- YouTuber James Charles has lost almost 3 million subscribers since fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook posted a video claiming he uses his celebrity status to try to sexually manipulate straight men.
- James made a video apologizing to both Tati and his fans in response.
- Several YouTubers have spoken out, including PewDiePie, Shane Dawson, and Jeffree Star.
- A waiter who Tati says James tried to manipulate also posted a video sharing his story.
Feud Between James and Tati Begins
James Charles has lost millions of subscribers following Tati Westbrook’s “Bye Sister” video, where she explains why she is ending her longtime friendship with James.
The feud between James and Tati publically began on April 22, when James did a sponsored post for Sugar Bear Hair vitamins, a product that is a rival competitor to Tati’s Halo Beauty.
After James did this, Tati posted a tear-filled Instagram story where she did not mention any specific names, but said she felt alone in the industry.
“I’m just so upset,” she said. “I feel really used and that’s the bad part of Hollywood. Welcome to show business. Everybody says what they need to say and uses who they need to use to get ahead. And I’ve had about enough.”
James apologized in an Instagram story, saying that he did not make any money from the post, and that he still takes Halo Beauty daily.
“I want to publically apologize to my close friend Tati,” he wrote. “She has been like a mother to me since my first days in this industry…I did not think about the competition, which was a major oversight. I’ve supported Tati both online and off like she has done for me and I am devastated that I hurt someone that I truly love and have endless respect for.”
A fellow beauty YouTuber, Gabriel Zamora, talked about the drama one of his videos, where he said the situation had been overblown.
“And it’s not even just her crying over vitamins,” he said. “It’s the fact that all these channels are continuously making videos on it, talking about it, making this a thing, like really? Over vitamins?”
Tati’s “Bye Sister” Video
All of this build-up led to Friday, when Tati posted a 43-minute-long video called “Bye Sister.” In the video, she declared her years-long friendship with James over. While she did address the Sugar Bear Hair post, she said that the core of the problem was much deeper than that. She claimed that fame had dramatically changed James.
“Obviously so many of you guys understand this is more than just a sponsored post. It has layers,” she said. There is so much going on with James Charles right now that I do not support. That I do not agree with. Fame, power, and a fat bank account will change almost anyone.“
She then began to directly address James and told him that their relationship was over.
“I don’t think there’s any getting through to you.,” she said. “I don’t want to be friends with you. I don’t want to be associated with you. And I need to say that very publically so that this chapter can be closed.”
Tati went into detail about the help she and her husband offered James when he first moved to Los Angeles, and how they stepped in as parental figures early on in his career. However, she feels that he is not grateful for what they have done for him and has disrespected her and several others in the community. She went on to say she found this behavior especially concerning because of his young audience.
One of the biggest revelations that came out of Tati’s video was the way James Charles uses his fame to talk to men. She said specifically that he uses it as a catalyst to get straight men interested in him.
“Oh my god, you tried to trick a straight man into thinking he’s gay yet again, and somehow, you’re the victim,” she said. “You know, it’s really disgusting to manipulate someone’s sexuality, especially when they are still emerging into adulthood and don’t have everything quite figured out.”
“You are using your fame, your power, your money, to play with people’s emotions. You are threatening to ruin them. You are threatening to embarrass them. And you are doing that to have them behave sexually in your favor even if they are straight. And you know what, that’s not okay.”
She then gave an example and claimed James made comments about the waiter at a restaurant during her birthday dinner.
“You were talking in detail about the things you wanted to do to the waiter.,” Tati explained. “And when I said, ‘James, he’s straight.’ You’re response was. ‘Doesn’t matter, I’m a celebrity.’ So freaking gross.”
She closed the video by saying that ending her friendship with James was painful, but that she has said her peace on the situation and wants to move forward.
James’ Apology Video
Later that day, James posted an eight-minute-long apology video.
“To Tati and James Westbrook, I’m sorry,” he began. “For everything that is going on, for everything that I’ve put you through over the past few weeks.”
He said that Tati, along with her family, gave him support and love starting at an early point in his career. He then told his fans that he was sorry to have disappointed them.
