This is a branch article for the 2019 online feud between James Charles and Tati Westbrook, a completely informative article. For the full net worth piece, see James Charles Net Worth.
The yearbook photo propelled who is now one of the biggest beauty vloggers James Charles to that fame in only a month, and since becoming the first male CoverGirl, controversies are something they’re gonna have to deal with every day. And 2019 was a big one for him. Not one, but multiple accusations came along his way. While being normal in the content-creating world, there are some boundaries those accusations can’t cross.
And where the needle tilts in the online battle between James Charles and Tati Westbrook, is something that has yet to settle, but the battle itself seems to be cooling down. They don’t talk to each other, with Jeffree Star also got involved, breaking the friendship trio into three separate pieces.
Jeffree Star seemingly just inserted himself in the drama.
Photo Source: YouTube
It might’ve been alright, had Westbrook not announced the end of the friendship between her and Charles on YouTube and said all those things that she did, even if they might’ve been true. But it was not the start of why she chose to sever ties with him, despite being his mother-figure and mentor when he was starting out in LA.
They met through DMs and were fans of each other before meeting up. Westbrook was promoting his YouTube channel and even products. When Charles picked up SugarBearHear, a direct competition of Westbrook’s Halo Beauty, of course, she couldn’t digest it thoroughly. He posted a Swipe-Up Instagram Story about the brand during the Coachella in April 2019, right around the time the manipulation-accusation was happening around Charles.
Westbrook also posted a teary-eyed Instagram Story later that day, saying how she felt “used” and “betrayed” while not mentioning Charles. Fans were quick to deduct it though. Charles later posted a lengthy apology text on his Instagram Story, explaining how he was promoting SugarBearHear in exchange for all the security they provided during Coachella.
Source: James Charles, Instagram Story
For half a month, they stay quiet, until another YouTuber, Gabriel Zamora, who’s also a friend of Charles, sparks it up again. He challenges Westbrook to clarify the situation with his video Makeup and Opinions. It took a few days, but she did come back with a bang. Yes, the big not-so-finish video.
On May 10, 2019, Tati Westbrook uploaded a 43-minute long now-deleted video titled BYE SISTER…, mocking his fan -following who he calls Sisters. On the video, she explains how she and her husband James Westbrook provided for him during his early days, why she felt betrayed and how his claim of the reasons for promoting SugarBearHair might’ve been complete BS. She was also using the manipulation-accusation-like case to address his alleged pattern for pursuing straight men, since he also admitted of being attracted to straight men.
Many took that fact to think his actions towards these mean to be predatory including Tati and even Jeffree (?). Also, she was upset she was not given a heads-up about the promotional video. Later that same day, James also posted an eight-minute video, titled tati, apologizing to Tati and her husband, like she first wanted to, and also expressing his regret over publicizing his love life. It might’ve been vague to some people, but he admits at the end of the video that she was right about warning him about his behavior. Still, he was not going to show the receipts and pick a fight or anything. That video became one of the most disliked videos on YouTube.
Photo from: Tati Westbrook, YouTube
As for the subscriber-count, as soon as Tati’s video aired, a record was set by James for losing over 1 million followers within 24 hours. Meanwhile, Tati, kind of, gained the followers on to her YouTube channel.
While singer Zara Larsson posted a clip from Tati’s video in a now-deleted tweet the next day accusing him of hitting up his boyfriend in the DMs, Jeffree Star gets into it the day after that with another now-deleted series of tweets. He first takes up James’ brother, Ian Jeffrey‘s tweet, “Why does everyone act so tough over the internet?”, within half an hour with a question of his own, “Why is your brother a predator?? Why’d you really move back to NYC? Exactly. Shut the f**k up.”
Star also stated Charles was a “danger to society”, that his ex-boyfriend Nathan banned him from their house and that everything Westbrook said was 100% true. To add salt to the wound, Star also congratulated Westbrook for her rising subscriber-count. The same night, Westbrook shares on Twitter that she won’t be posting a video the next day as her heart is still too heavy.
