- 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.
YouTuber Agrees to Pay Families After One Girl Dies and Another Suffers Major Burns in “Copycat” Experiment
- One Chinese teen died and another Chinese girl suffered severe burns after they tried to replicate a DIY popcorn making experiment that resulted in the explosion of a two-pound bottle of condensed industrial alcohol.
- Because she posted a similar video in March 2017, Chinese YouTuber Ms Yeah was then accused of inspiring the girls to replicate the experiment.
- Ms Yeah denied inspiring the girls, saying they used different videos than her own, but she agreed to compensate both families involved, saying she would help the families “regardless of who was right and who was wrong.”
Ms Yeah’s Popcorn Experiment
Chinese YouTuber Zhou Xiaohui, better known as Ms Yeah, has agreed to compensate two families after they claimed their daughters attempted to copy her viral video, resulting in one dying and the other surviving with severe burns.
Ms Yeah, who boasts nearly 7.5 million followers on YouTube, uses everyday items found in the workplace to cook traditional Chinese dishes and other foods.
The video in question—a feature on making popcorn—was originally posted in March 2017 and has since been deleted, but copies have circulated on YouTube. In addition to that video, Ms Yeah said she will delete any videos she thinks might potentially be dangerous.
In the video, Ms Yeah can be seen cutting a Pepsi can and placing it onto a hot plate, which rests over what appears to be an alcohol burner. She then fills the can with popcorn kernels, salt, and butter and lights the burner with a match.
An Experiment Gone Wrong
While the end result for Ms Yeah was a bowl of popcorn, the families of the two girls say things ended much differently, with several photos of burnt or destroyed cans showing part of the aftermath.
On Aug. 22, the girls were reportedly playing in at a home in the eastern Chinese city of Zaozhuang while their parents were at work. Around 3:30 p.m., the girls discovered the experiment on the Chinese version of TikTok and decided to replicate it.
Their initial attempt reportedly failed, prompting on the girls to pour alcohol directly onto an open flame housed in a tin can, which then exploded.
The spark then reportedly caused a two-pound bucket of nearby condensed industrial alcohol to also explode, leading to the severe injuries.
The survivor—a 12-year-old girl identified as Xiaoyu—will need cosmetic surgery, according to her family. Also according to her father, she has accumulated high hospital bills and refuses to leave her home because of her burns. A picture that circulated on the Chinese social media site Weibo reportedly shows the girl in the hospital with severe burns and casts on her arms and legs.
Her friend—identified as 14-year-old Zhezhe—reportedly suffered burns to 96% of her body, later dying on Sep. 5.
Ms Yeah Compensates Families
Ms Yeah has denied the girls were attempting to replicate her video, in spite of paying compensation and the families’ claims. She claims the girls were using a different method than what was depicted in her video. Other videos showcasing alternative methods for DIY popcorn—similar to accounts given about the girls’ own experiment—do exist on YouTube, some with millions of views.
“I used only one tin can and an alcohol lamp, which is safer,” Ms Yeah said in a Sept. 10 Weibo post. “In [their video] we could clearly see that they used two cans and not a lamp.”
Ms Yeah also said her videos are not to be interpreted as instructional, and according to the BBC, she said she has included “Do not attempt” warnings on her videos since March 2017; however, more recent content of Ms Yeah using alcohol lamps to cook crab and make an espresso notably do not contain any such warnings in their videos.
Ms Yeah’s cousin and representative said the creator would help the families “regardless of who was right and who was wrong.”
It is unknown to what extent Ms Yeah will compensate the families.
Ms Yeah has described learning of the events as “the darkest day of my life” and said she’s felt “immense pain” from the girls’ injuries, further apologizing to her followers and saying she “let everyone down.”
Despite this, she has had to respond to multiple accusations on social media that she is a “murderer.” In her apology post, Ms Yeah asked her followers not to accuse people of murder.
Ms Yeah’s cousin later told media she has been under “immense stress” in recent days and suspects she may be “sinking into depression.”
See what others are saying: (Sixth Tone) (South China Morning Post) (INSIDER)
Instagram Restricts Posts Promoting Diet and Cosmetic Surgery Products
- Instagram is restricting users under the age of 18 from viewing ads promoting weight loss and cosmetic procedures. The platform is also removing posts that make miraculous claims about dieting.
- Actress and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil celebrated the policy change.
- Jamil has criticized celebrities like Kim Kardashian for promoting these types of products in the past, saying it has a negative impact on young followers.
Instagram Changes Policy
Instagram has changed a community guideline policy to prevent its younger users from seeing content that promotes diet and weight-loss products.
Users who are known to the platform to be under the age of 18 will no longer be allowed to view posts for dieting products or cosmetic procedures that include a listed price or incentive to purchase. The site will also remove all posts that make a “miraculous” claim about weight loss and include a coupon code or other commercial elements.
According to Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, this policy became effective when it was announced on Wednesday and will be applied on both Instagram and Facebook.
Promoting these kinds of products has become a major part of influencer culture on the social media site. Prominent celebrities like Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Cardi B have all received backlash for advertising highly-criticized rapid-weight-loss remedies.
Instagram’s Public Policy Manager, Emma Collins, spoke to the Evening Standard about how this policy change will affect these big names.
“If [a Kardashian’s] Instagram post is pulled into the policy of promoting diet products or procedures for sale it will be removed,” she said. “The Kardashians are people we continue to have collaborative conversations with, they’ll be made aware of the change.”
