parent opinion

'As a mum watching the drama between Tati Westbrook and James Charles unfold, I feel sick.'

Seeing James Charles get cancelled makes me feel a little bit sick.

I’ve never watched one of his beauty videos. I’m not exactly in the target market. I can’t think of anything more boring than watching someone, male or female, put their makeup on.

But I do have kids. And Charles is just a kid. He’s only 19.

What did Tati do to James? Hear the saga explained in a nutshell on The Quicky. Post continues after video.

For anyone who’s missed out on the story, in late April, Charles promoted Sugar Bear Hair vitamins on Instagram after they provided him with security at Coachella. Sugar Bear Hair is a competitor to Halo Beauty, the brand owned by Charles’s mentor/mother figure, beauty vlogger Tati Westbrook.

Westbrook took offence, and despite Charles’s Instagram apology, she made a 43-minute video that destroyed Charles. Not only did she call him “ungrateful”, she claimed he tried to “trick straight men into thinking they’re gay”. The video has had more than 37 million views on YouTube so far.

Since then, there’s been a huge pile-on, with other influencers attacking Charles. His YouTube subscriber numbers have fallen by about three million, while Westbrook’s have gone up by four million. It’s a classic example of cancel culture.

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There’s a lot of glee out there. You can watch Charles and Westbrook’s subscriber numbers change, in real time, accompanied by cheery music. You can laugh at the memes, seeing Charles’s career as a coffin being carried to the grave by Westbrook.

Charles’ eight-minute grovelling video apology has also had 37 million views. In it, he’s makeup-free and looks exhausted.

He explains that he met Tati and her husband James “when I had no friends”, and he says they gave him “a place to stay, and a shoulder to cry on at three o’clock in the morning and support when nobody else would or wanted to”.

You can also watch other YouTubers mocking Charles’s apology, one even redoing it “with better acting”.

Watch James Charles contour with a fidget spinner. Post continues after video. 

Maybe I’m just too old for this, but I find it hard to feel any glee in seeing a teenager ripped to pieces in front of a global audience. I find it disturbing that a 37-year-old woman would make a lengthy video trashing the reputation of someone who looked up to her as a parental figure.

For the first time in years, I’m finding myself having flashbacks to when I was bullied on camp when I was 11, when the popular girl who I thought was my friend turned all the other girls against me.

I guess most of the fans of Charles are tweens or teens, who subscribe for the makeup tips. And I would imagine that most parents would think it’s pretty harmless to let their kids follow beauty vloggers (or maybe not, but that’s another story).

But those kids are now seeing really horrible bullying behaviour playing out before their eyes, with millions cheering it on. That’s not what they subscribed to watch, and not what their parents think they’re watching.

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bare faced sisters ???????? video coming soon

A post shared by James Charles (@jamescharles) on

I don’t know if any of the things Westbrook is saying about Charles are true. I don’t know how much of this is about boosting subscriber numbers. Hell, I don’t even really know what hair vitamins are.

I just know that “cancelling” feels a lot like bullying, and I don’t like it, and I don’t want my kids to witness it.

As parents, we’re always being told to protect our kids online. We’re warned about not sharing their photos, and keeping their information private.

But it seems like something even as harmless as watching beauty vloggers’ videos could hurt our kids.

Will you continue to let your kids watch beauty bloggers on YouTube? Tell us in the comments section below. 

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