- 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.
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.