Sorry, James Charles, Guess You're Canceled, Sister

Sorry, James Charles, Guess You're Cancelled, Sister

Everything you need to know about sister James Charles.

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Another career in the dust, another day. Somehow the beauty community can never shy away from drama, and yet somehow the tea this summer is 100% hotter than it was last summer. James Charles is a beauty influencer on YouTube who has gotten his career screwed over in a matter of weeks after being exposed in a 48-minute video by Tati Westbrook beauty influencer and ex-best friend. It was downhill from there.

Disclaimer: Please do not send hate to any of the people mentioned in this article, I've provided pictures and links throughout this article.

What happened during Coachella?

During the first few days of Coachella James Charles uploading a story on Snapchat where he tells his subscribers that Sugar Bear Hair, a popular vitamin brand for influencers, had offered James Charles safety during Coachella where big crowds can be an issue for massive influencers as well as a contract. The big issue? James Charles' best friend, mentor, second mom, and influencer family member Tati Westbrook's brand Halo Beauty is SugarBeaHair's main competitor. Call me old fashioned but I don't believe getting a paid sponsorship with your best friend's main competitor is something a good friend would do.

Moreover, James refused to collaborate on Halo Beauty in order to "stay true to his fan base," while constantly discussing how he didn't support the so-called SugarBearHair brand because he "doesn't believe in taking vitamins."

After the PR video went up on Instagram, Tati put a video on her Instagram story in which she was crying saying over and over again, "I'm so done." It was easy to link the two videos together.

Update: According to Nikita Dragun (another beauty influencer and founder of Dragun Beauty), James reached out to Nikita first for possible VIP access in order to avoid large crowds which are often unsafe for people of high monetary value like celebrities, YouTube stars, and beauty gurus. When Nikita was unable to provide him with any, he was referred over to Sugarbearhair's brand where he signed a contract, did a quick PR campaign on Snapchat, and was given VIP access to Coachella.

Nikita Statement 1https://twitter.com/NikitaDragun

Nikita pt 2https://twitter.com/NikitaDragun

Unfortunately, this was not the same story he told to drama channel Tea Spill, despite Nikita's efforts to save her friend the plan fell flat. Many fans are not impressed with the blatant lies.

TEA SPhttps://twitter.com/TeaSpillYT

TEA SP 2https://twitter.com/TeaSpillYT

Who's that new guy?

On April 17th, a fan of James Charles tweeted out screenshots of James hanging out with a young man.

James replied to the tweet at the end of the day:

JC replyhttps://twitter.com/jamescharles

James deleted the tweet soon after posting it but it was too late. Fans started digging and soon found the young man's identity, a male model named Gage Gomez. James' fans started attacking Gage and sent him death threats online. Gage then decided to post his side of the story when a family friend confronted him in his DMs.

On April 29th, Gage posted his side of the story in a 2-minute-long video addressing James's tweets and how they were very misleading. In his video, he added a screenshot of a text message where James apologizes to Gage about the tweet. Gage asks him to tweet out his apology so that James's fans can stop attacking him but James ignores him.

A few days later Gage decides to post another video on April 29 entitled "What Really Went Down Between Me and James Charles." (Click here for video)

Gage talks about how he received a DM from James in January 2019 and he responded as a friend. He and James texted back and forth for a while and eventually decided to go hang out together at Coachella. Gage addressed how he thought it was going to be a fun time, which was at the time (5:25). Eventually, James started to add more and more pressure onto Gage to cuddle and make out even when Gage told him he's straight and not interested (5:40).

"I told James I wasn't interested in any of that."

Gage also tells a story about one time when James was in New York and asked Gage if he wanted to hang out twice. When Gage refused a second time, James blocked him on all social media and sub-tweeted about him on his platforms, sending out a slanderous message in response to his rejection.