— Jeffree Star (@JeffreeStar) May 12, 2019
There won't be a video tomorrow. My heart is still too heavy. I feel like I need to remind you that we can hold truth & inspire change without grabbing onto hate. Honor your blessings, don't abuse them. Celebrating pain will only bring it to your door. love you guys, see you soon
— Tati Westbrook (@GlamLifeGuru) May 13, 2019
The very next day (May 13, 2019), Charles’ friend Nikita Dragun attempted to clarify the whole SugarBearHair-at-the-Coachella situation, sharing a iMessage exchange about him asking her for a Coachella artist pass from SugarBearHair because he was “getting attacked” in the VIP section. But the fact that the conversation took place within two minutes had people doubting the claims and thinking it was all just pre-planned.
heard a situation needed some clarification 👀 my friend was in an emergency and texted me in the moment… unfortunately since @dragunbeauty used all of our marketing budget on the 𝓯𝓪𝓷𝓽𝓪𝓼𝔂, i connected him with sugar bear. nothing shady. pic.twitter.com/fNNtMReApm
— Nikita Dragun (@NikitaDragun) May 14, 2019
In response to the timestamps allegations, Dragun comes out to clarify the next day that the only thing she edits was her waist on FaceTune.
u really think i have the time to fake texts? the only thing i edit is my waist on facetune sis. they have the screen recording of the messages 👀💯🐉🔥
— Nikita Dragun (@NikitaDragun) May 14, 2019
The whole drama was picking up so much pace that, fans or not, people were tracking their subscriber-numbers all the time. There was also a live-ticker following both Tati and James’ subscriber-counts. By May 15, 2019, James had lost over 3 million subscribers. He had 13.4 million that day and had 16.6 million on May 9. Meanwhile, Tati’s subscriber-count increased by four million over the same time period. What would’ve hurt the most was that he lost followings from A-lister celebrities like Kardashian-Jenners — Kylie, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall, and Kim — Demi Lovato, Katie Perry, Ariana Grande, and Miley Cyrus.
Watch: The Subscriber-Count Live Back Then
During his first appearance since his first apology video at the Brisbane airport on May 15, 2019, paparazzi asked him point-blank if he sexually harrases straight men. He just walks past them and walks around with his team, like he’s supposed to in those situations.
On the eve of May 16, 2019, Tati was fed up with people creating so much drama and posted another video, titled Why I Did It, saying she only posted the BYE SISTER… video as a “last-ditch effort” to “reach someone who I found completely unreachable”. The latter video was more in response to the overwhelming amount of subscribers she got in a few days, but that was beside the point of the video. She just wanted the team-picking to completely end.
I do, really, want the hate to stop. I want the picking sides, and the abusive memes and language, I really hope on both sides, it can stop. I don’t want you guys to subscribe, I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. This is not about me. I don’t need ‘Team Tati.’ I don’t need any of that.
She also announced she would not be making more videos for a while. And that if she wanted to bring him down, she would’ve accepted every interview she’d been approached with.
On May 18, 2019, James Charles posts the 42-minute video that seems to have helped calm down the feud, despite using methods that would’ve exploded the competition. As a follow-up for his previous apology video, in No More Lies, he actually brings out all the “receipts”; i.e., screenshots of texts, messages, and more; proving everything his way, addressing each and every one of Tati Westbrook’s claims.
“Tati made a video telling stories about me, publicly humiliating me, and now I have serious allegations against me detrimental to my career,” he started. “This whole thing has been really difficult for me because throughout the past three weeks, literally, all I’ve wanted was communication from these people. I tried really, really hard to get that and I didn’t.”
It was an eye-opener to everyone who thought otherwise of him. He shows the text exchanges to prove he did not trick the Seattle waiter named Sam into thinking he was gay, which Tati claimed before, and she even encouraged him to “hook up” with Sam who actually told him he was bisexual. The SugarBearHair thing was also cleared out. With that, he was regaining his lost subscribers back, one million immediately. Meanwhile, Tati lost 200,000 subscribers.
James also pulled out some very nasty messages from Jeffree accusing James of trying to trap Sam in a hotel room, also forcing Jeffree’s boyfriend’s brother, Zach, to send him photos; and even molest Grayson Dolan, James’s friend. Every single one of them was shut down. Jeffree later responded with a Snapchat rant, threatening to show “his” receipts.
Watch: One of the Few Videos Standing from the Feud
Later that same day, Tati announced she was taking a break from every digital media “to heal & pray for healing on all sides.”
I'm working on not reacting out of anger & working through patience for what this right thing to do is. 🙏🏻❤️ I remind you all… as I remind myself to do what you can to lead with kindness.
— Tati Westbrook (@GlamLifeGuru) May 18, 2019
Also the next day, May 19, Jeffree Star had a change of heart and uploaded a video titled Never Doing This Again. Instead of the expected threats the day before, he said he wasn’t going to revert to his old self and that he regrets sending those “brutal” tweets and “vicious text messages”.
