By: Uma Attreya and Amanda DeMaria
A sister scandal has shook the internet with the recent feud between James Charles and Tati Westbrook. James Charles is a famous YouTuber who used to have over 16 million “sisters.” He calls his subscribers “sisters” and that became his signature slogan. His career took off when he became the first Cover Boy ambassador. Since then his career grew. He mainly focused on makeup, collaborating with famous people and other YouTubers. On the other hand, Tati is also a famous YouTuber who had 5 million subscribers before the scandal. Her YouTube channel, Glamlifeguru, mostly does makeup and product reviews. James met Tati when he was only 17 years old and just starting out.
He asked her for help and she became a huge inspiration for him. Tati and her husband (also named James) started helping him build his career. One example of this was when Tati helped James make $2,500 on a video, instead of just $900. Also, she flew him out to her wedding and in return, he did her makeup. Their relationship is non-transactional and James even called her “mom.” As a result, many were surprised after Tati came out with the video “Bye Sisters,” exposing James Charles and setting the scene for this scandal.
It started at the one and only Coachella, a big music festival. James and a guy had gotten artist passes for the first weekend. Artist passes are passes that are not available to the general public, and you can only get one if a company sponsors you and then gets tickets from Coachella itself. Artist passes are usually used by celebrities to stay under the radar and avoid getting mobbed. The second weekend, James and his friends, without the guy from the first weekend, spontaneously decided to go to Coachella again to relive their fun times. At the last minute, they were able to secure VIP passes. VIP passes are available to purchase by the general public, so when James was at the festival again, he was getting, in his words “attacked” since there were a lot of fans and people at the festival. Feeling unsafe, he texted his friend, Nikita Dragon, who he saw had artist passes. She was sponsored by Sugar Bear Hair, and he asked her if he could get artist passes. She managed to get him those passes from SBH, and all James had to do was post an Instagram story promoting them and their products, which were mostly hair supplement vitamins. So you may be wondering where Tati fits in? Well, Tati and her husband have a company called Halo, which also sells vitamins, and it happens to be a rival company of Sugar Bear Hair. She felt that her long time friend James promoting a rival company was betraying their friendship, especially since she said in her video that she did not receive any warning from James explaining the situation. James, on the other hand, insists he
texted Tati before the promo and reached out to her multiple times after, trying to explain what happened and apologize. Recently, in May, Tati posted a 43 minute video called “Bye Sisters…” detailing the whole SHB issue. The same day James posted an 8 minute apology video, called “tati” and posted on his Instagram story, apologizing and taking responsibility for the issue. In wake of Tati’s video, though, James has lost 3 million subscribers, and he became a new target for social media attacking. People he had collaborated with, including Kylie Jenner, and his sister squad, consisting of the Dolan Twins and Emma Chamberlain, unfollowed him on Instagram, sending the Internet into a frenzy. Killer Merch, the distribution site that runs James Charles’s and Jeffree Star’s merchandise site, discontinued their collaborated company, Sisters Apparel. James’s website has been shut down, seemingly pointing to Jeffree’s involvement in a scandal, once again. He had tweeted after Tati’s video, agreeing with her statements, and after the shutdown of Sisters Apparel, it became apparently that he was involved. In response to the whole issue, James posted a week after Tati’s original video, a 41 minute video detailing his side, filled with “receipts” including screenshots of DMs and texts.
One of the major DMs exposed is the conversation James had with this boy Sam from Seattle. On February 14, 2019, James flew out to Seattle for Tati’s birthday party. He saw a cute boy who was the busboy at the restaurant they were at. Tati claims that he was talking about things he wanted to do with Sam in front of her family. James came out and said that was, in fact, false and he talked about dating for a brief period of time and never got inappropriate. Tati also claims that Sam is straight and in response James said “I’m a celebrity.” James later revealed that the boy stated he was bisexual over a direct message and he has an inside joke with all of his friends saying “I’m famous.” The boy
from Seattle messaged James and James engaged in a conversion with him, screenshots from which have been revealed by James. James later invited him over to his hotel the day before he left for Los Angeles. The boy came, but told James that he has never done anything with a guy. James put no pressure on him and they decided to watch a movie. James then asked to kiss him and he said “yes.” Both sides confirmed that it was consensual, despite what Tati said. James invited Sam to stay, but Sam said he had to think about it. On the other hand, Tati claims that Sam was “trapped” inside his hotel room. They continued messaging for about a month and James offered to fly Sam down to Los Angeles. A day before Sam was supposed to fly down to Los Angeles, he told James he was straight. Sam claims that James got angry and said “you are gay, and the sooner you find out, the easier it will be for you.” James said that Sam told him he was bisexual and that is why he said those things. A week passed and Sam saw the video of another guy James was talking to exposing him. Sam texted James using his friend’s phone that he was gay and needed to talk to him, so Sam could confront James. He illegally recorded the call of James admitting that he was talking to another boy at the same time. The Facetime call ended abruptly, when James hung up on Sam due to being frustrated at the whole situation. The call ended, but the drama didn’t.