This wasn't the first time James had subtweeted Gage. After Coachella, James tweeted out this message on Twitter:

JC subtweethttps://twitter.com/jamescharles

JC sub 2https://twitter.com/jamescharles

James does have an apparent history of being attracted to and flirting with straight guys. To name a few:

He's talked about having a crush of Jeff Wittek a YouTuber and member of the Vlog Squad. James collaborated with him on his channel in a video called "The Truth…My Crush Does My Makeup." At the very beginning, he states "Jeff is a straight man." During the video, James makes flirty and inappropriate jokes during the video. (Click here for video)

James has flirted publicly with singer Shawn Mendes, he's left multiple suggestive NSFW comments on Shawn's Instagram and Twitter accounts. On October 2nd, 2018 Shawn Mendes did an Instagram Live where he showed off his juggling skills and responded to fans' comments. James commented, "can you juggle me like that?" Soon after James left the comment, Shawn quickly ended the Instagram Live. (Click here for video) There was a lot of speculation about the comment, James ended up apologizing on Twitter about it and the whole situation was cleared up.

James Charles also accused Gage Gomez of hanging out with him for "clout" which is gaining fame and influence by being around celebrities or in this case beauty gurus. Gage addressed in his video that he didn't do this at all considered he didn't post any pictures with James Charles in them.

On May 5th, Gage responded to James' subtweet message with his own message entitled Girls (I hear you).

Gage Resphttps://twitter.com/gagejjg

Gabriel Zamora

On May 4th, Gabriel Zamora (yup you guessed it, beauty guru #3) posted a video entitled "Makeup and Opinions." In this video, Gabriel talked about Tati's tears and pressed the issue further saying,

"So if you're gonna go on the Internet and cry, and heavily imply that there's a horrible human being and everyone can get what it is; girl sit on the internet and talk about it then."

And oh my God, did she…

Tati's video

On May 10th, Tati Westbrook uploaded a video entitled "Bye Sister..." where she addressed the SugarBearHair scandal, Coachella, and a lot of unknown details about James' predatory behavior towards straight guys. Tati discussed an incident during her birthday dinner in which James thirsted after their waiter. Tati mentioned how James talked about sexual activities he'd do to the waiter in explicit detail in front of her family members including beauty guru Jeffree Star. (Click here for the video)

The video was altogether very heartbreaking to watch as Tati is clearly broken over the betrayal of a mentee she had such high hopes for.

"On the heels of you behaving in ways, I don't agree with for you to lie to me and make me the villain and go around and circulate a story to work on your side saying that I'm "loving the drama because of its improving sales". That's not the case; you're my family, I love still!'"

Tati also mentioned how James Charles was very scheming and influential as he knew exactly how to get what he wanted, and twist any scenario to make himself a victim.

"You don't get to the success that James Charles has without knowing how to work someone and I don't want to be worked. I don't want to be manipulated by him."

Responses and Receipts

After Tati's video was released multiple celebrities came forward saying they've had similar experiences with James Charles. Here are a few:

On May 11th, Zara Larsson tweeted out that James Charles attempted to seduce her boyfriend while being completely aware he's straight and taken.

Zara Larssonhttps://twitter.com/zaralarsson

This tweet brought up concerns that there are many cases of JC's inappropriate behavior that has yet to be said. Since Tati's video was released, multiple celebrities such as the Kardashians, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and Shawn Mendes have unfollowed James Charles from Twitter. It might not sound like a huge deal to some, but James is losing friends fast.

Jeffree Star broke his silence too with 2 tweets. In the first tweet, JStar hints that James came onto Jeffree's boyfriend Nathan and makes an extremely serious accusation against him. Jeffree Star has since deleted the tweet.

JStar tweet 1https://twitter.com/JeffreeStar

The second is where he angrily quote tweets James' brother Ian a cruel message.

Jstar 2https://twitter.com/JeffreeStar

Within three days, James Charles lost over 3 million subscribers.

James' Response Video

On May 10th, James publicly apologizes to Tati and her husband in an 8-minute video. He also apologizes to his audience since he recognizes that a lot of people look up to him as a role model. A lot of fans were confused as to whether James was just very sincere and to the point or if this was a Laura Lee 2.0 video. James expressed how much Tati means to him and how she was one of the very first people who believed in him when he was first starting out as a beauty guru. He also asks his mother to not defend him on his behalf.

(Click to watch the video here)

Tati's Second Video

On May 16, Tati posted a second response video to all the drama entitled, "Why I Did It." In Tati's second video, she reiterates that fact that she rarely gets involved in drama and that she wouldn't have gotten involved unless she seriously felt like it was her only defense. She also acknowledges that she was one of the very first people who helped get James Charles started in the beauty community, backing him into becoming the very successful beauty guru he has become today. Essentially, James chose a fun weekend at Coachella over their friendship. She also discusses that she's decided to take a break from social media and YouTube.

