- 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.”
Disney Says Talent Deals Must Change Amid Pandemic as It Battles Scarlett Johansson Lawsuit
CEO Bob Chapek said talent is Disney’s “most important asset” and claimed the company is undergoing a “reset” regarding its contracts.
Bob Chapek Says Talent Contracts Are Going Through a Reset
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Tuesday that going forward, talent contracts at the studio “will have to reflect the fact that the world is changing.”
His remarks come as Disney battles a lawsuit from actress Scarlett Johansson alleging breach of contract for her work on “Black Widow.” While making his claims at a virtual Goldman Sachs conference, Chapek did not mention Johansson by name, but he did directly address the issues Hollywood is facing when it comes to compensating talent amid the pandemic.
As COVID-19 halted filmgoing, many movies expected to be box office hits were instead released directly to streaming, while others were released in theaters and on streaming platforms the same day. These models are drastically different from the exclusive theatrical release that films and the stars in them have come to expect over the last several decades.
“We’re sort of putting a square peg in a round hole right now where we’ve got a deal conceived under a certain set of conditions, that actually results in a movie that is being released in a completely different set of conditions,” Chapek said during the conference via numerous reports. “So there’s a bit of a reset that’s going on right now, and ultimately we’ll think about that as we do our future talent deals and plan for that and make sure that that’s incorporated.”
“But right now, we’ve got sort of this middle position where we’re trying to do right by the talent,” he added. “I think the talent’s trying to do right by us, and we’re just sort of figuring out our way to bridge the gap.”
Chapek also referred to talent as Disney’s “most important asset” and said that historically, the company has had a “very symbiotic” relationship with its talent regarding the deals they strike together.
Scarlett Johansson Vs. Disney
That symbiotic relationship is now being put to the test by Johanssen, who hit Disney with a lawsuit in July over its decision to release her “Black Widow” standalone picture for a premium fee on Disney+ the same day it hit the big screen. The actress claims that her contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release for the film and that her salary was largely based on what it grossed at the box office. Because viewers had the option to purchase it for streaming at home, she claims she did not see “the full benefit” of her deal.
Disney claimed the lawsuit had no merit. It also released a scathing statement saying that Johansson’s legal effort showed a “callous disregard” for the harmful and prolonged effects of COVID-19, especially since she allegedly received $20 million upfront for “Black Widow.”
Disney is hoping to solve the matter via private arbitration. Johannson’s legal team wants to take the dispute to court.
So far, “Black Widow” has raked in $377 million worldwide. It broke pandemic box office records during its opening weekend but still has not made nearly as much as it likely would have prior to the pandemic.
As for whether or not the dual release strategy actually tanked the film’s earnings, that is hard to say. By comparison though, Marvel’s “Shang-Chi,” which was released exclusively in theaters, is already set to catch up to “Black Widow” at the box office. The film has been out for just under a month and has already made $306 million worldwide.
While many expected to see other A-list actors follow Johannson’s lead and likewise file lawsuits against studios who threw their titles on streaming, so far Disney has had seemingly no issue striking more deals with its talent. In the past several months, it has locked in sequels with stars like Emma Stone, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Emily Blunt.
See what others are saying: (The Wrap) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Los Angeles Times)
Alissa Violet Sues FaZe Clan Over Stock It Allegedly Owes Her
The social media star says she was promised stock in FaZe Clan as part of a previous settlement but has yet to receive her shares.
Alissa Violet Sues FaZe Clan
Social media influencer Alissa Marie Violet Butler, known online as Alissa Violet, is suing digital entertainment and esports collective FaZe Clan over stock she is allegedly owed.
According to a Monday report from The Washington Post, Butler’s case stems from a previous lawsuit that involved both her and FaZe Clan. The report says that in 2018, Butler transferred her shares in a media company she co-founded called Clout Gang to a different company called Hubrick Limited as part of an agreement with FaZe Clan. At the time, Hubrick and FaZe Clan were partnering to develop both businesses.
Per The Post, several other FaZe Clan members were part of a similar exchange where they transferred their FaZe Clan shares for Hubrick shares as well. The partnership between the two companies crumbled, however, leading to a legal frenzy. Butler, FaZe Clan, Clout Gang, and more ended up accusing Hubrick of fraud in a lawsuit. Hubrick tossed the allegation right back at them in a countersuit.
To resolve the matters, The Post says Butler and FaZe Clan “entered into an oral agreement to settle the lawsuits with Hubrick,” which involved Butler giving up her Hubrick stock and dropping her claims against the company. In return, she would then receive FaZe Clan common stock.
Butler says that despite holding up her end of the bargain, she has still not received stock in FaZe Clan.
Responses to Lawsuit
Butler has over 10 million followers on Instagram and another 3.7 million subscribers on YouTube. She has had a career in modeling and picked up a handful of acting credits in television shows and music videos. She previously dated the co-owner of FaZe Clan, FaZe Banks.
According to The Post, FaZe Clan is valued at around $300 million.
“If Faze Clan simply abided by its promise to compensate her, Alissa would not have had to sue Faze Clan,” Butler’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, said to The Post.
FaZe Clan defended itself in a statement to the outlet, saying it “denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained in the Complaint.”
FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink also sent an email to The Post claiming that the matter will likely be resolved.
“Stories get created out of any disagreement or dispute, big or small,” he wrote. “On this particular matter we’re in close communication and confident it’ll be resolved amicably.”
It is unclear how much Butler is seeking in her suit.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post )(Dexerto) (Esports.com)
Priyanka Chopra Jonas Says “The Activist” Reality Series “Got It Wrong”
The controversial series is now being reworked into a documentary, which Chopra Jonas hopes will better “highlight the actions and impact” of global activists.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas Apologizes For “The Activist”
Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas responded to controversies surrounding “The Activist,” a CBS reality competition series she was slated to co-host that is now being reworked following widespread backlash.
“The Activist” was going to show real activists competing against one another in various challenges in an effort to promote their philanthropic causes. After many expressed disgust at the premise, CBS said it would scrap the footage already shot and turn the idea into a one-time documentary special highlighting the work and impacts of different activists.
“The show got it wrong, and I’m sorry that my participation in it disappointed many of you,” Chopra Jonas wrote on Instagram. “The intention was always to bring attention to the people behind the ideas and highlight the actions and impact of the causes they support tirelessly. I’m happy that in this new format, their stories will be the highlight.”
“I’m proud to collaborate with partners who have their ear to the ground and know when it’s time to hit pause and re-evaluate,” she added.
Chopra Jonas closed her post by thanking the “global community of activists” for their hard work, which often goes unacknowledged.
Controversies Surrounding “The Activist”
Musician Usher and dancer Julianne Hough were cast to host alongside Chopra Jonas. After a release announcing the show and their casting went out last week, it was slammed online by activists and journalists alike.
Actress and activist Jameela Jamil wrote that the network would have been better off donating the presumably large production costs to charity instead of “turning activism into a game.”
Women’s activist Gina Martin thought turning charity into a competition was counterintuitive, arguing “the whole *essense* of activism is solidarity and community.”
Writers from The Verge, The Washington Post, Essence, and countless other outlets likewise published pieces slamming the program. The Post’s Michele L. Norris accused CBS of “trying to capitalize on the current avalanche of doom in the daily news cycle.”
Norris added that the show’s “prize,” which was to attend the G20 summit in Italy, boiled down to activists fighting “merely for the right to crash an international conference and try to shake down world leaders for cash.”
Responses From Those Involved
Chopra Jonas is not the only host to address the criticism. Before the idea was canned, Hough wrote a lengthy Instagram post saying she was listening to the dialogue regarding the program.
“There is a feeling of insult, dehumanization, insensitivity and hurt that is being rightfully felt,” she wrote.
“I do not claim to be an activist and wholeheartedly agree that the judging aspect of the show missed the mark and furthermore, that I am not qualified to act as a judge,” she added, though she stopped short of actually stepping down from the gig.
CBS ended up releasing a joint statement with Global Citizen and Live Nation acknowledging the failings of the concept.
“It has become apparent the format of the show as announced distracts from the vital work these incredible activists do in their communities every day,” the statement said. “The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort.”
The statement said the new documentary will “showcase the tireless work of six activists and the impact they have advocating for causes they deeply believe in” without any competitive element.