- Makeup artists have created looks using Black Lives Matter symbols and the phrase “I can’t breathe” in an effort to raise awareness about racism and police brutality.
- Beauty YouTubers like Alissa Ashley, NikkieTutorials, and PatrickStarrr have slammed the behavior, calling it “disrespectful” and encouraging people to donate or sign petitions instead.
- But some have defended these artists, arguing that they are voicing their frustrations through their work.
- The looks have sparked a conversation about performance activism and how to be an ally to the black community.
Black Lives Matter Makeup Looks
As people all over the world protest over the killing of George Floyd, some makeup artists have tried to show their support by creating makeup looks inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
But several of these looks have been quickly slammed on social media, sparking conversations about how to be an ally to the black community.
One of the most recent makeup looks that sparked outrage was created by a 16-year-old in Australia who posts content in German under the name “catharinas_beauty.”
In a TikTok post, the teen is seen painting half of her face darker to the tune of Donald Glover’s “This Is America.”
After the post was hit with massive backlash, the teen took it down. She also posted to her Instagram saying she was “really sorry” and “never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
And she added that she had never heard of blackface before posting the look. “I only wanted to send a message against racism, but I did it wrong. I’m only 16 and have to learn much more about the world history.”
This teen is far from the only person who’s been slammed this type of makeup. Other artists have created looks using the Black Live Matter fist or phrase, and some have designed theirs around the words “I can’t breathe.”
That particular phrase is widely recognized as the final words spoken by Floyd as a white officer pressed his knee into his neck. They were also the last words spoken by Eric Garner, who was choked to death by police in 2014. Since their deaths, the phrase has become rallying cry used to fighting against police brutality and racial injustice.
One artist that included the phrase in her look took it a step further. As she lip-syncs over the Gotye song “Somebody That I Use to Know,” she releases a hand from her neck to show a bloody print.
These are just a few examples of the types of posts that have continued to pop up online, and in most cases, the artists end up apologizing or taking the posts down.
Beauty YouTubers Speak Out
But these posts weren’t just criticized by the general public. Several popular beauty influencers took to social media to speak out against the trend.
Alissa Ashley, for instance, said: “White/ Non-Black MUA’s, I promise painting “I can’t breathe” on your lips isn’t revolutionary like I really promise that isn’t what we mean when we say be an ally.”
NikkieTutorials addressed the looks by saying, “don’t be that person 🤦🏼♀️ it’s disrespectful and low, have some respect, sign petitions and DONATE!”
That sentiment was also echoed by fellow YouTuber Patrickstarr who said, “I know a thing or two about makeup. But drawing ‘I can’t breathe’ on your face is NOT it.”
Some Defend Artists
Still, some have tried to defend the artists, arguing that they were just trying to voice their frustrations through their art.
One Twitter user actually responded to Alissa Ashley saying, “this is why the country is as divided as it is. Why cant we just understand that raising awareness to situations are never an easy subject some people only have one voice and its through their creative sides.”
Ashley hit back at that user writing, “Raising awareness isn’t using fake blood to appear beaten up. It’s not using a darker shade of foundation to show your solidarity. It’s not writing a dying mans last words on your lips. Black peoples trauma/reality isn’t a makeup trend. Like y’all can’t possibly be this dumb”
She then dismissed responses from people who say they aren’t sure what to do, saying “TWITTER IS FREE AS FUCK. You see us tweeting the petitions to sign. The places to donate. What kind of drug do you gotta be on to be like ‘oh I know what to do. Let me go grab my darker foundation & ben nye stage blood’”
Talking about some “what else are we supposed to do”. TWITTER IS FREE AS FUCK. You see us tweeting the petitions to sign. The places to donate. What kind of drug do you gotta be on to be like “oh I know what to do. Let me go grab my darker foundation & ben nye stage blood”— Alissa Ashley (@alissa_ashleyy) May 29, 2020
Another makeup artist known as ZayBayBay argued that the makeup looks are actually triggering to black people. Someone then challenged her opinion by saying, “It can’t be any more triggering than seeing Donald Glover shoot up an entire black church choir in his music video. Makeup artists are allowed to creatively express themselves the same way. It raises awareness, which is the bottom line.”
Ultimately, she said that she is beyond her art and knowns “when it’s time to put the brush down and do something productive instead of focusing 5 hours on a makeup look.” But still, she said she respects others’ opinions on this matter.
This debate isn’t just something being discussed in relation to makeup. Nail artists have faced similar backlash for their work, with the same arguments appearing both for and against it.
