YouTube star and beauty guru James Charles has now lost nearly three million subscribers — including several celebrities — in the two days since a bitter feud with fellow makeup artist Tati Westbrook was made public.
The 19-year-old, who has worked with big name brands like CoverGirl and A-listers like Kylie Jenner, has watched his career falter since Friday, when his former mentor criticized him in a 43-minute video in which she listed the reasons she decided to end their years-long friendship.
Tati, 37, said that James’ choice to promote a competitor to her own company was just the latest example of bad behavior — which included James making advances on men he knew to be straight, manipulating others’ sexuality, and speaking crassly about sex in front of her friends and family.
Sparring: Beauty guru and YouTube star James Charles (right) has lost nearly three million followers in just days after a bitter feud with Tati Westbrook (left) was made public
Oh no! James and Kylie Jenner (pictured) collaborated on a video together this year, and while it was reported she had recently unfollowed him, her spokesperson confirmed she never did
James had 16.57 million YouTube subscribers before the feud was made public. But as of 10:30 ET Monday morning, he is down to just 13.84 — with the number still steadily declining by the minute.
The feud has inspired a number of celebrities to unfollow James from YouTube. According to Metro, these include Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Iggy Azalea, and Shawn Mendes.
However, a spokesperson for Kylie confirmed to DailyMail.com that the beauty mogul never followed James on social media, despite the fact that the pair appeared in a YouTube video together, in which Kylie was even wearing James’ merchandise.
But what, exactly, inspired people to abandon the popular YouTuber in droves?
Fans have become disenchanted with James after Tati uploaded a lengthy diatribe against him, in which she not only slammed him for being disloyal, but also charged that he would make explicitly sexual comments about men he knew to be straight as well as manipulate straight men into sexual relationships.
And she isn’t the only one either: After her video was posted, singer Zara Larsson commented to share her own experience, saying James hit on her boyfriend Brian H. Whittaker.
Singer Zara Larsson also said James ‘hit up my boyfriend in the dms several times knowing damn well he’s straight’ (Zara pictured with boyfriend)
‘I’m cackling cause he hit up my boyfriend in the dms several times knowing damn well he’s straight,’ she wrote.
Later, she amended the comment: ‘I feel like deleting this cause I checked and it wasn’t several times, only one dm and some comments under pictures.’
But the entire drama has been a long, winding story about two people who used to be close.
James and Tati had enjoyed a years-long friendship, with Tati driving traffic toward James’ pages and praising him in videos.
But their feud began when James attended the Coachella music festival on April 22 and promoted Sugar Bear Hair vitamins on his Instagram Story.
The company — which promises to strengthen and add shine to hair — is in direct competition with Tati’s supplements, Halo Beauty, a brand James said previously wasn’t the right fit for his young followers.
Tati, who helped bolster and grow James’ career, was left frustrated and posted videos in her own Instagram Stories about feeling ‘betrayed.’
The feud began when James attended Coachella on April 22 and promoted Sugar Bear Hair vitamins — a competitor of Tati’s own supplement brand
Heartbroken: Tati was frustrated by the videos and posted about feeling ‘betrayed’ shortly after
‘When you do so much for people in your life and they not only don’t return the favor, but they just don’t even see you … I’m just so upset. I feel really used,’ she said through tears, but didn’t mention James by name.
Yet James guessed that the anonymous ‘betrayal’ she referred to was his own, and released a statement on his own Stories.
‘I want to publicly apologize to my close friend Tati,’ he said. ‘She has been like a mother to me since my first days in this industry and has given me more love, support, resources, and advice than I could ever ask for.
‘This weekend I did an Instagram Story for vitamins that I’ve been taking because the brand helped me with security when the crowd around me at Coachella became unsafe. I did not accept any money from this post.’
Whether it was paid or not, beauty bloggers like Gabriel Zamora jumped to James’ defense, saying that Tati had no right to be angry over the vitamins.
This is ultimately what led Tati, who goes by @GlamLifeGuru, to release a lengthy video entitled ‘Bye Sister’ on May 10 — the damning tirade that has now sparked a huge follower loss for her former protégé.
In the clip, she not only calls him out for being ungrateful and disrespectful, she also makes some startling accusations about James’ sex life.
Sad story: She cried on camera and said she felt really ‘used’ but didn’t name James in the clips
So over: As the drama became fodder for fans, Tati uploaded a more planned-out video in which she discussed the reasons she is ending her relationship with James
Done: She accused him of being selfish, having a big ego, and other bad behavior. What’s more, she leveled serious charges about his sexual behavior
Speaking about the vitamin promotion incident, she said: ‘James Charles, he had nine days after Coachella to talk to me, he knows where I live — he could have come face-to-face and chatted with me because he knew that this would hurt me.’
‘I have finally had enough,’ Tati told her own 5.8 million followers, explaining why she has decided to end her relationship with him.
Tati said that she was hurt not only that he promoted a rival brand, but that he didn’t come to her immediately after to apologize, when he realized it had upset her.
