Beauty YouTubers That Destroyed Their Careers With One Video

When you document your life on the internet for the whole world to see, it's easy to be judged. For beauty YouTubers, who are constantly in the public eye, even tiny mistakes get scrutinized. Some of these content creators have been criticized heavily, while others have made career-ending mistakes.

Because beauty YouTubers often boast huge numbers of fans and subscribers, it seems like common sense to assume that they'd exercise good judgment when it comes to the content they post. However, this hasn't always been the case, and many of them have posted videos that made the public cringe. YouTube is a volatile platform that requires caution and sensitivity, and some users need more reminders of this fact than others. Because it's essentially a fan-based platform, even a single video holds the power to either rocket a creator to stardom or kill a career. And for every beauty YouTuber who has found success, there has been at least one who saw their entire cosmetic empire come crashing down ... as it did for these personalities.

James Charles made transphobic comments

Influencer James Charles rose to stardom in 2016, going on to rack up nearly 25 million subscribers as of this writing — but his fanbase didn't stop him from making crude comments and (at times) exhibiting inappropriate behavior. Per Seventeen, he faced backlash in 2019 for making a transphobic comment during a video collaboration with Jeff Wittek. After implying that trans men are not truly men, the YouTuber took to Twitter with an apology, but left the video up, according to The Cut. The outlet further noted that Charles has been accused of unacceptable behavior by ex-mentor Tati Westbrook, who alleged that Charles "regularly goes after straight men with the intention of manipulating their sexuality." In response, Charles issued an apology video on YouTube titled, "No More Lies," after which point he began to see his follower count rise once more.

However, The Cut reports that things took a turn for the worse for Charles as of 2021, when he was accused of grooming underage boys. In February, multiple teenage boys shared stories and screenshots of inappropriate messages from Charles. Although the controversial YouTuber initially denied the accounts, he ultimately confirmed two of the supposed interactions with the teenagers. The Cut reports that he's currently taking a social media hiatus to "reflect and further educate myself on these topics."

Nikita Dragun used drama to her advantage

Beauty influencer Nikita Dragun — who called herself the "first trans popstar," via YouTube — first broke onto the scene in 2013, and has since acquired millions of followers. In 2019, she released a makeup line called Dragun Beauty, which catered specifically to the trans community and quickly sold out, according to Paper Mag. Success aside, Dragun has also been involved in some of the biggest YouTube feuds and famously fought with fellow YouTuber Jeffree Star, as Polygon reported. However, though Dragun attempted to blast Star for racist comments, users also uncovered racist tweets that Dragun had posted years before, for which she apologized. Still, the incident lost her 1,500 subscribers, via SocialBlade.

In 2019, Seventeen reported that a feud had broken out between James Charles and his one-time mentor, Tati Westbrook. Dragun jumped right into the drama by informing her followers via Twitter that she would be uploading a "shady" video — and naturally, people assumed it would speak to what happened between Westbrook and Charles. Instead, the video ended up plugging Dragun's own beauty line, and the fact she used the drama as clickbait angered her followers. YouTuber Peter Monn called the move "shadier than what anybody else has done or said in this whole situation," via YouTube.

Laura Lee apologized for racist tweets

One of the most high-profile beauty gurus on YouTube, Laura Lee first began posting on YouTube in 2013, according to The Sun. As the outlet details, the Alabama native lost over 500,000 of her 5 million subscribers after users unearthed racist tweets she'd posted during the previous year. 

Per Cosmopolitan UK, Lee had posted an offensive tweet shortly after the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black man who was shot and killed in his own neighborhood. In response to the backlash, Lee took to YouTube with a teary apology video, but the lack of sincerity was apparent to everyone. "I deactivated my Twitter because I was mad at myself for the ignorant tweets that I made back in 2012," Lee said, via The Sun, adding "That girl who tweeted that isn't who I am today." Still, many fans speculated that the social personality was only seeking sympathy. As Allure reported, Lee followed up with a second apology video on YouTube, in which she clarified statements made in the first video. "I owe you guys a sincere apology. In that [first video], I come off more as a victim," Lee said. "I have grown so much, and I have gained so much knowledge and respect, I know that prejudice and stereotypes are never funny in any way, fashion or form." However, the apology videos didn't appear to be enough to salvage Lee's career.