- Beauty influencer James Charles posted a YouTube video titled “holding myself accountable” on Thursday to apologize for engaging in sexual and inappropriate communication with minors.
- The 21-year-old claimed he initially wanted to defend himself but said, “I realized that the receipts and the screenshots and the specific details of the interaction really don’t matter because I f**ked up, and I needed to take accountability for my actions, and most importantly, apologize to the people that were affected by them.”
- James still claimed his accusers lied to him about their age, which they have denied, though he ultimately admitted it was his responsibility to verify their ages.
- He said he now understands the power imbalance that exists when he speaks with others, adding that he missed “red flags” and trusted “too quickly” because he is so “desperate” to be in a relationship.
Allegations Against James Charles Grow
Massive social media star James Charles published a YouTube video Thursday apologizing for his inappropriate and sexual communication with teen boys after weeks of growing allegations.
Several underage boys have come forward this year to share their alleged experiences with the 21-year-old beauty influencer. Some accused him of flirting while others said he solicited nude photos from them and sent explicit pictures of himself, along with other sexual messages, when they were under the age of 18.
James addressed one of those accusers in February, claiming the teen had an ulterior motive and had lied to James about his age. That accuser, however, denied James’ claims and said his true age was listed on his social media.
More people then came forward to say that James also allegedly flirted with them after connecting through social media, including a 17-year-old.
Two other 16-year-olds also shared screenshots detailing their alleged experiences with James.
These growing accusations eventually prompted people to become increasingly frustrated, calling this a clear pattern of behavior on James’ part. Others also pointed out that the first 16-year-old’s age was again easy to determine after looking at his public social media posts.
James Issues Apology
In his response video, James appears to only address the two instances that caught the most attention: the one he initially responded to in February and the accusation from the first 16-year-old.
James said his instinct was to come out and defend himself, but added, “As I did more research on these topics and self-reflected, I realized that the receipts and the screenshots and the specific details of the interaction really don’t matter, because I f**ked up, and I needed to take accountability for my actions, and most importantly, apologize to the people that were affected by them.”
He admitted that none of these conversations should have ever happened. “I trusted the information that was given to me rather than the information I could have and should have gotten myself,” he added.
He also said there was “no one to blame for this other than myself,” claiming that he was especially embarrassed because doing research into his accusers’ public social media pages would have revealed their true ages.
“To the guys involved in this situation, I want to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I added you [on social media], I’m sorry that I flirted with you, and I’m really sorry if I made you uncomfortable. It is completely unacceptable. I was being reckless,” he continued.
As far as why he feels he was so reckless, James said, “It sucks and it is ridiculously embarrassing to admit this, but I think I have to and that is that I’m desperate.”
He said he understands why it looks like he is searching for younger people to be in a relationship with based on all of these accusations, but he denied that this was the case. Instead, he claimed that he seemed to miss “red flags” and trust “too quickly” because he was so focused on finding a relationship.
He admitted to treating his social media as a dating app and said he did not previously understand the power imbalance that exists when he speaks to people. He even brought up 2019 accusations from Tati Westbrook, who at the time accused him of using his money, fame, and power to sexually manipulate men.
James initially denied ever doing that but has now said, “What I wasn’t getting before is that the excitement that comes with talking to a celebrity is literally enough to make somebody do or say something that they normally wouldn’t. Even if that celebrity isn’t intentionally weaponizing their fame, money, or power. And that’s the concept that I just wasn’t getting, but I now do.”
James promised to ask for proper identification from people he chooses to pursue romantic relationships with moving forward. He closed his video by saying that he would take a break from social media to “reflect and further educate myself on these topics.”
Chris Pratt Denies Association With Hillsong Church: “I’ve Never Actually Been”
The church has been accused of having anti-LGBTQ ties, something Pratt has taken a hit for.
Pratt Addresses Hillsong Controversy
After several years of facing criticism for his alleged ties to the controversial Hillsong Church, actor Chris Pratt said he has “never actually been” to the church and is “not a religious person.”
The Hillsong Church has been condemned for being anti-LGBTQ. The issue received increased attention in 2019 when actor Elliot Page tweeted, “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed.”
“Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides,” he continued.
At the time, Pratt responded to the allegations by saying that “nothing could be further from the truth” and that he believes “everyone is entitled to love who they want.” He doubled down on his denial in a profile published Tuesday in Men’s Health.
“I never went to Hillsong. I’ve never actually been to Hillsong,” he told the outlet. “I don’t know anyone from that church.”
Instead, Pratt said he attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, though not exclusively. According to Men’s Health, Zoe Church is not without its issues. The church was founded by a pastor who produced a film that equated “sexual brokeness” to “same-sex attraction.” Other outlets have also described it as a Hillsong affiliate.
Pratt faced his biggest wave of backlash in 2020 when Internet memes declared him the “worst” Chris compared to other actors with the same first name, including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pine. A slew of celebrities quickly came to Pratt’s defense, arguing the criticism was unjustifiably mean. Their speedy responses only heightened the online conversation and many of the celebrities who spoke out were eventually mocked for doing so.
Pratt Says He is Not Religious
As for why the Internet has become increasingly anti-Pratt, his alleged association to Hillsong was a major factor. Some also speculated he was a supporter of Donald Trump as he did not join his “Avengers” co-stars for a Joe Biden fundraiser, though Pratt is not usually politically outspoken in either direction.
Pratt believes the backlash against him started when he gave a speech at the MTV Movie Awards in 2018 where he said, “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you.” He understands why those remarks may have rubbed people the wrong way.
“Maybe it was hubris. For me to stand up on the stage and say the things that I said, I’m not sure I touched anybody,” he told Men’s Health. “Religion has been oppressive as fuck for a long time. I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person.”
He went on to explain that in his eyes, there is a difference between adhering to certain customs and believing in God versus using God to control and harm people and justify hatred.
“The evil that’s in the heart of every single man has glommed on to the back of religion and come along for the ride,” he said.
See what others are saying: (Men’s Health) (The AV Club) (People)
Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.
Actress Pushed at Protest
After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights.
Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”
Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.
Sweetin Addresses Incident
Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over.
“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”
Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.
According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter.
“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.
Theater Named Announced
Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title.
The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”
Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”
Chappelle Defends Controversial Special
According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students.
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.
Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda.
“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said.
“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special.
According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready.