- YouTuber James Charles posted a video on Monday claiming he has been dealing with a wrongful termination lawsuit from a former employee for two years.
- He said her claims are not true, but he is refusing to settle for the “hundreds of thousands of dollars” she is asking for because he feels he is being “blackmailed.”
- He claims the former employee is making “defamatory” allegations about him to the press in an attempt to push him to settle for a higher amount.
- Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge later posted a tweet suggesting she is working on the story and that it will come out “soon.”
James Charles Addresses Lawsuit
Beauty influencer James Charles posted a seven-minute-long video on Monday claiming he has been dealing with a wrongful termination lawsuit from a former employee for two years and feels cornered into speaking out about the situation.
James, who has been taking a social media break for the last several weeks following a series of sexual misconduct allegations, broke his silence to share his side of the story. He said this is his first time publicly speaking about the matter because the litigation is ongoing. However, he feels he has to speak out now because he says that the former employee is speaking negatively about him to the press and he feels he is being “blackmailed.”
Reports have identified this former employee as Kelly Rocklein. James said he hired her first as an editor and then promoted her to a producer with a salary of $72,000 a year, but she was let go after six months. He says the allegations in the lawsuit he filed are false.
“It basically alleges that she was wrongfully terminated, overworked, and underpaid, all of which are not true,” he said before adding that to him, his employees are “family.”
According to James, the suit is worth far more than lost wages and totals hundreds of thousands of dollars. While he claimed these kinds of suits are common in the entertainment industry, he said they rarely make it to court because they are so long and expensive and usually result in a settlement. James, however, said he refuses to settle.
James Says He is Being Pressured to Settle
James said he was contacted to give a comment for an upcoming article about what it is like to work for him. He claimed the former employee was making “defamatory” and ridiculous comments about him, which he believes are an attempt to pressure him into a higher settlement offer.
“These claims range everything from, I was so lazy she had to force me to get out of my bed and brush my teeth, and without her I would have never made a single video or a single dollar,” James said. “And other things that are much more serious and disgusting such as that I used to say the n-word around her all the time.”
James added that the last claim is “perfect timing” because a Twitter account he has not used since 2016 was allegedly hacked recently and posted a tweet using the n-word.
James said he knows the employees allegations would go away if he just agreed to settle, but he does not want to do that.
“Contrary to popular belief, I have never ever paid anybody to speak or to not speak about me and this will not be the first time that I do it,” he stated. “It just won’t.”
James said he feels no choice but to fully pursue this legally and felt compelled to post this video in the meantime as the situation remains in the court of public opinion, which is already falling out of his favor. He also said he did not want his fans to be blindsided when the upcoming article is published because he knows it will not look good on his part.
Insider Reporter Tweets About Upcoming Article
In April, Rocklein tweeted something that appeared to be about James and the misconduct allegations against him.
“Watching the same people who screwed me over massively end up in deep scandals isn’t news to me, it’s karmic debt,” she wrote.
She also previously posted another tweet that seemingly referenced her lawsuit against James, as well as a lawsuit she allegedly won against internet personality Erika Costell.
“Won 1, going 2 for 2 because im all about law and order,” she said.
Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge, who broke the story involving a rape allegation against the Vlog Squad’s Dom Zeglaitis, responded to James’ video in a series of now-deleted tweets. She shared his video and said, “Absolutely not, story coming soon.”
“Literally cannot believe this,” she continued. “Okay, well, yeah. You paid your creative director $72k. AFTER a raise. We’ll start there, since you’re the one putting it out! More soon.”
“BLACKMAIL is a criminal allegation, and a really crazy and stupid one to make.”
After taking those posts down, she shared a new tweet saying “We’re reporting everything out. Story will be coming soon!” That post was retweeted by Rocklein.
See what others are saying: (MTV News Australia) (Just Jared) (Daily Dot)
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.