(Click video here)

James' Response #2

The Internet has broken once again. James Charles uploaded a much longer version of his response video entitled "No More Lies" on May 18. First, James talks about the situation that got everything started... the vitamins. James talks about how he was panicking from feeling unsafe during Coachella and signed a contract without thinking of the consequences. James provided text messages showing that he did indeed send Tati texts on April 22nd, telling her what happened with SugarBearHair. James Charles had his receipts by his side and addressed his side of the story. James argued that the waiter in Seattle (Sam Cooke) DMed him saying he was "fully gay" and that the only non-consensual thing that happened was when Sam recorded a Facetime interaction between himself and James Charles.

(Click here for video)

Jeffree Speaks

On May 19, 2019, Jeffree Star uploaded a response video after sending tweets out suggested he was "coming for James Charles."

In his video, Jeffree Star stated that he wanted to be very clear and transparent to his audience. Jeffree talks about being too outspoken and how he recognizes that he might have spoken too much about James Charles.

"I'm not going to fuel this fire bigger because I want to get more entertainment. Behind the scenes this isn't funny, this is our real lives. I entered myself into something publicly that I shouldn't have."

Jeffree Star talks about how he knows the audience wants him to chew out James Charles, yet he refuses to do it simply because it isn't healthy. He talks about mistakes he's made and owes up to them. "I shouldn't have vented on the internet, I should've vented to James (6:00)."

Jeffree Star also discusses how he often lets people's opinions get into his head that has swayed his opinion, thus he'd like to handle this situation more privately than he's done in the past. He also apologized to James' brother Ian whom he sent a hurtful tweet, instead of handing his emotions.

"Did I jump the gun on a situation that I didn't fully understand or chime in? Absolutely. (7:00)"

(Click here for video)

What's the Big Issue/My Opinion

As Tati said, James Charles' main audience are young girls aged 12 and up; my best friend's little sister is 8 years old, and she is a huge James Charles fan. These girls are looking up to a potentially predatory, immature influencer to learn how to appeal to the masses and behave. Long story short: it's not okay.

It's 2019, and with huge issues like the LGBT+ community, the #MeToo movement, and many other equal rights groups making ground. Anything online that could suggest that a gay beauty influencer forcing himself on multiple straight men puts Seeing it from the opposite perspective, if a straight man forced himself on a gay woman, these communities would be up in arms. The LGBT+ community prides itself on the statement that being gay isn't a choice, and that you can't manipulate someone's sexuality. Yet this is exactly what James Charles has been accused of doing.

Worse, he's done this multiple times and when faced with the rejection he subtweets a hateful response, blocks, or insults that person on his huge platform. He is completely aware that in doing so, he could put his victim's careers, families, and their mental and emotional well-being at stake. Social media and beauty gurus have the power to do so with very little means. Beauty influencers can make or break a brand, based on a single tweet depending on how many people follow them.

Another note is the whole immaturity versus maturity game that's been going on. James is 18, Tati is 37, and JStar is 33, compared to his friends he's still pretty much a child. He's gonna do dumb stuff. Don't get me wrong everyone involved is responsible for their own actions, words, and events age doesn't automatically cancel anything out. However, Jeffree Star makes a very good argument in his response video. He mentioned how he didn't talk to James about any of his issues prior to tweeting and instead took the Internet and looked to his audience for comfort. People LOVE drama and the more drama an audience can get, the better. Instead of booty guru World War 2, if these three celebs sat down and just talked it out first, a lot of serious accusations could have been easily avoided.

My biggest concern is that there are huge claims being made on Twitter as well; one person even states that James Charles sexually assaulted a friend of hers. Another says that he was 17 and James Charles still tried to flirt with him. These are serious accusations that have serious consequences. Although many of these claims have been debunked, this is no longer people making up funny rumors online; this is the type of tweet that can put someone in prison for life based on a false accusation. Anonymity online no longer exists, please remember that.

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The Risky 'Stranger Things' Casting Mistake That Needs Fixing

Not only am I disappointed by such a great show's dangerous decision, I'm upset by the fact that no one has corrected it.

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Like many, "Stranger Things" is one of my favorite shows. But after extensive research, I feel like it's my moral responsibility to refrain from watching the upcoming third season of a show that encourages fans to starve themselves.

