The Truth About James Charles' Scandals

James Charles, the now incredibly famous makeup enthusiast who boasts millions of followers across YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, came from humble beginnings. 

He went viral when he showed off his glam makeup look in his senior yearbook photos in 2016, and shortly after he became CoverGirl's first-ever "CoverBoy" model (via USA Today). The photoshoot led to an anticipated appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and ever since, he's been climbing the ladder of internet fame one "hey sisters" at a time (via Vulture).

Despite his innocent start to super-stardom, Charles' rise to the top has not been without controversy. In fact, the many scandals of his career have led to feuds with other influencers, his channel being temporarily demonetized, and even his collaborating with makeup brand Morphe being ended. According to Forbes, the makeup artist's first two videos after returning to YouTube after sexual misconduct allegations have ranked among the most disliked videos of the platform. Keep reading to learn about the rocky rise and fall (and rise again) of James Charles.

James made xenophobic and transphobic comments

Many of James Charles' first controversies took place in the digital world, whether on Twitter or YouTube. Some were innocuous, such as when he received hate from Ariana Grande stans after saying she was the "rudest celebrity he ever met," per Allure, or when he found himself in a flurry of backlash after saying he didn't like the movie "It" (via Vulture). However, the influencer has landed himself in the middle of scandals that are far less innocent.

In February 2017, just after his appearance with CoverGirl, he posted a now-deleted tweet about Africa and the Ebola virus that many were quick to call insensitive and offensive. In the tweet, he wrote, per The Cut, "I can't believe we're going to Africa today omg what if we get Ebola. 'James we're fine we could've gotten it at chipotle last year' ...."

CoverGirl even spoke out against the tweets, in a statement which read, "James Charles' tweet does not represent COVERGIRL's perspective. We agree his statements were inappropriate but appreciate that he has issued an apology. We are an inclusive brand and respect all people and cultures," though they did not cut ties with Charles. The YouTuber also issued a lengthy apology via Twitter.

In April 2019, Charles uploaded a vlog with YouTuber Jeff Wittek in which he made transphobic comments, saying he wasn't "full gay" because he has been attracted to transgender men before. Of course, he swiftly issues an apology on Twitter

Another YouTuber accused him of sexual misconduct with a minor

One of James Charles' first — and perhaps most publicized — scandals was his feud with fellow beauty influencer Tati Westbrook. The drama between the two began in April 2019, when Charles posted an Instagram story of him promoting Sugar Bear Hair's gummy vitamins — a product in direct competition with Westbrook's Halo Beauty supplement brand, according to Elle

When Westbrook lashed out at Charles with both an Instagram Story and a quote to Buzzfeed, Charles apologized on his Instagram, saying that she was "like a mother" to him.

The drama escalated when YouTubers Gabriel Zamora and Jeffree Star inserted themselves and picked sides in the drama, with Zamora supporting Charles, and Star calling Charles a "danger to society." After a slew of back and forth videos between Westbrook and Charles, Westbrook posted the now-deleted viral video that ended it all, entitled "Bye Sister." In the 40-minute video, Westbrook detailed her personal feud with Charles, but also raised allegations that he pressured minors into questionable sexual scenarios, according to Insider. One victim of Charles who is mentioned by name in the video is Sam Cooke, who even made a YouTube video of his own corroborating the information in Westbrook's video.

James exposes sexting scandals

On April 1, 2021, James Charles posted a video to his YouTube channel entitled "Holding Myself Accountable," which has since been deleted (via Insider). 

In the video, Charles apologized for a slew of accusations — including those levied in Tati Westbrook's video — that he had been involved in sexting with underage boys. He also alleged that the two main 16-year-old accusers had lied to him and said that they were 18, however one accuser, Isaiyah, disputed that claim and said that Charles had never asked his age.

This isn't the first time that James Charles has been heard to be manipulative when it comes to sex and relationships. In 2019, Charles instigated a feud with model Gage Gomez after the two met up at Coachella. When fans online asked if the two were dating, Charles replied with a now-deleted tweet saying, "Nope unfortunately I am still very single. This boy played me for months on end and is a disgusting con artist." Gomez fought back after receiving hate from Charles' fanbase, and accused Charles of manipulating him and trying to convince him that he wasn't actually straight.