In addition, there are also many other boys and people involved in this scandal. Gage was the first boy to come out and explain his experience with James Charles. Gage uploaded a video before the whole scandal came out entitled “What Really Went Down Between Me and James Charles.” He uploaded the video on April 29, 2019, and it did not blow up until Tati’s video came out. James invited Gage to Coachella, and after first declining, he later decided to go with James. James states that Gage said he was bi-curious, but Gage states that he said he was straight. Gage explains in his video that James was manipulating him and forcing him to say that he was bisexual. Other boys came out accusing James Charles of forcing them to say they are gay or bisexual. One of these people was Zara Larsson’s boyfriend. Zara Larsson, who is a famous singer, states that James direct messaged her boyfriend multiple times trying to flirt with him. She later came out and said it was only once, but still made him uncomfortable. By the time she said it was only one DM incident, Twitter had ran with the idea, blowing it up. James, defending himself, said that he did not know he was straight and never would have messaged him knowing it was Zara Larsson’s boyfriend. Other people started joining in on hating or “canceling” James. One being this girl who claims that James sexually assaulted a friend of hers when he was in high school. They later came out to say that is was a “social experiment” and deleted the tweet. However, it was too late. The tweet erupted and got over a half million likes and 24,000 retweets. Other boys also came out showing screenshots of their direct messages with James on their own YouTube channels. Most of them said that while it made them a little uncomfortable, it was not a big deal because once they showed no interest James stopped. One thing that made James really upset was how Tati called out his mom. She said that his mom needs to start parenting him again and come down and be there for her boys. James got furious and explained that his mother is a talented, creative, and an amazing mother, and Tati had no right to say any of those things about him. The internet is still erupting from new stories and direct messages from James Charles “harassing” boys.
In conclusion, the drama isn’t really over. Five days after her original video, Tati posted another video titled “Why I Did It” due to the excessive hate and drama directed at mostly James, but also her and anyone who posted videos or got involved. She explained how she cared about James and didn’t want people attacking him on social media. She explained how she felt sorry for exposing him. James’s response came on May 18, when
he posted a 41 minute video titled “No More Lies” detailing his side of the story with screenshots of direct messages and texts with people like Nikita Dragon, Tati, Jeffree Star, and Sam. Jeffree, who had earlier agreed with Tati after she posted her first video, had deleted his tweets supporting her, but he has since come back onto his Snapchat and promised more “receipts” that would discredit James’. James is gaining subscribers back in light of his new video despite Star’s threat. James promised that his video would be his last time addressing the issue after previously posting an Instagram and YouTube apology. He also revealed that his merch will be back up soon, though he defiantly spoke against working with Star, and he said his tour is not cancelled yet. With a scandal like this, the internet had to go crazy. With memes, tweets, and multiple articles being written to try and keep up with the latest drama, we’ve tried to provide a Sparknotes version. Our sources include other articles but mostly the videos posted by those involved themselves. So there you have it! Turns out the world didn’t end with a bang, in the words of James Charles it ended with a “bye sisters!”
Videos involved (put after article)
- https://youtu.be/PoVZg4KjRxU (Bye Sister)
- https://youtu.be/2rLcu292K_g (Why I Did It)
- https://youtu.be/3m4mF9-7L-Y (James Charles is canceled)
- https://youtu.be/9ws6nxMk6I0 (tati)
- https://youtu.be/uFvtCUzfyL4 (No More Lies)
- https://youtu.be/77uSfqx0iGU (Sam waiter)
- https://youtu.be/YFvaxbV_jes (live subscriber count)
- https://youtu.be/XlVpFS6m1mI (Gabriel Zamora)
- https://youtu.be/vFrSSpDAEZk (Gage)