Collins also released a statement addressing the larger reasons behind the change, saying Instagram wants their site to be a “positive place.”
“We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media,” she said.
Some Twitter users have shared that they have already been blocked from old posts by Kim Kardashian due to the new age barrier. Instagram is also encouraging users to report content they feel violates the new policy, and says they will be adding new reporting tools specifically for this matter.
Wow that was fast. This Kim Kardashian flat tummy shake post from January is now only accessible if you’re logged into Instagram and listed as over-18. pic.twitter.com/67rEv4uqpJ— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) September 18, 2019
Jameela Jamil Responds
The decision was applauded by many, including actress and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil. Jamil has led the social media charge against these weight-loss tactics by frequently calling out stars like the Kardashians for promoting them to their younger fans. Jamil has spilled the skinny tea on what some of the products might actually do to your body, including cause sicknesses like diarrhea. She started the social media campaign “I Weigh” in 2018 to promote body positivity and inclusivity on Instagram.
Jamil called Instagram’s new policy “huge news” in a post celebrating the matter.
“@i_weigh are changing the world together,” she wrote. “After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts.”
The Good Place star went on to say that she had been working with people at Instagram all year to accomplish this and praised them for the passion.
//www.instagram.com/embed.jsView this post on Instagram
THIS IS HUGE NEWS. @i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts. As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report. I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible. ❤️
“This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved,” Jamil added. “WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible.”
On Twitter, Jamil also implied that with this victory in hand, she is going to continue fighting.
See what others are saying: (Evening Standard) (The Guardian) (The Verge)
YouTube Will No Longer Count Ad Views for 24-Hour Music Records
- YouTube said it will no longer count views from paid advertising in its calculations for YouTube Music charts and 24-hour debut records.
- The move came after YouTube did not congratulate Indian rapper Badshah for seemingly breaking the single-day viewing record.
- Badshah admitted to paying for promotional ads and several media reports found that the practice was actually commonly used in the music industry to inflate views.
- Critics argued that the strategy created financial hurdles for new artists and raised questions about real popularity.
Ad Views No Longer Count
YouTube announced a new policy Friday that changes the way the platform counts views from purchased ads in its one-day record reports, a practice that has faced massive criticism over the last few months
“In an effort to provide more transparency to the industry and align with the policies of official charting companies such as Billboard and Nielsen, we are no longer counting paid advertising views on YouTube in the YouTube Music Charts calculation,” the company said in a blog post.
“Artists will now be ranked based on view counts from organic plays,” it continued.
The change extends only to YouTube’s music charts and the reporting of 24-hour views. Advertising money can still be put towards increasing views, and the public view counter will still reflect views that were paid for.
Before the changes, many artists and record labels would pay to run songs as YouTube ads, which boosted viewership and increased the artist’s odds of topping the YouTube Music charts.
However, YouTube executives might have decided to rethink how it records single-day views after it faced backlash over its former policy earlier this year.
YouTube faced intense scrutiny in July when Indian rapper Badshah racked up 75 million views in 24 hours on his music video for the song “Paagal.” The numbers seemingly broke the single-day viewing record set by K-pop superstars BTS in April, but YouTube did not acknowledge the achievement.
YouTube has a history of honoring artists for setting viewing records. It congratulated musicians like BTS, Blackpink, Taylor Swift, and Ariana Grande when they set records on the site, so naturally, many were confused by the company’s silence.
Badshah made no secret that his team spent heavily on promotional ads, which he admitted to on Instagram. He even suggested YouTube’s lack of praise presented a double standard between the way the site treats mainstream global superstars like Swift and Grande, and artists who aren’t as popular in the West.
As of now, it’s unclear how many paid-ad views make up the total views for Badshah’s video, which currently sits at over 161 million. YouTube’s spokesperson told Forbes that the video-sharing platform doesn’t “comment on specific view sources for videos.”
“We have always taken into account a number of factors, including the volume of paid advertising views on YouTube,” they added. “Based on our long-time criteria, Badshah did not qualify for our 24 hour debut records list.”
However, for many people, the interesting issue became the focus on the ad purchasing policy itself. The practice created doubts about the real popularity of the videos and brought new attention to industry marketing tactics. It also sparked conversations about how this tactic changes the landscape for new talent and creates a financial barrier for growth.
A report from Rolling Stone said that the practice was common in the Latin Music industry, reporting that companies like Sony Latin and Universal Latin have been known to shell out between $20,000 to $60,000 in the first 24 hours. In more extreme cases, the companies would spend as much as $100,000, which could result in more than 12 million additional views.
“There is definitely money being spent on views,” Tomas Cookman, founder and CEO of the independent Latin label Nacional told Rolling Stone. “Is it fair to pay to have all those perceived views on a video? Probably not. But any time there’s a system, there’s going to be some manipulation of that system. And whoever tells you there isn’t is probably doing it.”
The report also said the ad strategy was likely more utilized outside of the U.S. because of the cost difference. One Latin label employee estimated that $1,000 on ads might bring in 250,000 to 500,000 views from countries in Latin and South America, meanwhile, the cost per view in the U.S would be five to ten times as much. The cheapest views reportedly came from countries like Turkey, the Philippines, and India.
YouTube’s changes won’t necessarily mean fewer video ads since ads still allow for greater exposure. However, it could push the industry to think critically about how to place those ads for long-term success, rather than just spam users with them for the first 24 hours to inflate views and create a false sense of popularity.