View this post on Instagram
I have taken my nail art awareness inspiration post from the amazing black talented nail tech @queenofnails I saw the positive feedback she got in her comments by not just white but black people too. She inspired me to use my platform and talent to bring awareness through nail art for those who are in need. She had no comments from the black community saying that the post is insensitive. I’ve got a lot of positive feedback for using my art to support the movement (thank you 💕)but I’ve also been told by some that I AM THE MAIN PROBLEM. I’ve gained no profit from this just like @queenofnails didn’t. The nails are not for sale, they are not to be promoted, they are under no collaboration deal, just doing it purely to spread awareness. I’m now being called a prostitute and that I’m doing nails from a little corner at my mums house. Words said by those who I spread awareness for. @queenofnails didn’t get this treatment from the black community, why am I ? If I’ve offended anyone I am truly truly sorry, my intention was never to hurt you, I want to help protect you✊🏼✊🏾
And especially after #BlackoutTuesday, a lot of people have been concerned about performance activism that does nothing meaningful for the black community.
There are some people who point out that these makeup looks are coming from a good place. Others say that if done tastefully and in combination with other efforts, they can help keep people talking about racial injustice. But it seems like most people online are not on board with these types of looks and want to see action, not more awareness.
See what others are saying: (Insider) (Dazed) (Centennial Beauty)
Twitch Shares Its First-Ever Transparency Report, but Critics Want More Accountability
- Twitch released its first-ever Transparency Report on Tuesday in a continued effort to address toxic and harmful behavior on the platform.
- While Twitch listed several statistics detailing how it’s taken action, many still accused the platform of ignoring user complaints.
- The Anti-Defamation League also argued that Twitch’s report lacked additional vital data, including a list of the specific communities being targeted by hate speech on the streaming site.
- The complaints against Twitch’s transparency culminated when a staff member directly told users that the platform would not be addressing why Dr Disrespect, a popular streamer, was permanently banned in June 2020.
Twitch’s Transparency Report
Twitch released its first-ever transparency report on Tuesday as part of a continued attempt to reduce hateful conduct, sexual harassment, violence, gore, nudity, and even terrorist propaganda on the platform.
In the report, Twitch notes that over the past year, it’s “made a 4X increase in the number of content moderation professionals available to respond to user reports.” In other words, Twitch is saying that it’s now much more likely users’ reports will be processed soon after being filed.
Despite this, Twitch stopped short of saying how many moderators it actually employs.
In another statistic, Twitch said at least 92% of live content viewed on the platform last year “occurred in channels with chat that was moderated either by active moderators, or AutoMod, or both.”
Throughout the report, Twitch continues to list similar stats, including that the total number of enforcement actions on the platform rose 41% between the first and second half of the year.
Calls for More Accountability
Reaction to the data set has been mixed. While WIRED described the report “as a victory lap for [Twitch’s] recent moderation efforts,” the platform is still being plagued by criticism that it failed to ever take action against some user complaints.
“I had [a] person send me repeated death threats and threats of violence,” one person tweeted. “I reported it to you several times providing screen shots and you took literally 0 action. If you are going to flex about keep people safe you might want to actually do something instead of whatever this is.”
Likewise, the Anti-Defamation League noted that Twitch’s report contains no information on specific communities being targeted by hate on the platform.
As Nathan Grayson, a writer for Kotaku, noted, “The report contains a handful of other, similar data sets, most of which paint Twitch in a favorable light. Certainly, they’re a useful measure of Twitch’s growth in these areas… The problem with these kinds of reports, however, is that they have a way of appearing to say a lot while revealing very little.”
“Twitch has offered numbers and a small amount of context, but streamers and viewers remain in the dark on major issues that came to light last year,” Grayson continued.
Part of that involves last year’s permanent ban against Dr Disrespect, who was booted off Twitch in June after years of streaming and even a multi-year deal with the platform. To this day, it’s still unclear exactly what precipitated the ban.
It also looks like (at least for now) it’s going to stay that way.
That’s because during Twitch’s Transparency Report Breakdown, one user popped into the chat and asked, “Any Dr. Disrespect news??”
Instead of Twitch ignoring the comment, a staff member flat out said, “no.”
James Charles Denies Grooming Allegations
- Over the weekend, a 16-year-old who goes by Isaiyah accused 21-year-old YouTuber James Charles of grooming him.
- Isaiyah shared censored versions of nude photos James allegedly sent him as well as Snapchat messages showing the YouTuber allegedly asking for explicit photos.
- James denied the accusations, saying Isaiyah initiated contact with him, sent lewd photos first, and told him he was 18. James also claimed that once he learned Isaiyah was 16, he stopped contact, though Isaiyah insists this is not the case.
- Since then, two more people have come forward with their own stories detailing situations where they felt James acted inappropriately with them.
James Charles Accused of Grooming
James Charles is denying grooming allegations after a 16-year-old posted videos accusing the YouTuber of sending and asking for explicit photos.
The accuser, who goes by Isaiyah, shared his allegations in videos on both Twitter and TikTok last week. On the latter platform, he has over 260,000 followers.
