A solemn-looking James Charles has been seen for the first time since being embroiled in a furious online scandal that has caused him to lose more than three million social media followers in days – and has seen him publicly accused of deceit and manipulation by multiple people.
The 19-year-old Los Angeles-based makeup blogger, who was touring Australia to open up a pop-up store on the Gold Coast this week, was pictured sneaking into Brisbane airport makeup-free on Wednesday morning surrounded by Virgin Australia cabin crew and security.
It is his first public outing the teen has made since his former mentor and fellow beauty guru Tati Westbrook published a shocking viral video in which she accused him of backstabbing, spreading lies – and even trying to manipulate straight men into romances with him.
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Makeup blogger James Charles (pictured) has been seen for the first time since his YouTube feud with fellow vlogger Tati Westbrook saw him lose more than three million subscribers
Since sharing an initial video apology in response to 37-year-old Tati’s clip over the weekend, the YouTube star has remained unusually quiet on social media – while watching his subscriber count plummet by millions of people.
While he has never previously seemed to shy away from the spotlight, he tried to keep a very low profile upon his arrival at the airport terminal.
James exited a black van wearing a black hoodie emblazoned with the word ‘Sisters’, a design from his own merchandise collection that references the word he uses to describe his fans.
The hoodie, designed by James, can be purchased online for $58.50.
The beauty YouTuber – who was makeup-free for the outing – paired the hoodie with a Balenciaga denim jacket, black sweatpants, a silver paperclip earring and black stiletto boots.
His hair was pushed back into his signature quiff, with a slight curl on top.
James looked almost teary as he descended a set of escalators with his crew, not daring to smile during his first appearance since news broke of his alleged ‘poor behaviour’.
The 19-year-old American star, who was touring Australia to open up a pop-up store on the Gold Coast this week, was pictured sneaking into Brisbane airport on Wednesday
He exited a black van wearing a black hoodie emblazoned with the word ‘Sisters’, a design from his own merchandise referencing a word he uses to describe his fans
James looked solemn as he descended a set of escalators with his crew, not daring to smile for his first appearance since news broke of his alleged ‘poor behaviour’
The beauty YouTuber, who was makeup-free for the outing, paired the hoodie with a denim jacket, black sweatpants, a silver paperclip earring and black stiletto boots
Photographers pounced on the young YouTube star as he sped through the terminal, asking if he ‘had sexually assaulted any young men’ and whether what Tati was alleging ‘was true’. James didn’t make any comment on the matter.
Interestingly, his outing came just hours after male model Jay Alvarrez, 23 – best known for dating model Alexis Ren before a very public breakup in 2016 – revealed that he received flirtatious messages from James in February, despite describing himself as ‘straight as could be’.
That accusation came just days after Tati, 37, first accused him of trying to ‘trick straight men into thinking they’re gay’.
On his Instagram Stories, Alvarrez shared a screengrab of the conversation he had with the beauty guru, while captioning the image, ‘People giving this kid [too] much props he got no game.’
James messaged the model first by saying, ‘Hi daddy’. The conversation then continued with Jay complimenting James’ makeup skills before asking why he was sending him direct messages.
Revealed: Model Jay Alvarrez (left) shared on Tuesday how YouTuber James Charles slid into his Instagram DM’s in February despite him being straight
Throwback: The model gained notoriety while dating model Alexis Ren from 2014 to 2016 – a relationship that earned him plenty of public attention thanks to their lavish lifestyle
Shocking: Jay revealed on Tuesday that he received a message from 19-year-old James, who told him he was ‘hot’ – despite him being very publicly straight
‘lmao you’re hot,’ the YouTuber responded to the message.
It was at this point that Jay made clear to James he was not interested, despite the YouTuber’s compliments.
‘Appreciate that my guy I’m as straight as could be,’ the model responded.
Alvarrez had never publicly indicated he would be interested in a same-sex romance and his only public relationship was with a woman.
He was the latest in a growing number of straight men who had accused James of hitting on them even though they were heterosexual and/or in relationships.
Those accusations were brought to light when Tati Westbrook accused James of manipulating straight men.
The feud between Tati and James started after Coachella when the YouTuber promoted Sugar Bear Hear products on his Instagram.
Tati, who owns her own vitamin company called Halo Beauty, came after James online for promoting her largest competitor.
Bitter: Jay and Alexis went through a very public and very bitter break-up that saw her size-shaming him publicly on social media
Superstar: The male model has continued to earn online fame, regularly sharing images of himself at the beach or living it up in Los Angeles
Shut down: Jay quickly shut down James’ seemingly flirtatious message, telling the YouTube star, ‘I’m straight as could be’
Nikita Dragun, who also runs her own beauty YouTube page, defended James by showing text messages on Twitter about why he felt the need to promote the company on his Instagram.
‘Heard a situation needed some clarification,’ the transgender woman, 23, wrote on Twitter to her 700,000 followers.
‘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.’
The tweet included two text message threads: one from James begging Nikita to connect him with Sugar Bear Hair because he was being ‘attacked in VIP’ at Coachella, and the other between Nikita and the company.