He addressed the vitamin situation, saying he feels bad for having been disloyal to Tati. Then he moved on to discuss the allegations she brought up about the way he interacts with men.
“I’ve learned the hard way about ways that I interact with the boy’s I’m interested in, and also ones that I should or should not be talking to,” he said. “This is a conversation I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with and something I should have been more careful with bringing it to the public eye.”
He also thanked his mother for being a strong figure for him but said he did not want her to defend him, as he feels he should handle this situation on his own.
Subscriber Counts Shift
Since Friday, the fallout for James has been pretty severe. Before Tati’s video, James had around 16.5 million subscribers. As of Monday afternoon, his number had dropped to 13.7 million.
People dropping from James’ circle include big names like the Kardashian and Jenner family, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Shane Dawson, who have all unfollowed him on social media.
Tati, on the other hand, has seen the opposite effect. Before her post, she had about 5.9 million subscribers. By Monday afternoon, she had over 9 million.
Boys Speak Out
Since this massive falling out, which is considered to be the largest subscriber loss in YouTube history, many people have spoken out about James
A boy named Gage said he interacted with James at a point where he was dealing with confusion about his sexuality. He says he told James he was straight, but James still put pressure on him.
“As you all know, this person, 99.9, maybe even 100 percent of the time, goes after heterosexual men,” he said.
Another prominent testimony comes from a boy named Sam Cooke, who appears to be the waiter that mentioned in Tati’s video.
In a recent video, he told the story of his interactions with James starting the night of the dinner party. Cooke said that James tried to get his number several times from other staff members, but it didn’t happen. Cooke then messaged him on Instagram, saying he was bi-curious at the time, but had never done anything with a man before.
James allegedly invited Cooke to his hotel room on his last night in Seattle, where they made out. He says the two stayed in touch after James left.
James eventually invited Cooke to visit him in Los Angeles, saying that he would cover the expenses. However, by this time, Cooke says he felt confident that he was straight, so he declined, which he says upset James.
“His response to me was that he did not think that I was straight,” Cooke said. “He told me that I’m not straight.”
He then showed a message from James, where the YouTuber told him, “You’re not straight no matter how many times you tell yourself.”
Cooke claimes they stopped talking after this, until James invited him to LA again, still trying to tell him he was not straight.
“He still went on to say he thought I was bisexual or gay and attracted to him when I told him different,” Cooke said. “And that kind of went on until we ended it at, I’m legitimately not feeling anything, please stop talking to me.”
Cooke also mentioned Gage, who he says James was talking to at the same time.
“I didn’t want anything to do with him after that,” he said. “After finding out that he was kind of playing two guys, two straight guys, at the same time.”
He then played FaceTime footage showing James admitting to talking to both guys at once, and playing it off like no big deal. When Cooke asked if he had been speaking to Gage, James responded by saying, “Yeah, we were. It’s like, why do you care?”
Cooke ended the video saying he did not post it for fame, but that he felt he needed to share his side of the story.
The story also elicited attention from prominent YouTubers. PewDiePie made a video called “James Charles is canceled.” In it, he declared James had “the biggest oopsie” of 2019 and goes over Tati’s video.
However, he ended up taking a stance more sympathetic to James than most. He said he did not understand why this event specifically would cause James to lose so many subscribers.
“He’s facing the biggest sub drop that has ever happened on YouTube,” he said. “Look at all the controversies that have happened on YouTube. Is this really that comparable?”
He also added that while he does not feel that he fully has a grasp on the whole situation, he did not see why Tati could not have handled the situation privately. PewDiePie brought up the fact that James was allegedly reaching out to drama channels, then showed a screenshot of what he reportedly said to them.
“Until Tati feels comfortable and ready to talk to me in private, I don’t feel comfortable commenting about her publically,” the message read.
Because James allegedly said this, PewDiePie claimed he questioned Tati’s motives.
“I’m not here to defend James Charles, I just don’t think what Tati did is that justified,” he said.
