Opinion: We Should Cut YouTube Make-Up Artist James Charles Some Slack
Do you think he should be cancelled?
For those of you who don't follow the beauty community that exists on YouTube, it truly is a world full of non-stop drama. Half of it is fuelled by business competition and the other half is the reality that drama drives engagement. The more drama, the more views.
But if YouTuber James Charles thought that this little spat of drama was going to boost his engagement, he miscalculated terribly.
After promoting a brand that is in direct competition with one of his closest make-up mentors, James took even more heat for calling out a straight boy on Twitter for not returning his affections.
The whole situation is very nuanced and while I've personally never been a fan of James Charles and I am pretty unimpressed with the behaviour that has come to light, there is still a part of me that thinks we should cut him some slack. Why? Because the boy is only 19.
While James Charles is reportedly worth $12 million and runs a massive business, he is still barely an adult.
This is probably why he didn't think twice about promoting Sugar Bear Hair vitamins while at Coachella, even when it is a direct competitor with Halo Beauty Vitamins, owned by Tati Westbrook.
Westbrook and Charles have long been friends and business partners, which is why Tati Westbrook spoke out last week about Charles' decision to promote the other brand in the tearful Instagram Story, seen in the video above.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg.
James Charles also decided to tweet-and-delete about a boy he was with at Coachella, who self-identified as bicurious but was also unsure about his feelings, emotional, sexual or otherwise.
Charles is an out, homosexual man who has a long history of chasing and being interested in straight men. His decision to pursue a relationship with another straight man (which resulted in that straight man cutting ties) led to more outrage being directed at Charles.
While he was likely gunning for sympathy, people saw through his attempt to play the victim and brought up countless examples of Charles getting himself into this situation in the past. Tati Westbrook then shared her own opinion of the situation in the video, "Bye, sister," above.
But again, this is where I have to chime in with a reminder: James Charles is only nineteen.
Of course, we can't excuse people for their immature and childish behaviour forever. But while they're still practically children? Maybe a bit of understanding could be shared here.
The manipulation that is noticeable in nearly all of Charles' interactions plays out to me like someone that is used to getting what he wants. And considering Charles was made the first male Cover Girl in the history of Cover Girl... I think this kid is used to getting his way.
So to be constantly denied by boys, who probably flirt and little more than they should because he's mega Internet famous, and who never follow through with the flirting likely doesn't sit well with someone like James Charles.
Do I think James Charles needs to check himself and his problematic behaviour? Yes.
But do I also think it's important to remember he's a 19-year-old boy who grew up with all of the Internet's eyes on him? Undeniably, yes.
I acted a straight fool in my first year of university when it came to boys, so I can only imagine how stupid Charles is going to feel in a couple years when he looks back on this time in his life. The only difference is I didn't have half of Twitter sharing receipts of my stupidity. Charles has not been so lucky.