James claims he was in the VIP section at Coachella one evening and was getting attacked by other attendees, and that he felt his only option was to take a deal from Sugar Bear Hair in exchange for an artist pass.
But then trouble started for the YouTuber after he shared his sponsored post for the company, which directly competes against Tati and her Halo Beauty products.
On the defense: Nikita Dragun, 23, defended James Charles, 19, on Twitter by sharing text messages about his Coachella incident that put him in hot water
Here for you: The text messages shared by the transgender YouTuber was to show people that James only last minute decided to work with Sugar Bear Hair at Coachella
Receipts: In the messages, James reached out to Nikita to get him in contact with the company. She did and was able to help him get an artist pass in exchange for a sponsored post
Tati shared her frustrations first on Instagram about James’ actions before also posting a scathing 43-minute long video detailing why her friendship was over with the influencer.
The ongoing drama enticed Nikita to join the conversation with the re-tweets.
Some fans were unimpressed, and accused the influencer of faking them to help out her friend.
But she claims the texts are all true, writing: ‘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.’
Other people also expressed how Nikita was missing the point of the original controversy, saying how James’ behaviour was wrong for multiple reasons.
‘So, @jamescharles knowingly asked you to get him in touch with Tati’s main competitor without even batting an eye? Wow, thanks for clarifying,’ one angry fan wrote in response.
Support: People accused Nikita of faking the messages, but she claims the story James told about the entire situation was true
Not helpful: Even with the information, some fans said how James acted was shady against Tati Westbrook, his former friend, because Sugar Bear Hair is her competitor
Picking sides: Fans said they were still on Tati’s side about the entire situation. She bashed James last week for being disloyal by taking the sponsorship
Not happy: The drama only continues for James, as more people weigh in on the situation
Sparring: Drama started last week after Tati, 37, released a scathing video about James and their friendship
The feud began when James promoted Sugar Bear Hair vitamins — a competitor of Tati’s own supplement brand. Tati also accused James of manipulating straight men
Another commented: ‘He had previously stated that he wouldn’t promote Tati’s supplements to his followers because they’re too young. Hypocrite. he obviously has no loyalty to his friend in a very lucrative business. Disloyal. He should’ve been prepared with passes & his own security. Unprepared.’
In her video, Tati not only slammed James for being disloyal but claimed he would make sexually explicit comments about men he knew to be straight. She also accused him of manipulating straight men into sexual relationships.
After her video was posted, singer Zara Larsson shared a similar experience, saying James hit on her boyfriend Brian H. Whittaker.
‘I’m cackling cause he hit up my boyfriend in the dms several times knowing damn well he’s straight,’ she wrote.
Later, she amended the comment: ‘I feel like deleting this cause I checked and it wasn’t several times, only one dm and some comments under pictures.’
Singer Olivia O’Brien also tweeted in response to what Zara said about James flirting with her boyfriend, tweeting: ‘Same, sister. S***’s wild.’
Singer Zara Larsson also said James ‘hit up my boyfriend in the dm’s several times knowing damn well he’s straight’ (Zara pictured with boyfriend)
Heartbroken: Tati was frustrated by James’ promo posts and posted about feeling ‘betrayed’ shortly after. She also said James had other behaviour problems
Damage control: In response to Tati’s 43-minute video, James posted an eight-minute long apology video. But he has since lost three million subscribers
Detailed accounts of when James was overly sexual to men were mentioned in Tati’s video, including one account of when the YouTuber attended her birthday dinner earlier this year.
‘He said some things, telling me about a situation that happened in Seattle at my birthday, and it literally made me want to vomit,’ she said.
‘Oh my god, you tried to trick a straight man into thinking he’s gay, yet again, and somehow you’re the victim.
‘You know, it’s really disgusting to manipulate someone’s sexuality, especially when they are still emerging into adulthood and don’t quite have everything figured out.
‘You are using your fame, your power, your money to play with people’s emotions,’ she said. ‘You’re threatening to ruin them, you’re threatening to embarrass them, and you’re doing that to have them behave sexually in your favor, even if they’re straight.
‘And that’s not OK, that behaviour is not OK, whether you’re a woman, a man, gay, straight, bi, whatever sexual orientation you are, that is your call. It is not someone else’s to take, it is not someone else’s to play with… and how dare you laugh about it.
Drama queens: Some former fans are destroying their James Charles palettes following his public controversy, with at least one burning the makeup in the trash
Dumping it out: Another tossed her palette her cat’s littler box
His or hers: James and Tati’s feud has had many people taking sides – with most going for Team Tati
That’ll do it: One fan just put tape across the front with the word ‘cancelled’
‘Cracking someone’s sexuality is a not an escape room,’ she said.
The video has since been viewed more than 39 million times and led to viewers unsubscribing from James’ YouTube channel.
At the start of the controversy, James had 16.57 million YouTube subscribers. But as of Wednesday morning, he is down to just 13.51 – a three million follower drop, with it still steadily declining.
Tati, meanwhile, has seen her popularity grow since releasing her video against James. She has gained four million followers, boosting her subscriber account to 9.8 million.
Some angry former fans of James had expressed their rage by posting videos of themselves damaging their James Charles eye shadow palettes.