- Over the weekend massive beauty YouTubers Tati Westbrook, James Charles, and Jeffree Star all posted their own videos further addressing the fallout since Tati’s original video ending her friendship with James.
- Tati said she regretted the way the situation unfolded after her initial video prompted millions to unsubscribe from James and caused many to accuse him of being a “sexual predator.”
- James released several screenshots to defended himself against a variety of topics, including the Sugar Bear Hair vitamin situation and the allegations against him involving the way he treats straight men.
- Jeffree said he regretted inserting himself into the situation and both he and Tati said they want the public drama to end and will no longer comment on the situation.
- James’s subscriber count has been steadily increasing since his video, with him now back up at 14.8 million.
Tati Says She Never Expected This Reaction
Tati Westbrook, James Charles, and Jeffree Star have all posted videos addressing the massive scandal in the beauty community, which was initially started by Tati’s “Bye Sister” Video, where she ended her friendship with James.
On Thursday, Tati posted a video called “Why I Did it …” where she explained her reactions to the fallout that has happened since she “exposed” James. She said that she did not expect the story to blow up to the degree that it did and expected most of the backlash to be directed towards her.
“I thought that I would be the one that would take the hit,” she said. “I thought I was going against millions and millions of subscribers…If I could give all of the success back and all of the subscribers back, I would.”
She also said that she did not want people to attack James, adding that it is hard for her to see a lot of negativity on the internet targeted towards him.
“I want you guys to know that I don’t hate James Charles,” she said. “I don’t want you guys hating on him. I can’t even go online right now. It’s painful to see someone that you have cared about be dragged.”
James Brings Receipts
Then on Saturday, James posted a 40-minute video titled “No More Lies.”
He started it off by standing by his initial apology video, which received a lot of backlash from viewers. He then went on to address all of the allegations that Tati made against him, using a lot of receipts.
First, he dove into the Sugar Bear Hair controversy and fully explained his decision to do a post for the company. While at the VIP section of Weekend Two at Coachella, James said he was getting bombarded by fans. For his safety, he wanted to be in the Artist section, which is more secure and secluded.
He reached out to fellow beauty influencer Nikita Dragon who connected him with Sugar Bear to see if they had any Artist passes they could offer him in exchange for a sponsored Instagram post. He said he did so, seeing that this was his only option if he wanted to stay at Coachella.
In Tati’s video, she claimed that she did not receive a warning text about the post. Also, she said that James had “nine days” to message her about it, so it appears she thought James and Sugar Bear Hair during the first weekend of the festival.
However, James says all of this went down on weekend two. He posted screenshots of texts he sent before he posted the Sugar Bear Hair Instagram video. He also showed texts that he sent to Tati and her husband after Tati posted on her Instagram that she felt very upset and isolated from the community.
The next major topic that James tackled was boys. In her video, Tati claimed that James used his status as a celebrity to manipulate straight men into behaving sexually in his favor.
“First of all, I am a 19-year-old virgin,” James said. “I just thought I’d put it into the universe that I don’t get a lot of action. You probably guessed that at this point. That being said, I have never, would never, and will never, use my fame, money, or power to manipulate or get any sexual actions from a guy. That is disgusting.”
He then went on to discuss the waiter from Seattle, Sam, whom Tati brought up in her video. Sam also made a video of his own, where he discussed his relationship with James. But according to James, Sam’s story had gaps, so he tried to fill them in.
He said the whole thing unfolded at Tati’s birthday dinner when he was discussing a waiter at the restaurant he thought was cute. While the word “famous” was used, James never said that he could get the guy to like him because he is a “celebrity,” as Tati said.
Rather, James said that his friend group has an inside joke where they call each other “famous,” said he was using the word in that context.
As far as his personal interactions with Sam, James pulled up screenshots of their conversations. In those texts, Sam told James he was bi, despite the fact that Tati said he was straight, and that James always went after straight guys.