Other YouTubers Side With Tati
Other YouTubers had different takes. Jeffree Star has been tweeting to congratulate Tati on her subscriber count climb since the video was posted.
He also sent a tweet calling James “dangerous.” In another, he addressed James’ brother to say that James was a predator. Both of those tweets have been deleted.
Shane Dawson also spoke out, though he did not take as strong a stance as Jeffree. Dawson, who has recently appeared to be close with Tati, sent out a tweet praising her Halo Beauty line.
FaceApp Addresses Privacy Concerns
- Social media users are downloading a popular Russian-owned app called FaceApp to alter their photos with features like its aging filer.
- However, many have raised concerns about the app’s privacy policies and terms of service, accusing the company of collecting user data to sell to third parties or share with Russia.
- The company released a statement saying it does not do either of those things.
- However, other concerns about the app and what it specifically does with user data still exist.
FaceApp Challenge Goes Viral
FaceApp is a Russian app that uses artificial intelligence to alter photos of people’s faces. The app is two years old, but a recent FaceApp challenge has prompted the app to trend again. Users are posting photos of themselves with an aging filter that adds a few decades of wrinkles to their faces.
The trend has caught on with celebrities, many of whom have posted their own photos. Drake showed us what promo for his farewell tour might look like.
The Jonas Brothers gave us a glimpse of the year 3000.
Scooter Braun showed the damage a Taylor Swift controversy might do to your skin.
Here’s what Lil Nas X might look like after severe back pain stops him from taking his horse down the old town road.
We also got a peek of what Piers Morgan might look like in a month or so.
Celebrity photos and jokes aside, there is actually a big controversy surrounding FaceApp and the access it has to information on users’ phones. Many voiced their concerns on Twitter, though much of the fears turned out to be speculation.
Developer Joshua Nozzi said that he believed the app might be “uploading all your photos.”
Others brought up the app’s Russian ownership.
“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you,” the policy reads.
This essentially means that the app can take your photos and use them on their own. Many say that this could mean content could get used for marketing purposes.
“We use third-party analytics tools to help us measure traffic and usage trends for the Service,” the policy states. “These tools collect information sent by your device or our Service, including the web pages you visit, add-ons, and other information that assists us in improving the Service.”
The policy also says that while it will not sell your data to third parties, it can “share certain information such as cookie data with third-party advertising partners.”
FaceApp Addresses Concerns
FaceApp gave a statement to TechCrunch on Wednesday about some of the app’s policies to clarify some of the rumors spreading online.
FaceApp said that photos are processed in the cloud, but it debunked Nozzi’s theory that it was downloading all photos from your camera roll.
“FaceApp performs most of the photo processing in the cloud,” their statement reads. “We only upload a photo selected by a user for editing. We never transfer any other images from the phone to the cloud.”
At the bottom of the statement, they linked to Nozzi’s tweet, which has now been deleted, specifically to drive their point home.
“We don’t do that. We upload only a photo selected for editing. You can quickly check this with any of network sniffing tools available on the internet.”
The statement went on to say: “We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.”
The statement said that the company accepts requests from users to remove all their data from its servers. They also added that the app’s features are available without logging in and said that 99% of users don’t log in, meaning that in most cases, they don’t have access to any data that could identify a person.
In its final points, the company confirmed that it does not sell data to third parties, and does not transfer information to Russia.
Many don’t think the statement answered enough questions. For example, it did not address the app’s right to use your data, which is mentioned in the terms of service, or other marketing concerns.
However, outlets like the Independent have noted that this is “fairly standard within such apps.”
Back in 2017, the chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, David Vaile, spoke to the Australia Broadcasting Company about this lack of transparency.
“They ask for way more rights than they need to offer the service to you,” Vaile said. “It is impossible to tell from this what happens when you upload it, that is the problem. The licence is so lax.”
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (Mashable) (Tech Crunch)
Man Kills 17-Year-Old Bianca Devins and Posts Photos Online
- On Sunday 17-year-old Bianca Devins was murdered and her alleged killer posted graphic photos of her body online.
