Beauty YouTuber James Charles has lost three million subscribers in the midst of a feud with beauty guru and former friend Tati Westbrook.
Charles, 19, credits Westbrook, 37, for getting him interested in makeup. Westbrook also served as a mentor to Charles in the industry.
The breakdown of their friendship began on April 22 when Charles, who formerly boasted 16 million subscribers on YouTube, posted an Instagram video for Sugar Bear Hair during Coachella. Westbrook owns beauty supplement company Halo Beauty, which is a competitor of Sugar Bear Hair. Westbrook posted on her Instagram that she felt “betrayed” by someone but did not specify who.
Charles released a statement apologizing to Westbrook for promoting Sugar Bear Hair.
“I want to publicly apologize to my close friend, Tati. She has been like a mother to me since my first days in this industry and has given me more love, support, resources and advice than I could ever ask for,” Charles wrote. “This weekend I did an Instagram story for sleep vitamins that I’ve been taking because the brand helped me with security when the crowd around me at Coachella became unsafe. I did not accept any money from this post.”
Westbrook then responded with a 43-minute video titled “Bye Sister,” a reference to Charles’ nickname for his fans, where she detailed her issues with Charles.
“How entitled do you have to be to think that you have it rough? You are a 19-year-old millionaire,” she says in the video which has more than 35 million views. “You do not get to wake up and stress out about how unfair your job is. That is so ridiculous to me. Get off your high horse and have some respect. You don’t have any for the people who are in this industry and that’s the sad fact.”
Westbrook explains that she and her husband James felt betrayed by Charles because they both assisted with his career. She also accuses Charles of making snide comments about other YouTubers and for being sexually inappropriate with a straight waiter. Charles, who is gay, has been accused of making sexual advances towards straight men in the past.
Charles responded with an eight-minute video titled simply “Tati” where he apologized for his behavior
“To Tati and James Westbrook I’m sorry for everything that is going on, everything that I’ve put you through over the past few weeks,” Charles says.
“Most of my career over the past few years has been about me making mistakes and trying to learn and grow from them. I haven’t always done the best job of that, I can admit that. But I have always tried.”
Since Westbrook’s video, Charles subscriber count has rapidly dropped. He has also been unfollowed by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian-West, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes and fellow YouTubers Shane Dawson and Tana Mongeau.
Westbrook spoke out for the first time since posting her video tweeting, “My heart is still too heavy. I feel like I need to remind you that we can hold truth & inspire change without grabbing onto hate. Honor your blessings, don’t abuse them. Celebrating pain will only bring it to your door. Love you guys, see you soon.”
There won't be a video tomorrow. My heart is still too heavy. I feel like I need to remind you that we can hold truth & inspire change without grabbing onto hate. Honor your blessings, don't abuse them. Celebrating pain will only bring it to your door. love you guys, see you soon— Tati Westbrook (@GlamLifeGuru) May 13, 2019
The beauty guru drama inspired memes from people who weren’t familiar with the beauty guru community and people who just wanted to indulge in some gossip.
me getting ready to watch a 43 minute video by tati westbrook, whom I have never heard of, exposing james charles, whomst I only know about from memes of him not being able to sing and wearing assless leather pants pic.twitter.com/jXMmd9sMXG— marshall lo (@firmlyclimactic) May 11, 2019
As YouTube makeup influencers feuded with each other, I couldn’t help but wonder: Had their relationship been built using a bad foundation? pic.twitter.com/HBQcKbwL32— grant 🧔🏻 (@urdadssidepiece) May 10, 2019
Me after spending 45 mins of my day, avoiding my own responsibilities to watch the James Charles and Tati drama. pic.twitter.com/IXaTIocOja— Josh Kane (@Joshkaneee) May 10, 2019