James also said when he invited Sam to his hotel room, he told Sam that there was no pressure to do anything, and emphasized that everything that happened between them was consensual.
James continued the story by saying that they kept in touch, but it started to get rocky because he thought Sam was still figuring out his sexuality. But eventually, Sam used his friend’s phone to text James saying that he was gay. But James said that this was not real, and just a ploy to get him to respond.
“Sam texted me saying he was fully gay, but it was a trap to get me on FaceTime,” said James, “so he could illegally record the conversation to include in the video he was planning later on…Later on, he told me he was confirmed bi. This is why, in Sam’s video, he included a screenshot of me telling him I did not think he was fully straight.”
As far as James’ alleged consistent interest in straight men, he admitted that he has slid into the DM’s of straight guys before. However, he said that whenever he learned someone was not interested, he stopped messaging them immediately.
He also spoke about the rumors people were starting about him and how that perpetuated negative stereotypes about gay men. He specifically mentioned Zara Larsson, who tweeted that James had messaged her boyfriend multiple times while knowing he was straight.
James showed that he had only messaged him once and also said he had no idea he was messaging someone with a girlfriend. Larson did end up deleting her tweet, but James said it had close to half a million likes before she did so.
He then showed a tweet Zara posted about her boyfriend before she met him and asked a question.
“Why is it okay for Zara Larsson, a woman with a public platform to tweet these photos of a shirtless man and say ‘Who are you where do you live how old are you why are you so fine how do you like your eggs cooked in the morning?’ But for me as a gay man, to DM the same person in private with a simple compliment, is predatory? he asked.
The last big point he talked about was Jeffree Star. He said that he and Jeffree had been trying to figure out a time to talk before Tati’s “Bye Sister” video dropped. They never scheduled a time to chat and on the day the video made waves throughout the internet, James said he got a harsh text from Jeffree. The text references Sam, Grayson Dolan, Jeffree’s brother Zack, and a boy named Cameron who James claims to not know.
“Grayson is going on camera shortly to finally tell the world how you tried to molest him and touch him in his sleep…And made him uncomfortable for months you sick motherfucker,” the text reads. “Next, Zack will be going on camera to tell how twisted and sick you were, trying to get him to like you and then make him feel bad when he didn’t wanna send you photos back. Then Sam from Seattle will be joining me and Cameron, to talk about you trapping him in the hotel room. You need to be locked in prison for a very long time. You need the Internet taken away from you, you are a danger to society.”
James then addressed Jeffree’s tweets that he later deleted. One was aimed at James’ brother Ian.
James clarified that Ian went home to New York for a number of reasons. In addition, to having his wisdom teeth removed and a few gigs in the city, he was struggling with depression and wanted to be with his parents.
Jeffree also tweeted that James was not allowed in his home, and James said he was totally unaware of this. He also said that since they last saw each other in February, Jeffree had reached out to him saying that he missed him.
James then closed his video by saying that Tati, Jeffree, and Sam were all working on reaching out to him to address the matter privately.
Jeffree Bows Out
The saga did not end there, because, on Sunday, Jeffree posted a video called “Never Doing This Again.” In its 14-minute run, he says that he does not want to be involved in the drama anymore and confesses that he wishes he had never inserted himself into this situation in the first place.
“This has to stop,” he said. “I’m embarrassed by my own actions.”
He addressed James directly and said he wishes he never sent those texts.
“There were a lot of rumors, and sadly I let that get to me,” said Jeffree. “So James, I want to let you know that I should have never sent you those messages.”
Jeffree also apologized to Ian about his tweet.
“So Ian, I just want to let you know I am so sorry for ever sending that tweet. If I could take it back I would.”
He closed by saying that he does not want to talk about the situation anymore and said that everyone involved needs to take time to heal.
On Sunday, Tati sent a tweet saying that she has been communicating with James through an intermediary. She also said she no longer wishes to address this situation publicly.
The “Bye Sister” video has also been removed from Tati’s channel.