- He also posted cryptic and incriminating messages to his Instagram story and called police making comments alluding to both the murder and potential self-harm.
- He is being treated for serious injuries after slitting his neck and has been charged with second-degree murder.
- #RIPBianca began trending online, with people sharing condolences and speaking out about this type of violence.
Bianca Devins Killed
After a 17-year-old girl was murdered, graphic photos of her taken by her suspected killer circulated on online forums.
Bianca Devins was a micro-influencer in Utica, New York, who, according to reports, had around 6,000 followers at the time of her death. She was known as an e-girl who posted about video games and other online content.
In a statement, the Utica Police Department confirmed that she was killed on Sunday morning. According to authorities, she and a 21-year-old man went to a concert together on Saturday night. On the way back, they got into an argument, which continued until they arrived back in Utica early on Sunday.
The situation ended with the man pulling out a knife and stabbing Devins.
“During this time it is believed that he took and distributed photographs of the killing on the Discord platform,” the statement reads. “Members of Discord then viewed the images and posts and contacted the Utica Police Department. We can confirm that the images distributed of both the victim and the offender’s injuries are authentic and occurred at the time of the incident.”
According to other reports, the photos were also posted on Instagram and 4chan.
The man then called 911 himself making comments alluding to the murder, as well as comments about harming himself. When officers arrived at the scene, he began stabbing himself in the neck.
An officer also noticed a tarp at the scene, with brown hair sticking out from underneath.
“The male advised him that the female was beneath the tarp, and proceeded to pull out a cell phone,” the statement continues. “It was at this time that is believed that the male took self-photographs of himself laying across the deceased female.”
Officers were able to disarm the man, who was taken to the hospital with severe injuries but is expected to survive. He has been charged with second-degree murder.
The police investigation is ongoing and officers are still trying to figure out the nature of Devins’ relationship with the suspected killer. According to their statement, they met online two months ago. However, some reports have identified him as her boyfriend, some say he was a man who was obsessed with her, and others call him a family friend.
Devins’ family released a statement about the tragic news saying she “was a talented artist, a loving sister, daughter, and cousin, and a wonderful young girl, taken from us all too soon.”
“We are very grateful for the outpouring of love and sympathy we have received from our Friends, Family, Bianca’s Friends and the whole community,” the statement added. “Your prayers help to strengthen us through this difficult time.”
Photos Circulate Online
The story blew up on social media, with many focusing on the photos shared of the killing, as well as other social posts from the alleged murderer.
The photo of Devins that was posted to Discord was reportedly captioned with, “sorry fuckers, you’re going to have to find somebody else to orbit.” Orbiting is a phrase that refers to a “non-alpha male” who idolizes and pedestalizes a woman in hopes of pursuing her.
BuzzFeed News obtained screenshots of very cryptic messages he allegedly posted to his Instagram story that night. One included a quote from the movie Fight Club that says, “this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”
Another photo posted to his Instagram story said, “Here comes hell. It’s redemption, right?”
BuzzFeed News and the Washington Post obtained screenshots that allegedly came from his Discord and show him saying “subscribe to Pewdiepie.”
BuzzFeed News also obtained screenshots of his Instagram bio before his account was taken down. It was updated to include a lifespan that read “10/06/1997-7/14/19,” which notably marked Sunday as his date of death. It also said, “just know that I feel no pain now.”
Instagram gave a statement to Rolling Stone saying they removed his account.
“We have also taken steps to prevent others from re-uploading the content posted to that account to Instagram,” they added.
Discord also gave Rolling Stone a statement about the news.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this terrible situation,” their spokesperson said. “We are working closely with law enforcement to provide any assistance we can. In the meantime, our hearts go out to Bianca’s family and loved ones.”
#RIPBianca Trends Online
The story also created the hashtag #RIPBianca, which began trending on Twitter. People are using it to share their condolences and to speak out against violence of this nature.
Many are also commenting messages on Devins’ Instagram, which has gained over 100,000 followers, sharing messages of love and saying “Rest in Peace.”
However, the comment section has also brought out an ugly side of the Internet. Some users are commenting that they have the graphic photos available on their profile.