Watch: Jeffree Star Makes a Regret Video
The same day, Tati tweets out to claim that it would be the last time she’d be talking about the situation, despite having “so many things I’d like to clear up”.
— Tati Westbrook (@GlamLifeGuru) May 19, 2019
About 40 minutes of Tati’s tweet, James thanked both Tati and Jeffree for sharing their sentiments and said he too is ready to move on, indicating an end to the feud there was against each other.
Thank you @jeffreestar & @glamlifeguru for your sentiments. I am on board to move on, will not speak about this further, but do hope to speak in the future when we’re all ready. This week was awful for all of us and I ask that the community focuses on positivity moving forward ❤️
— James Charles (@jamescharles) May 20, 2019
Since then, Charles announced he canceled her Sisters Live tour with an Instagram Story, saying the feud put him in a really bad place and that the cancellation was a personal thing as he couldn’t “deliver the best version of James right now”.
By June 2019, Tati removed all her past videos related to the feud and posted some pre-filmed tutorial videos. She then came back to YouTube officially with her I’m Back… video on June 3, 2019. She did not address anything about the feud and every viewer obviously noticed.
Watch: Tati Westbrook’s Comeback Video, ‘I’m Back’
Meanwhile, James came back to YouTube on June 18, 2019, with a video titled Hi Sisters, not mentioning Tati either but discussing his absence and what was happening in his life outside YouTube. Since May 16, he gained 1.5 million subscribers by May 21, and Westbrook lost 400,000 from May 18 by then.
Watch: James Charles’ Comeback Video, ‘Hi Sisters’
The feud was all but over. It was such a dramatic few weeks for all three them, they were happy it was over between the three. But they were not in speaking terms with each other.
When it was all being settled out, the feud somehow brought out the cancel culture into perspective, because it was being accepted after the BYE SISTER… video that James was essentially, in all details, “canceled”. With so many people invested in the subscriber-count battle, many were recording that change, like they did the PewDiePie vs T-Series battle.
It somehow sent a trigger to the YouTube officials. With Charles’ subscriber-drop, on May 21, 2019, YouTube announced the public display of subscribers across YouTube would be abbreviated so that no one could track one by one subscriber change for anyone. Social Blade was having a hard time consoling its followers that they would still be able to deliver accurate data.
It was not clear if the online community feud or the cancel culture was the reason for the change, but it definitely seemed to have affected their decisions.
It was all over for a long while, until James decided to discuss his mental difficulties during those moments. He did not, by any means, try to discuss Tati or Jeffree. With an invitation from Joey Graffeca, he discussed the effects of the feud on his mental health with him and Nikita, on Graffeca’s Drama In The Community w/ James Charles & Nikita Dragun | Campfire Kiki video on September 8, 2019. Of course, he had to.
There was no mention of Tati or Jeffree from him as he discussed how he had to rely on friends to get through all the backlashes because of the feud and even might’ve considered self-harm.
If I didn’t have that, I would be dead right now. Like, I say that, like, not even being dramatic. I don’t think I would have made it through everything that went on without them being with me and making sure that I was okay and waking up in the middle of the night to check on me every 10 minutes to make sure I didn’t, like, literally do something dangerous.
They’ve all officially put the past behind them, and James responded to 2020 Coachella‘s festival lineup tweet, sharing his excitement for a completely different music festival than the last time.
THIS IS ABOUT TO BE THE BEST COACHELLA YET!!!! 🤯 no boys or vitamins!!!!!!!! just good music, outfits, photos & memories let’s GOOOO https://t.co/Au7pJCOt1X
— James Charles (@jamescharles) January 3, 2020
The feud is taking a different turn this time. Just recently on May 21, 2020, Jeffree looked over the time of the whole feud, i.e., back to when they were friends, and complimented James for his artwork on TikTok’s highest-followed personality, Charli D’Amelio [net worth: $4 million]. Both James and Charli are having the time of their online lives right now, and it was only right Jeffree wanted to show he’s changed. The Chali D’Amelio x James Charles went trending throughout YouTube.
Umm you look SO gorgeous!!! James killed it per usual 💯 https://t.co/qb5qv5SgP7
— Jeffree Star (@JeffreeStar) March 22, 2020
However, not everyone got the sentiment from him. While many were on board with a change of heart from him, many were really confused as to what was really going on. And while you keep getting confused, this means the thing is moving in a very positive direction. Will they be friends again? Only time will tell.
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