As far as subscribers go, Tati still has over ten million, though her count is no longer experiencing a steep incline. In fact, her number is gently trickling downward.
James, who lost three million subscribers as a result of this fallout, is starting to gain them back. He now has 14.8 million subscribers. He is inching his way back up to being the most popular beauty vlogger on YouTube. He just has to edge out Jeffree, who has 14.9 million subscribers.
See what others are saying: (Fox News) (Cosmopolitan) (The Verge)
Elijah Daniel Buys Michigan Town and Renames It “Gay Hell”
- Social media star Elijah Daniel has purchased the small town of Hell, Michigan and renamed it “Gay Hell,” where only pride flags can be flown.
- Daniel says the move was made in response to the Trump administration recently rejecting requests to fly pride flags on flagpoles at U.S. embassies during Pride Month.
- He hopes that presenting issues in fun or humorous ways will encourage his young audience to become involved in politics.
Social media influencer Elijah Daniel is making headlines again for another creative stunt he pulled to bring attention to LGBTQ issues.
On Monday, the 25-year-old comedian and internet personality announced that he had purchased a small town in Michigan named Hell and has renamed it “Gay Hell.”
In a tweet revealing the move, Daniel explained that he purchased the town in response to the Trump administration recently rejecting requests from U.S. embassies to fly the pride flag on flagpoles during Pride Month.
“Ahead of pride month Trump’s administration put a ban on embassy’s flying pride flags,” he wrote. “So as of today, I am now the owner of Hell, Michigan.”
“The only flags allowed to fly are pride,” Daniel added.
Daniel also included photos from his newly renamed town. “Gay Hell, Mi has everything. A library, a place to lock your love in Gay Hell, and even a WEDDING CHAPEL TO GET GAY MARRIED IN HELL!”
As far as why he purchased Hell, Daniel told NBC News, “I have a young audience who is 16 to 24 who would not be involved in politics if it wasn’t in a funny or meme way.”
“I’m just trying to have fun and get my audience politically active.”
Daniel did not reveal how much it cost him to purchased Gay Hell, but he did confirm that he will only be the temporary owner of the town. According to the Detroit Free Press, the five-acre town is a commercial property that was on the market in 2016 for about $900,000.
His move was praised by many on social media. Massive beauty YouTuber Jeffree Star tweeted that he was also interested in purchasing land in Gay Hell.
Musician Awsten Knight, a member of the band Waterparks, and YouTuber Jessie Paege tweeted about wanting to go to the town.
suddenly i’m moving— Jessie Paege (@jessiepaege) June 18, 2019
U.S. Flag Policy
Outrage over the flag policy sparked earlier this month after NBC News reported that U.S. embassies in at least four countries were denied the ability to fly the pride flag during Pride Month. Those four countries were Israel, Germany, Brazil, and Latvia.
The report noted that during the Obama administration, the government had granted blanket permission to embassies overseas to fly the pride flag during June. But State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a press conference last week that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “has the position that, as it relates to the flagpole, that only the American flag should be flown there.”
Vice President Mike Pence also defended the move, telling NBC News that “it’s the right decision.”
“When it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies,” Pence said.
Pence also said that the administration had “put no restrictions” on the pride flag or other flags flying elsewhere at U.S. embassies.
This is far from Daniel’s first eye-catching act linked to LGBT issues and politics. In August of 2017, the social media star made headlines when he served as the mayor of Hell for one day and banned straight people. He was impeached shortly after.
At that time he said the move was in response to Trump’s travel ban. “My ban is a copy-and-paste of Trump’s Muslim ban, but with heterosexuals instead,” he told HuffPost at the time.
That same year he released “The Holy Bible But Gayer,” in which God is Rihanna, Donald Trump is Satan, Eve is renamed Steve, and Jesus turns water into mimosas.
Are Instagram Influencers Flocking to Chernobyl? Not Exactly
- On Sunday, a tweet called out “Instagram Influencers” for using Chernobyl as a backdrop for their social media posts.