Others are fighting back against users victim-blaming Devins, claiming she “literally had it coming” for meeting men online and allegedly leading them on.
“What happened to bianca is absolutely sickening and the way the internet is responding is almost just as sick,” one comment reads.
“She didn’t deserve it or have it coming. she was a child,” said another.
Editors Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.
VidCon Apologizes for Miles McKenna Deadnaming Incident
- YouTuber Miles McKenna was misgendered and deadnamed at VidCon by someone moderating a panel about LGBT activism and awareness.
- Deadnaming is referring to a person by their birth name or the name they went by before transitioning or changing their name.
- McKenna criticized VidCon on Twitter for choosing a moderator to lead an LGBT panel who did not better understand trans issues.
- VidCon, Hank Green, and the moderator, Stevie Wynne Levine, have apologized for the incident and said they hope issues like this can serve as a learning lesson for those who are unfamiliar with how to properly address their trans and nonbinary friends when referring to times that came before their transitions or name changes.
Miles McKenna Calls Out VidCon
VidCon has apologized after YouTuber Miles McKenna was misgendered and deadnamed during a panel about activism in the LGBT community.
On Sunday, the YouTuber tweeted that a panel moderator used female pronouns and deadnamed him when speaking about him. To “deadname” someone means to refer to a person by their birth name, or the name they went by before transitioning or changing their name.
The panel he is referring to was also hosted in partnership with The Trevor Project, an organization that benefits LGBTQ youth. According to McKenna, The Trevor Project was the only group to immediately reach out and apologize.
He then explained that his main frustration was that VidCon should be finding moderators who know how to discuss the panel’s topics properly.
Support For McKenna
Many people responded to the issue with online support for McKenna, including The Trevor Project. The organization issued a public apology, noting that what happened to McKenna is both “hurtful and invalidating” to transgender and non-binary people.
Other creators also chimed in to reach out, like Thomas Sanders and Damon Fizzy.
I am incredibly sorry that happened, Miles— Thomas Sanders (@ThomasSanders) July 15, 2019
that’s horrible. i’m sorry that happened to you! 🙁— Damon Fizzy. (@deefizzy) July 15, 2019
Other Twitter users expressed frustration that this happened to McKenna. Many wondered how he was deadnamed in the first place, seeing as his name is on all of his social media platforms. Others asked for VidCon to issue an apology.
@hankgreen @TheMilesMcKenna This seems really weird though. It seems like a difficult mistake to make? It’s not like Miles’s deadname is the name everyone commonly comes across when looking up Miles McKenna? It’s clearly a “Dead”name. Don’t use that. Use the name you tweeted out.— Reinier Miles (@ReinierDays) July 14, 2019
VidCon tweeted an apology, saying they would reach out to McKenna privately.
McKenna posted on his Instagram story confirming plans to speak with VidCon.
Hank Green, who is one of VidCon’s founders, also responded to McKenna’s tweet saying that he would DM him. He later tweeted a thread about the situation. Green acknowledged that as a cisgender and heterosexual man, he still has room to grow when it comes to LGBTQ issues.
He then explained that in no situation should a person deadname someone, regardless of the time of their life you are referring to.
He closed by saying that everyone “is learning all the time” and said that by talking about these issues on big platforms, we have opportunities to educate one another.
The moderator of the panel, Stevie Wynne Levine also apologized. She said she was sorry to have hurt McKenna and is heartbroken over the situation.
“I have been an out and proud member and advocate of the LGBTQ+ community for over a decade- spreading messages of love and support for those in my community,” she wrote.
She also explained that this was an unintentional mistake and provided context on how she deadnamed and misgendered McKenna.
“I took my role seriously, worked hard to research the best way to communicate the issues facing our queer community, as well as the participants that were on the panel,” Levine said.
“I understood from our conversation prior to the panel that telling the story of when we spoke back in 2014, about casting you in a female-led series, was OK. I regret not specifically asking you if I could reference your deadname in relation to the story, but the truth is- I really, really didn’t know.”