This article uses potentially triggering language related to eating disorders.

Natalia Dyer is an actress best known for her role as Nancy Wheeler in Netflix's original show, "Stranger Things." Despite its enthralling plot, the first time I watched it, I found myself distracted by her unusually thin frame. While I know many naturally skinny women and actresses, I've never seen someone whose skeleton was so prominent.

Flickr- Natalia Dyer (left)

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two serious eating and emotional disorders characterized by loss of appetite, refusal to eat, excessive exercise, body dysmorphia, and (specific to bulimia) compulsive binge eating followed by purging.

While I didn't find any direct quotes from Natalia about suffering from an eating disorder, I did stumble upon pictures of her from the 2009 premiere of "Hannah Montana: The Movie" and was shocked at how drastically different she looks today.

Youtube- "Hannah Montana: The Movie" Premiere

In 2014, Natalia starred in "I believe in Unicorns," where promotional pictures also illustrate how much she's changed. For those who believe she's "naturally thin," these past films, as well as pictures from her childhood prove that she wasn't always this skinny.

Youtube- "I Believe in Unicorns" 2014

When I first researched Natalia, I found forums in which people who have battled with eating disorders discuss the physical signs of anorexia and bulimia that Natalia exhibits. The most obvious being her frame, visible bones underneath thin skin, sunken-in eyes, "hollow" face, as well as more subtle signs, like scabs on her knuckles (called Russell's sign), white or blue fingernails, and lines around the mouth that seem to age her face.

I am fortunate enough to have never suffered from an eating disorder, so I did a lot of research to keep from jumping to conclusions about Natalia's health. What I've found is that symptoms of eating disorders closely mimic those of gastrointestinal diseases, such as Celiac and Crohn's disease. In this sense, it's possible that those who criticize her for disordered eating are evaluating the body of someone with a dysfunctional digestive system (though the aforementioned physical signs pointed out by people who have had anorexia convince me that this likely isn't the case).

Youtube- Natalia Dyer 2017

While there's little factual information about if Natalia has an eating disorder, there is much speculation that she does, both from those who have overcome such disorders, and those still struggling.

During my search for information, I found several "pro-ana" websites—a contraction of "pro-anorexia," used to admire eating disorders in a positive light—idolizing Natalia's weight loss and expressing jealousy of her outrageously thin frame. In one particular forum, people describe her in "Hannah Montana: The Movie" as "on her way to chunky town," and "mad chunky" in "I Believe in Unicorns." Even going a step further by stating that Natalia's "Stranger Things" co-star Shannon Purser "needs to take pointers from [Natalia]."

Flickr- Shannon Purser

Finding this forum made my blood boil. Not because of the responsibilities of its participants (that's an article for another day), but because of the irresponsibility the casting director—Carmen Cuba—and creators of "Stranger Things" have exhibited in casting a potentially anorexic actress, and Netflix's lack of opposition to this choice.

As a rule of corporate management, businesses have what's called "corporate social responsibility" (CSR) which is defined as "the idea that businesses should balance profit-making activities with activities that benefit society. It involves developing businesses with a positive relationship to the society in which they operate."

From my point of view, Cuba's casting choice for the character Nancy violated the sense of CSR that such a popular show should have, given that she's provided fans who struggle with body dysmorphia a potentially dangerous source of "thinspiration."

Youtube- Natalia Dyer at ages 17 (left) and 20 (right)

There are many different solutions to this problem, but without knowing Natalia's exact situation, it could be thoughtless and damaging to bombard her with messages about gaining weight, meaning the issue of casting an actress who inadvertently (I cannot stress the word "inadvertently" enough) inspires young fans to starve themselves lies solely in the hands of the show's creators.

There are still many facets of this issue I have yet to discuss, but until then, if you believe that you, a friend, or a relative have an eating disorder, contact an eating disorder hotline now.

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"Russian Doll" Is Just a Groundhog of Another Color

Natasha Lyonne stars in the new dramedy that plays off a familiar trope.

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I'm mostly writing this article to prove a friend wrong.

Haha, what? No, no, no I'm not that petty…okay maybe a little bit. But he's wrong! He's really, really wrong! But maybe we agree on what we're talking about?

What? You want me to go back to the beginning? I can't—

Oh, alright.