- The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was home to one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters in 1986.
- After a closer look, it seems that the visitors in the viral post are not all “Instagram influencers” as the tweet suggest, but instead regular tourists.
- Since the airing of the HBO series Chernobyl, the site has a 30 to 40 percent increase in visitors.
The Viral Tweet
A tweet posted Sunday that criticizes Instagram influencers for treating Chernobyl like a new photo hot spot went viral, but that’s not exactly the case.
The tweet shows four pictures of different “influencers” using the toxic nuclear power plant as the backdrop for their photos.
However, after further investigation, it seems that only the first photo of a woman in protective gear was shared by a user with a significant following. That user is Julia Baessler, who has over 300,000 followers.
The other three photos were taken from Instagram accounts with much lower follower counts, ranging from 200 to 1,500.
On top of that, as many social media users have pointed out, in her caption, Baessler, talks about the terrible tragedy that took place at Chernobyl. “Yesterday I had the chance to visit one of the most fascinating but also most terrible places on earth- control room number 4 ChNPP,” her caption read.
“The actions taken in this room 33 years ago led to the worlds worst nuclear disaster. Standing there is just indescribable, it’s shocking and something I will never forget :pray:”
Baessler further explained her trip in an interview with Business Insider.
“Because of the engineering work of my boyfriend we were able to get a special admission to go inside control room 4 which is actually not accessible for visitors,” Baessler told BI. “I left those stories online because they are full of informations [sic] and I really want to spread them but I don’t want to be seen as an influencer going to Chernobyl because it’s trendy now. that’s not true,”
Another photo from the tweet showcased a man holding a Geiger counter, an instrument used for detecting radiation. The Instagram user who posted the photo actually wasn’t the photographer or the person in the image. He only reposted it. Patrick Smith, an airline pilot, took the photo back in October of 2006.
The woman who posed next to the burnt bus, Irene Vivch, said she posted the photo because she is from Ukraine and stated so in her caption. She called the site, “an eternal monument to the horrid cruelty of the Soviet regime.”
Vivch told the Atlantic, “Chernobyl made a massive impression on me … So I made a big Instagram post about it describing my feelings.”
Trips to Chernobyl
In May, HBO aired a new series, Chernobyl, that focused on the 1986 nuclear reactor malfunction at the power plant that caused radioactive particles to cover the surrounding area. At least 30 plant operators and first responders died in the weeks following the accident. To this day, there is still debate on the total possible deaths from cancer caused by the radioactivity, with estimations between 9,000 and 115,000.
According to reports, since the release of the show, trips to the site have jumped dramatically. One tour guide has said in the month of May alone, trips increased 30 percent. The guide also added that trips for the rest of the summer were up 40 percent.
“Many people come here, they ask a lot of questions about the TV show, about all the events. People are getting more and more curious,” Viktoria Brozhko, a tour guide, told Reuters.
Craig Mazin, the writer and executive producer of the HBO series, responded on Tuesday to the impact his show has had. In his post, he reminded people visiting the area to have respect for those who suffered from the tragedy that occurred there.
Chernobyl is not the first site of a tragedy to be used as an Instagram background. In 2014, a girl took a smiling selfie at the concentration camp, Auschwitz and she received massive backlash. The concentration camp museum even tweeted this past March asking people to people respect the site.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (The Atlantic) (Reuters)
Drug Charges Against Russian Reporter Dropped After Protests
- Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was released Tuesday after Russian officials dropped drug charges that had been brought against him last week.
- Golunov said that he had been framed because of his reporting on government corruption.
- Russian journalists responded by launching a multi-day protest, and prominent Russian newspapers called for his release in a move experts have said was unprecedented.
Russian government authorities dropped drug trafficking charges against investigative journalist Ivan Golunov Tuesday, following significant backlash and protests from Russian journalists and media over his arrest.
Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev said in a statement that the charges had been dropped because of a lack of evidence.
