sexual harassment without consent.
Just as the gossip media of the last 20 years managed to plunge the entire press into a rotten pit, the drama channels can monopolize the conversation. These channels devalue the YouTube platform.
It’s good to remember that it may take time, but these vehicles of pure defamation do not hold out for long. Gawker was the biggest gossip website on the internet. The documentary Nobody Speak, Trials of the Free Press, streamed on Netflix, shows the downfall of Gawker, chased by a millionaire who was quoted on the site to exhaustion. This type of vehicle takes the whole press and now the entire Internet into the mud, offering ammunition to anyone who wants to end free speech.
An astounding fact in the James Charles vs. Tati Westbrook case is that major influencers have defended James Charles. The first to defend him was the world’s biggest YouTuber, PewDiePie. The biggest drama channel also defended James Charles, Drama Alert. Both PewDiePie and Drama Alert said there is no evidence in Tati Westbrook’s charges that James Charles is a “sexual predator.”
Friends in the beauty community, Gabriel Zamora and Nikita Dragon also came out in defense of their friend, especially Gabriel who posted on social media addressing Tati Westbrook, talking about the seriousness of the charges she is making and that she may be arrested for that.
The “bastion of integrity” Tati Westbrook returned to post videos this week. It’s hard to watch. The most interesting is the image of haughtiness she passes and is exactly this image that makes the public confused.
She continues to try to manipulate the public, now wanting to become a victim of her own emotions. Someone who posts videos for ten years on the same platform says she had no idea of the damage she would be causing to James Charles …
It is simply unfortunate… But the reality is always the same: people are what they do and not what they say they are. Tati Westbrook has told a lot of lies about her friend to millions of people the same week he was at the highest point of his career.
It is inhuman and demonstrates how jealous she is, envious, and uses no rationality at all.
This issue can only be resolved in court. The public is incredibly biased. It’s veiled homophobia.
I hope James Charles sues Tati Westbrook so the public can understand what’s really happening.