James Charles, Tati Westbrook and the Chaos of Cancel Culture
What started as backlash to a post about vitamins snowballed into a mess of unconfirmed facts, hurt feelings and subscriber live counts.
It started with a video — or was it an Instagram Story promoting vitamins?
James Charles and Tati Westbrook — and Jeffree Star, who inserted himself into the fray somewhere along the way — have publicly put an end to the virtual maelstrom that moved millions. The highly publicized back-and-forth between 20-year-old Charles, who shot to Internet stardom in 2016 when CoverGirl named him its first male spokesmodel, and 37-year-old Westbrook, Charles’ mentor who is credited as one of the first beauty influencers, centered around a social media post promoting vitamins and mushroomed over allegations of sexual harassment.
The exchange took off on May 10 with Westbrook’s “Bye Sister” video and snowballed online for a full nine days until Charles declared a truce on his Twitter account. The drama initially cost Charles about 3 million subscribers — he ultimately gained back about 2 million — while Westbrook gained nearly 4 million subscribers. YouTuber Tea4Real even posted a video supposedly showing Charles’ and Westbrook’s subscriber counts changing in real time, and YouTube has since announced it will change the way it displays subscriber counts.