Drama 2019 ended last night with a resounding thud after Jeffree Star apologized to James Charles for spreading dangerous rumors. Additionally, Tati Westbrook issued a statement apologizing for her actions. The change of heart proves that Tati Westbrook and Jeffree Star bullied a gay teenager to the point that he considered suicide.
The about-face by the YouTube stars happened after James Charles exposed the duos’ lies and bullying behavior in a video. James Charles admitted to millions of people that his former friend’s vicious statements made him feel suicidal.
For more than a week, James Charles has been relentlessly bullied by millions of people because Tati Westbrook and Jeffree Star accused him of using his fame and power to manipulate straight men into sexual relationships with him.
Tati Westbrook’s video “Bye Sister” was seen more than 46 million times. In the video, she accused James of predatory and dangerous behavior. Not only did she call James out for bad behavior, she publically “broke up” with him. Westbrook insisted that she had to air very private and intimate details about James so that he would hear her.
Also, Westbrook took to Instagram to answer questions about her video. While responding to a comment, Westbrook called James a predator. She patted herself on the back for being “brave” enough to speak out against someone so powerful. In the response, she pushed a dangerous stereotype that gay men are predators seeking to turn straight men gay.
After unloading her grievances against James Charles, Jeffree Star then inserted himself into the drama. On Sunday, May 12, 2019, Jeffree Star tweeted that James Charles was a danger to society. Additionally, he told his followers that “everything Tati said” was real.
With two major players in the YouTube beauty community gunning for James Charles, millions of people began unsubscribing to his channel. The story blew up all over the media. Outlets around the world started playing into the narrative that James Charles preyed on straight men. Celebrities and random people on Twitter began sharing screenshots of James’ so-called “dangerous’ behavior.
Then, Nikita Dragun and Gabriel Zamora, friends of James Charles, shared details that poked holes into Tati’s story. Zamora uploaded a SnapChat story defending his friend, and he called Westbrook out for lying about James being a predator. Dragun released screenshots that proved James Charles did not have a pre-arranged business agreement with Sugar Bear Hair in exchange for security at Coachella.
Anyone that attempted to defend James Charles was called a liar, and people immediately accused them of “photoshopping” screenshots. As the week wore on, Tati dropped a second video that further perpetuated her narrative that James Charles is dangerous. She attempted to squeeze out fake tears, but Westbrook appeared only sad for herself, not for James.
Soon millions of people began sending James Charles death threats, angry messages, and vicious videos were made about James on YouTube. With so many people after James, the 19-year-old did not comment.
His silence ended on Saturday when he uploaded a video defending the allegations against him. In the video, James proved to viewers that Tati Westbrook lied about her biggest claim about him. Westbrook stated in the video that he manipulated a “straight man” into having a sexual relationship with him.
However, the waiter, Sam Cooke, from the story admitted in a video on YouTube that he was bi-curious. Additionally, Sam Cooke acknowledged the makeout session he shared with James Charles was consensual.
James poked holes in every single part of Tati’s story. She insisted he never called her before uploading his Sugar Bear Hair promo. However, Charles provided many screenshots showing he reached out to her multiple times. Tati never responded to him.
Westbrook’s primary argument for releasing the video was that James Charles wasn’t listening to her privately. However, James’ receipts completely contradicted that story. James admitted that Tati’s video about her grief over his promotion resulted in him receiving death threats. Tati Westbrook, the woman that claimed to love him more than anything, never responded.
When addressing Jeffree Star, James Charles highlighted the nasty text messages Star sent him. Jeffree Star was not a part of the feud, but he inserted himself into the drama. In the messages, Star threatened to expose Charles through multiple videos. He said he was going to get at least three men to go on camera to talk about how James Charles’ manipulated and pressured them.
In one of the texts, Star accused Charles of holding Sam Cooke in his hotel against his will.
Then Star went after Charles’ 17-year-old brother. Star quoted a tweet by Ian that was unrelated to the drama. The beauty YouTuber then screamed at Ian and told him to shut the “f” up.
James Charles explained that Ian’s tweet was related to issues his brother was dealing with at home. According to James, his brother was being bullied online. Ian’s tweet had nothing to do with the drama. However, Star inserted himself where he didn’t belong.
