For the past month, multiple boys who said they were minors have alleged that 21-year-old beauty guru James Charles flirted with and made sexually suggestive remarks toward them.
“I trusted the information that was given to me rather than the information I could have and should have gotten myself,” Charles said, possibly suggesting that there was evidence on some social media profiles that would have revealed that those boys were under 18. He said the “receipts and screenshots and specific details of the interaction” don’t actually matter.
“I f***** up, and I needed to take accountability for my actions and most importantly apologize to the people that were affected by them,” he said in the video.
Charles said he had been using TikTok as a “dating app” and that he wanted a boyfriend, but denied actively seeking out younger-looking partners.
“In all other areas of my life — my friends, my business — I like to think of myself as pretty put-together and on top of things, and I couldn’t understand why relationships were the one outlier,” he said. “It sucks and it is ridiculously embarrassing to admit this but … I am desperate.”
Charles emphasized his commitment to change, admitting he “should’ve been more careful in every single way,” and sharing his plan to seek proper identification from the men he seeks a deeper relationship with romantically or sexually.
He said he now understands the power imbalance that is at play when he interacts with fans — a similar admission YouTuber David Dobrik made just days ago when talking about the consent necessary to make an appropriate prank video.
“What I wasn’t getting before is that the excitement that comes with talking to a celebrity is literally enough to make somebody do or say something that they normally wouldn’t,” Charles said. “Even if that celebrity isn’t intentionally weaponizing their fame, money or power. And that’s the concept that I just wasn’t getting, but I now do.”
Charles ended the video by saying he would be taking some time away from social media to reflect on the situation.
The like-to-dislike ratio on the video highly favors the former — at time of writing, there are 194,000 likes and only 33,000 dislikes.
This implies that the apology has been accepted more than rejected by fans, though there are, of course, many factors at play here, including the fact that his fan base is often louder than his detractors, which is why it took weeks following these accusations for him to make a video in the first place.
Meanwhile, many people remain skeptical about the video and how it will impact Charles’ young audience.
“All I hear is excuses & victim blaming. Don’t forgive him,” one Twitter user wrote.
“I’m really bothered by this James Charles s***, as are many … Why are we accepting this?” another said.
“James Charles has a huge kid audience … I have to wonder how the mentality of his fans is affected by getting a front-row seat to an underage sexting scandal,” Insider’s Kat Tenbarge wrote in a tweet.
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If you found this story interesting, read more about how Charles’ former collaborator Ondreaz Lopez was accused of predatory behavior.
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