Isaiyah claims that he and James began talking on Snapchat on February 17, and he hoped the conversation would give him a chance to interact with an influencer he looked up to. However, Isaiah says James ended up making their conversation sexual.
He shared photos of their interactions, including one snap where James is allegedly asking for Isaiyah to send videos taken in the shower. In another, James appears to mention Isaiyah’s genitals and says, “I bet you can make me finish just by flexing and showing off your hair.”
Isaiyah also shared censored nude and partially nude images that James allegedly sent, which he says prompted him to tell the YouTuber he is only 16.
“I was getting really uncomfortable so I told him my age and I told him I was 16 and meanwhile, he’s 21, he’s a grown man,” Isaiyah said in the video. “And then he proceeds to say, ‘oh but I didn’t get to see the….yet’ meaning my body. And after telling him no, like I’m not going to send it to you, like, he kept asking for videos and pictures of body hair and me flexing and stuff.”
Even after this, Isaiyah claims James still asked to FaceTime with him. He ultimately said the interaction left him seeing James in a new way.
“I’ve heard multiple stories about him doing this to people but you never believe it until it happens to you,” Isaiyah said. “So now, I’m a big believer of what James Charles does to other people.”
Both TikTok and Twitter have since removed the videos detailing these accusations, according to Insider.
James Charles Denies Allegations
On Friday, James took to Twitter to tell his side of the story. He called the grooming accusations “completely false.” He then said he found Isaiyah on Instagram’s explore page.
He said he noticed that Isaiyah followed him, so he decided to add him on Snapchat. James also claims he woke up to multiple messages from Isaiyah saying how excited he was to speak to him, as well as lewd photos from him.
“I asked how old he was right away and he told me he was 18 so I started flirting back,” James continued, adding that he never saw ID to verify his age.
“It’s now clear, based on the video he uploaded, he was taking photos of me with another device, and had an ulterior motive from the beginning,” he continued.
“Later in the day, he said a few things that made me question the validity of his original age answer and when I asked him to confirm his age once again, he admitted he was 16.”
“I told him I was really uncomfortable and apologized for flirting, but he insisted on continuing talking, saying it could be our little secret, he’s a fan of mine and would never tell anyone,” the post continued. “I told him I wasn’t okay with this, he started getting upset, and at this point I unfriended him. We haven’t spoken since.”
James wrote that he was not trying to victim blame or make himself out as the victim, but instead wanted to share his story because he has dealt with accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior in the past. Moving forward, he stressed that he will ask people for their ID or passports to verify their age before speaking with them.
Isaiyah shot back at James’ statement and insisted the popular influencer was well aware of his age.
“James we both know I blocked you, you never asked for my age. After I told you I was 16 you proceeded to ask me for nudes and said it didn’t matter,” he wrote. “You called me hot and said ‘I wish the timeline could speed up so you can be 18.’”
James we both know I blocked you, you never asked for my age. After I told you I was 16 you proceeded to ask me for nudes and said it didn’t matter. You called me hot and said “I wish the timeline could speed up so you can be 18.” pic.twitter.com/60QGI8jtLx— Isaiyah (@Isaiyah13) February 26, 2021
“If you’re gonna text someone, make sure you know their age,” he added in another tweet. “He added me on insta, my insta has my tik tok which shows me age.”
In another post, he said he would be contacting the police about the situation.
More People Speak Out
At least two more people have since come forward with their own stories about James over the weekend. One said on Twitter that they told James they were 17-years-old, but the YouTuber still flirted with them on social media.
They said nothing sexual happened; however, it still felt weird, making them feel compelled to share the story as others were speaking out. Those tweets have since been deleted.
Another person, who goes by LifeOfUzzy on Twitter, said they had a “disgusting” experience with James. In a lengthy Twitter thread, he shared screenshots of their messages and a video his brother recorded of him opening a Snapchat from James as proof of their interactions. He claims that things started out fine but took a turn when James began flirting.
“We started talking for a little and he was actually A VERY NICE person the first few days. He told me he wasn’t looking for anything until he started calling me ‘daddy’ and ‘babe,’ LifeOfUzzy wrote.
He then shared a video of James allegedly spamming him, asking to do a video call, and apparently asking him to do “disgusting things.”
LifeOfUzzy wrote that after James allegedly used him for “sexual pleasure,” he sent James a message ending things and asking him to delete the pictures he screenshotted.
LifeOfUzzy explained more details in a series of TikToks and a YouTube video, claiming he was just looking to get to know James, but that James clearly had no interest in this and was asking him for specific and explicit pictures. He said James stopped talking to him after declined.
James has not responded to these two newer allegations yet.
See what others are saying: (Insider) (Cosmopolitan) (Dexerto)
Former Member of David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad Says He Was Sexually Assaulted by Jason Nash on Video
- Former Vlog Squad member Seth Francois says he was sexually assaulted in a 2017 prank that YouTubers David Dobrik and Jason Nash pulled on him.