With so much damning evidence against Star, people began attacking him on Twitter. Star responded by saying James was lying. He promised to bring receipts and expose James.
Then Star uploaded a video on SnapChat. In the video, Star insisted he would show the world that James’ Charles lied.
However, Star never released any receipts nor exposed James Charles. Instead, he uploaded a video on YouTube publically apologizing for his bad behavior.
In the video, Star admitted he allowed people to “get in his head.” Additionally, he stated that these voices filled his head with rumors. Through these rumors, Star admitted to going after James Charles with no proof.
For 14-minutes, Star made his video, not about the damage he caused James but a public plea for sympathy for him.
He reminded viewers he’s “not that person anymore,” and he assured viewers he’s in good head space.
However, Star’s damaging and harmful behavior took place over several weeks. The messages to James began at the beginning of May.
For several weeks, Star sent James angry messages. Instead of talking with James, Star ignored James attempts to clear the air. Then Star took his anger public and outed a teenager as a “danger to society.”
Even though Star wants people to believe he’s not an angry person, his actions do not match his assessment.
Both Star and Westbrook adamantly defended their choice to out James because they said James used his position of power to manipulate and harm others.
Ironically, the two exerted their power and influence to turn the world against James. Instead of talking to James privately, both adults dismissed James repeatedly when he requested communication.
With so much evidence stacked against the two, they both waved their white flags. Neither apologized to James Charles for bullying him. Nor did the adults apologize for using their influence to drive so much hate toward a teenager.
Most telling is that neither adult acknowledged that their bullying and mean behavior drove a 19-year-old to consider suicide. Tati uploaded a statement on Twitter apologizing for her behavior. However, she stuck to her rationalization for calling James out publically.
Interestingly, she admitted her motivation for making the video was fueled by her desire to convince people her anger towards James was not about vitamins.
Tati double downed and said she does not regret “raising her concerns” about James. Her refusal to admit that she lied will further drive people to believe James Charles is a predator without a shred of evidence.
As a writer, this story for me was never about celebrities. No, this story was about bullying plain and simple. Two grown adults attacked a 19-year-old. Through their videos and social media comments, Tati and Jeffree Star fueled a dangerous and harmful narrative that James Charles was a sexual predator.
Neither of the adults ever provided a shred of evidence to support their massive claims they lobbied against him. Instead, they asked people to trust them and wait for more details. However, none of those details ever came forward. James Charles’ exposed their bullying and mean girl tactics by uploading the receipts that everyone needed to see.
Faced with so much backlash and pinned into a corner, both of the adults surrendered. Most troubling in all of this is that Tati and Jeffree likely made millions of dollars by spreading a vicious lie about James Charles.
What saddens me most in the media is that no one has called these two out for their terrible actions. Millions of people continue to follow both of these people.
These grown adults remain influential on YouTube. Children watch their videos and look up to these people as role models.
Absolutely nothing about their behavior is acceptable. Nor should any child emulate their behavior. Sadly, people still believe Tati didn’t lie.
People still think James photoshopped the text messages. Supporters of Jeffree Star are praising him for being so grown up after his latest video.
Bullying is never ok. The cancel culture is toxic and deserves no place in our society. All people deserve the right to live their lives without fear of someone destroying them online through rumors and lies.
If someone uses their platform to expose someone, they need to provide evidence and an argument supporting those claims. Sources need to be cited when huge claims are brought forward.
Interviews with people connected to the story need to happen. Videos, text, and messages need to be shown. However, none of that was done by either adult against James Charles.
We need to remember that accusing people of sexual assault and harassment can effectively end their careers. James Charles will likely rebound after standing up for himself. However, not everyone has the strength or platform like James to defend themselves.
Please be mindful of the words you use against others.
Bullying is toxic and can lead people to commit suicide. Thankfully, James did not go down that dark path.
Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Watch my review of Jeffree Star’s video and comments on this drama:
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis on The Non-Sequitur Channel. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
Communicate with Katie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Merchandise available at Teespring.
Buy Katie Joy a cup of Coffee.
Individuals wishing to help Katie with her expenses can become patrons. Patrons gain exclusive access to stories, new projects, and future books.