So, last week Thursday I had the Netflix original, Russian Doll, recommended to me by no less than three people in a span of four hours. It was good! It was so good! That was the claim they all made, anyways. And they're my friends, after all. I trust them with my TV-watching habits.

So, I tuned in. That very night. I watched.

The first episode was good…and that's kind of it.

Don't get me wrong! In a world rife with uninspired content that doesn't quite hit the mark, it was good. But it wasn't overly so. Not in the kind of preach to the heavens way that my friends had approached me with.

But I shrugged it off. I kept watching. The episodes were only about a half hour, after all. Surely, it'd get better. Surely, it would reach soaring, post-Icarian heights that man could only dream of. Going where none had gone before.

But it didn't. It merely stayed good.

Now, don't get me wrong, that's no small feat. There's plenty of shows that start off good and get the better of themselves as time goes on (looking at you Supernatural). Even as the latest season of Black Mirror is showing us, nothing lasts forever.

So, I tip my hat to you Russian Doll. To your darkly tragicomic self, a buddy comedy taking direct inspiration from Groundhog Day.

Wait, Groundhog Day?

Yes, that's where my friend is indelibly wrong.

A solid purveyor of the concept that nothing is that original anymore, my friend asserts that apparently Russian Doll is distinctly different from Groundhog Day. Which is utter bologna.

I am going to describe a piece of media content in this paragraph: A snarky, stressed out, contemptuous fella finds themself stuck in a time loop. Every time they die, the loop resets, putting them back to the exact same singular moment that they first heard the gentle, drifting melody of a slightly too-upbeat pop song. They try to escape the time loop by fleeing, by dying, by doing literally anything they can. That's when they realize it's futile and that they'll be stuck forever, perhaps even erased from existence, unless they can become a better person.

Now, which product did I describe: Groundhog Day or Russian Doll?

Truth is, I can't tell either.

That's not to say there's nothing distinctive about Russian Doll. Natasha Lyonne is wildly funny and I loved the idea of her being trapped with a "partner in crime" in Charlie Bennett's Alan. The setting is obviously different too (New York vs. Punxsutawney) and the character's drug use provides for some trippy fun, there's no denying.

But in theme, tone, and a lot of jokes, Russian Doll can't escape the shadow of Groundhog Day.

Hell, even in this review in which they try to avoid talking about Groundhog Day they can't avoid talking about Groundhog Day.

And for good reason! Groundhog Day is a brilliant movie that condensed a brilliant concept for a generation. It's such a common staple of contemporary culture that the military widely uses the terminology "Groundhog Day" in its slang. Christ, even Congress has preserved it for all time in its library.

The influence is inescapable and anyone who says differently doesn't know what they're talking about.

Now, does that mean Russian Doll is unoriginal? Or that nothing Hollywood makes nowadays is all that original? No, of course not. To offer a slight concurrence with my friend, everything really does derive from something. One has to look no farther than Jason Campbell's monomyth to realize the stories that we tell are rarely "original" in the lofty ways that we ideally think about them.

But the well-worn trope of living in a time loop, unable to escape via death, only via some higher power or greater good, is so thick in Russian Doll that it's similarities to Groundhog Day are particularly noxious. The show would not be evaluated in the same terms today if it had been released in 1992, forever and a day before Groundhog Day premiered. And that matters.

But Noah, if nothing's original how come you hate Russian Doll more than, say, Black Mirror? Isn't Black Mirror just a reimagining of The Twilight Zone?

Well, firstly, I never said I hated Russian Doll. I happen to like Russian Doll very much. And Black Mirror certainly can't escape its own history, which is necessarily inclusive of The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling's masterpiece series perfected the spooky, thought-provoking anthology series like nothing else before it. Of that there's no denying.

I would contend, however, that Black Mirror does not rely on a singular trope to form its core. While Russian Doll isn't Russian Doll without the die, live, repeat gimmick, remove any similar singular element from Black Mirror, say artificial intelligence, and the show still stands. It moves and breathes of its own accord. While both shows are (mostly) masterfully written, Nadia Vulvokov simply plays the drug-addled redhead to Murray's weatherman Phil Connors if they both don't die and live again.

So call me petty. A hater. A downer. A Debbie downer even. Bottom line? Russian Doll is great. Just not too great.

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