- Francois agreed to be in a video where he would make out with fellow Vlog Squad member Corinna Kopf while she was disguised as an old man. However, the costumed person he actually kissed was 45-year-old Nash.
- In 2018, Dobrik pulled a nearly identical prank on Francois again, despite Francois repeatedly stating he was not okay with what happened.
- Francois says he is not trying to “cancel” anyone but his attempts to resolve the matter behind closed doors with Dobrik have not been successful, so he felt he had to tell his story publicly.
Seth Francois Calls Kissing Prank Sexual Assault
Former Vlog Squad member Seth Francois says he was sexually assaulted in a prank that massive YouTuber David Dobrik pulled on him with fellow creator Jason Nash.
Francois first told his story to Ethan and Hila Klein on the H3 Podcast on Feb. 12. The prank in question happened in 2017. At the time, Dobrik asked Francois if he wanted to be in a video where he made out with Corinna Kopf while she was disguised as an old man. Francois agreed, but when he kissed the costumed person, Kopf was not the one behind the mask. Instead, it was 45-year-old Nash.
“I was touched by someone I did not consent to,” Francois said on the podcast.
He told BuzzFeed News that it felt wrong when it happened, but as more time passed, he began to feel even worse. He decided to call a sexual assault hotline to talk about and processs the situation.
“They said, ‘I’m sorry you were sexually assaulted.’ And I broke down,” Francois told the outlet. “I called my mother and some of my close friends and I said, ‘I can’t believe that happened to me.'”
Francois said Dobrik asked if they could make a similar video again, but Francois refused, explaining he did not like the prank and did not want to have to go through that again. Still, in 2018 Dobrik ended up pulling a nearly identical stunt.
The second time, Dobrik told Francois that they were making a commercial for Jack Link’s Jerky, which Francois was thrilled about. When Francois got to the set, there were people in gorilla costumes, and he was instructed to make out with one. When that person took their mask off, it was Nash again.
Francois said this incident ultimately led to him moving out of Los Angeles.
Jack Link’s Jerky has since tweeted that they were not involved in the stunt and do not condone any non-consensual conduct that occurred.
Other Allegations Against Dobrik and The Vlog Squad
On top of all this, Francois said that during his time in the Vlog Squad, he was pressured to participate in racist jokes that played into stereotypes about Black people. He felt he could not say no to these bits.
“It was an unwritten thing where you see a pattern of people saying, ‘Yo, I’m uncomfortable with this,’ and all of a sudden they disappear and they’re not in videos anymore,” he explained on the H3 Podcast.
These are just the latest in a series of accusations former Vlog Squad members have made about Dobrik, Nash, and group’s general culture. Nik Keswani, known to fans as Big Nik, explained to H3 that the group was “toxic” and like a cult. Keswani said that he was bullied and felt forced to make jokes about his own size, which led to other people thinking they could make fun of him in cruel ways.
YouTuber Trisha Paytas has also accused Dobrik and Nash of inappropriate behavior on multiple occasions. Both she and Francois also say they have heard rumors about Nash assaulting other people or sleeping with minors. In some cases, Paytas says victims have contacted her directly about it.
Dobrik has not commented on the sexual assault allegations brought up by Francois, but over the summer he did issue a general apology for offensive content he had posed in his past.
“I want them to have a positive experience when they interact with anything I produce,” he said on his podcast, “Views.”
“And with that being said, I feel like on a handful of occasions I just missed the mark on that, and that really bums me out.”
Why Francois Is Speaking Out
For a long time, Dobrik has been a top creator on YouTube. He is known for his Tesla giveaways and was dubbed Gen Z’s Jimmy Fallon by The Wall Street Journal. Francois said he felt the need to speak out because he fears Dobrik is not remorseful and is unaware of the harm he has caused.
“If [Dobrik and Nash] don’t know what’s wrong and they don’t understand that what they did was wrong, it makes me feel like that could still happen. Or maybe it has happened to other people who are afraid of speaking up,” he told BuzzFeed.
Francois said that he has asked for the videos to be removed, but Dobrik tried to offer him cash to keep them up. Dobrik eventually unlisted both prank videos and later privated the second one.
Francois has since tried to resolve the matter privately but has not gotten a response from Dobrik. He told Insider that his goal in speaking up is not to “cancel” anyone, though he felt he had no option but to make the matter public. He is now also considering legal action, which is a path he initially did not want to go down.
“People were saying I’ve betrayed David, but I feel like he betrayed me,” he told the outlet. “I was very hurt and even right now talking about it, it really makes you want to cry.”
“They profited off causing me a lot of mental trauma, which is something that really hurts to know,” he continued.
Now, people are calling for Dobrik to respond to the allegations. Many are starting to see his content in a new light and believe he should issue an apology.