“According to the results of biological, forensic and fingerprint examinations and DNA testing, a decision was made to terminate the criminal prosecution of citizen Ivan Golunov due to the lack of evidence of his participation in the crime,” Kolokoltsev said in the statement.
Golunov was arrested and detained by police on Thursday, and after an invasive search, the officers claimed to have found drugs in his backpack. The police also said they found more drugs and other paraphernalia when they searched his apartment.
He was later charged with drug trafficking and taken to prison, though he denied the charges and said he was framed because of his reporting on high-level Russian corruption.
Suspicion Around Arrest
Others were quick to echo Golunov’s accusation against the police.
Golunov, who is well-known in Russia for his investigative work, had been writing for an online publication called Meduza, which is Russian-owned but is operated in Latvia to avoid persecution.
Following Golunov’s arrest, Meduza published a statement online defending him and arguing that his imprisonment was politically motivated. “We are convinced that Ivan Golunov is innocent,” the statement said. “Moreover, we have reason to believe that Goll-Loo-Noff is being persecuted because of his journalistic activities.”
Meduza also outlined suspicious activities surrounding Golunov’s arrest. According to the statement, Golunov’s lawyers requested that the police test his hands and nails to see if he had touched narcotics. The police refused.
Meduza also said that Golunov had been beaten by police when he was detained, but when he and his lawyer requested he go to a hospital he was again denied. Meduza additionally noted that Golunov had received threats over his work in recent months
Following the arrest, the police launched their own publicity campaign, publishing nine “incriminating” pictures of drugs and a pharmaceutical scale that they claimed they took at Golunov’s apartment.
However, several journalists quickly established that the pictures were not actually taken in his apartment. Shortly after, the police backtracked and admitted that most of the pictures were in fact taken elsewhere.
After the police fumble, even the Russian government acknowledged that there was conflicting information in the case.
“We have paid attention to the corrections that were later published, and we also proceed from the fact that there are several issues that are in need of a clarification,” a Kremlin spokesman said.
On Friday, Russian journalists launched a protest in front of the police headquarters in Moscow.
Under Russian law, protestors are required to get permits two weeks before planned demonstrations, but the protestors came up with a clever solution. Instead of all protesting together, activists took turns standing one at a time and holding a sign for 15 minutes or so and then passing the post off to the next person.
People lined up down the block to take turns to be the one-person protest. Reportedly, the line was so long that people waited for hours.
Unsurprisingly, police special forces moved quickly to detain about a dozen protestors, including some prominent Russian journalists who were held in custody for a little while before being released.
However, the line kept getting longer and longer, and those protests continued all weekend, even moving to the court where Golunov was set to appear for a hearing.
At the same time, a number of Russian celebrities and artists took to social media to call for Golunov’s release, and argued that his arrest was a violation of freedom of speech and an important test case for rule of law.
Russian Newspapers Express Support
The most surprising move came on Monday, when three leading Russian business newspapers published the same exact front pages with the headline: “I/We are Ivan Golunov.”
While all three of those newspapers are private rather than state-owned, all of them are usually very loyal to the Russian government.
After that, even a few very prominent pro-government broadcasters express skepticism about the case. Additionally, a petition calling for Golunov’s release reportedly received 7,500 signatures from other journalists, including those who worked for state-owned outlets.
As a result, experts have described the act as an unprecedented expression of solidarity with another journalist, as well as an unprecedented defiance of the Kremlin.
While Golunov’s release is an exciting and watershed moment for journalists in Russia, many wonder if it is just a one-off occurrence. Russia has long been criticized for its treatment of independent journalists, and just recently, have significantly ramped up their censorship efforts in the past few months.
In March, Vladimir Putin signed two new laws that would punish anyone who spread “fake news” or insulted the government with heavy fines and jail time. Under those laws, online media can be reported to the government, which then can block access to websites if the content that violates the law.
Golunov’s arrest was also not an isolated incident. On Friday, Meduza published an article listing 8 other journalists and activists who have gotten prison time for “drug charges” over the last few years.