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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.

Collage credits: Tati Westbrook, James Charles, YouTube, WWD

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.


Published on May 25, 2019 by Beauty Inc

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