She also revealed that in the past, James had promised her that he would support her and her brand, and she said he’d even slammed the Sugar Bear Hair vitamins he went on to promote.
‘We’ve had plenty of conversations at length about other influencers doing the same deal, and him not liking Sugar Bear Hair, and dragging the other people, and being like, “Tati, I’m on your side, you’ve got me, I will support you, yes mom, you’ve got my loyalty,”‘ she said.
But she added that to flip on a dime was ‘pretty typical’ of his behavior.
‘From the time that I met him when he was 17, before he really had taken off on YouTube at all, I know that he has a way of just getting what he wants. And I’ve always just blamed it on his age,’ she said.
But she seems to feel that being 19 is not a good enough excuse for some of the things he’s done.
Serious stuff: She said James (pictured at the Met Gala) ‘tried to trick a straight man into thinking he’s gay’ and ‘manipulates’ people’s sexuality
Damage control: James responded to the video with a quickly prepared eight minute segment in which he apologized for his actions
Taking sides: Though James has lost millions of followers, Tati has gained more
‘Fame, power, and a fat bank account will change almost anyone,’ she said, adding that she ‘really tried’ to be a good influence in James’ life but failed.
‘I don’t think there’s any getting through to you and I don’t want to be friends with you, I don’t want to be associated with you, and I need to say that really publicly so that this chapter can just be closed.’
She had quite a few other scathing remarks.
‘His ego is so big that he will think that everything is about him,’ she said, adding: ‘Get off your high horse and have some respect. You don’t have any for the people who’ve been in this industry longer than you and that’s the sad fact.’
But it wasn’t just selfishness and lack of professional respect that upset Tati. Midway through her video, she shared how James would use sexuality to manipulate people.
‘He said some things, telling me about a situation that happened in Seattle at my birthday, and it literally made me want to vomit,’ she said.
‘Oh my god, you tried to trick a straight man into thinking he’s gay, yet again, and somehow you’re the victim.
‘I hate knowing that I disappointed not only my fans, but two people that have been role models for me doing this,’ James said, referencing Tati and her husband
‘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 people’s emotions,’ she said. ‘You’re threatening to ruin them, you’re threatening to embarrass them, and you’re doing that to have them behave sexually in your favor, even if they’re straight.
‘And that’s not OK, that behavior is not OK, whether you’re a woman, a man, gay, straight, bi, whatever sexual orientation you are, that is your call. It is not someone else’s to take, it is not someone else’s to play with… and how dare you laugh about it.
‘Cracking someone’s sexuality is a not an escape room,’ she said.
She said he also acted inappropriately at her birthday dinner, ‘talking in detail about things [he] wanted to do to the waiter.’
‘And when I said, “James, he’s straight,” your response was, “Doesn’t matter, I’m a celebrity.” So freaking gross. And you said that in front of my family.
She said she had to call them up the next morning to apologize on his behalf because it was ‘so uncomfortable’.
Drama! There are thousands of tweets creating ‘memes’ out of the beauty feud
The video has been viewed a whopping 34 million times since May 10. In the aftermath, Tati has also gained 3.3 million followers, boosting her subscriber count to 9.15 million.
And both those new followers, and long-loyal ones, were quick to comment beneath her video in support of Tati.
One of those commenters was Zara Larsson, who confirmed Tati’s charge of shady behavior toward straight men.
Singer Olivia O’Brien also tweeted in response to what Zara said about James flirting with her boyfriend, tweeting: ‘Same, sister. S***’s wild.’
Makeup artist and beauty aficionado Jeffree Star tweeted his support for Tati, saying that everything she said ‘is 100 per cent true’.
‘There is a reason that Nathan banned Charles from ever coming over to our home again,’ he said. ‘There’s a reason why I haven’t seen him since Tati’s birthday in February.’
Here for her: Makeup artist and beauty aficionado Jeffree Star tweeted his support for Tati saying that everything she said ‘is 100 per cent true’
Celebs leaving: Kim Kardashian appeared on James’ channel with her makeup artist Mario
Is it over? James Charles has worked with Iggy Azalea in the past as well (pictured right)
Jeffree also said that his boyfriend Nathan banned James from coming to their home and called him ‘a danger to society.’
James responded to the video with an eight minute segment in which he apologized for his actions.
‘I hate knowing that I disappointed not only my fans, but two people that have been role models for me doing this,’ he said, referencing Tati and her husband.
‘What sucks the most is that I know there’s nothing I can say or do to ever earn that friendship or trust back but I don’t blame them for it.
‘A lot of the time when I’ve had to address things in the past, I’ve acted out of impulse and I’ve gone off and tried to pull receipts or facts or screenshots and play the victim and I’m not doing that today, I’m not. That is all I have to say, I’m sorry.’
This isn’t James’ first brush with controversy. In 2017 he made an insensitive tweet about contracting Ebola and in his apology for the tweet, called the continent a country.