Man, it seems like we (meaning people in the beauty community) can’t go more than a couple months without someone with a massive following acting like a huge douchenozzle.
This time, it’s James Charles. If you don’t know who this kid is, good on you. I wish I didn’t. He’s a vlogger, makeup artist, model, and Morphe shill and apparently clothing designer. He makes annoying YouTube videos where he calls everyone “sister”.
I don’t like to discount the accomplishments of people younger than I am, but I’ve disliked James since he hit the scene a few years ago. He rose to prominence on YouTube and within eight months of starting his channel, he landed a deal as the first male spokesmodel for CoverGirl. He was a whopping 17 years old. Sure, that’s impressive as hell, and while I am envious (who wouldn’t be?), I wouldn’t discount his success if he wasn’t such a braggy, entitled little prick.
He grew up in a small town in Albany County, NY. I currently live in this county so I’m pretty familiar with the area. His face first hit the mainstream media when he decided to have his school photos retaken, with his own lighting, because he didn’t like the way his highlight looked. Now, reshoots happened occasionally when I was in school back in the day, but this dude actually contacted the portrait studio to ask to take them over again. At the time I assumed he was being cheeky and thought it was funny, but since he’s made a career out of being extra, now I wonder. And I wonder how the conversation with the studio actually went down. He did have that “I’d like to speak to a manager” haircut at the time.
Lest we not forget all of the other problematic bullshit this kid has been involved with: saying he’s not all the way gay because he’s been into trans guys (because trans guys are GUYS, so hello transphobia), his racist-ass tweet about going to Africa and getting Ebola, and his “Don’t you know who I am?” bullshit at a Patrick Starr meet and greet right after he landed the CoverGirl contract. Oh, and he expects Tinder to adjust their verification policies just for him: he wants them to verify his identity but doesn’t want the same verified checkmark as other celebrities, but he wants to keep telling people he’s James Charles. This results in him being flagged as a fraud, and rather than following the site’s policies, he just verbally abuses them on Twitter.
Sure thing pal, I’m sure they’re really likely to do you a favor after being told in a public forum that they fucking suck for not giving you exactly what you want.
That last bit especially rubs me the wrong way; I happen to work for a different dating site, and the people who act like this are generally the worst users. They’re the ones emailing us to complain that they aren’t presented with their one true love the minute they log in. Why are fat/old/foreign/omnivore/trans/bisexual/etc. people allowed to look at my profile?! DO YOUR JOBS AND MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR FROM MY LIFE.
So, yeah, I dislike this kid intensely. And in a move that shouldn’t have shocked anyone, duder went to Coachella and did something shitty.
Let’s be honest: can any good story about love and friendship and loyalty really begin with “So, James Charles went to Coachella…”? I think not.
Anyway, James Charles, Coachella, whatever. While there he did what he does best and shilled a shitty product because CHA-CHING.
His pal Tati, who also isn’t someone I watch or have any particular affinity for, got butthurt because the product he was shilling was a supplement, and doesn’t homegirl have her own line of supplements? And why is her BFF shilling for her competition? So she made a video tearing him apart for everything from being a bad friend to basically using his power and influence to coerce and outright manipulate straight men into having sex with him.
Now, I thought the whole thing was sophomoric and petty until that point. That’s some #metoo shit if I ever heard it sister.
So this brings up some interesting questions: first and foremost, has this been a long time pattern of behavior for James? Based on old tweets it seems like a possibility. He at least has a penchant for straight dudes, which is fine I guess, but there’s no need to be predatory about it. And according to James’ Coachella date, predatory is a pretty accurate way of describing it.
Secondly, if this was a long-standing pattern, why didn’t anyone say anything? It’s not like Tati is the only person with a personal relationship with James. Why didn’t anyone tell him that it’s not ok? Using power and influence to gain sex and relationships is abhorrent, especially when the people aren’t even interested in your gender. It’s so gross, it makes my skin crawl.
In true influencer fashion, James made an apology video, which also made him 90 minutes late to an event in Australia where people who still like him paid actual money to see him. It’s not even a good video; he looks like hell, honestly, but like he says, he just rolled out of bed. Nothing like snoozing that alarm clock when you have people waiting to see you and apologies to make. Within the first 10 seconds of this video, it’s painfully obvious how lacking in sincerity he is. He’s not quite Kat Von D bad, but he seriously gives no fucks. He also calls Tati “parental”. She’s the same age I am, and if some 19 year old said I was like their mom I might bitch slap them, but maybe that’s just me.
So now what? James is doubling down and coming back with “receipts” about Tati, Jefree Star had to get involved because OF COURSE HE DID and canceled the Sister’s clothing line… where does it end? James is on tour and people are paying actual human money to go see him; his show in my home city, and the one in his home city, have already sold out, so it’s not like he’s going to stop and think to himself, “Huh, maybe that was shitty.” He still has people stanning for him.
Which actually brings up another good point: his audience is between 10 and 14 years old. What are they learning from all of this? Are they learning that terrible, predatory behavior is fine with a big enough social media following? Or that real, genuine apologies don’t matter as long as you say you’re sorry in a public forum?