Charles’ professional career has taken a significant blow, but his platform remains relatively unscathed.
So let’s talk about James Charles.
For those of you not in the loop, Charles has recently been at the center of controversy after several minors accused the beauty YouTuber of sexual misconduct.
A number of people under the age of 18 accused the 21-year-old of predatory behavior, with many uploading screenshots of alleged conversations between themselves and Charles.
And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Back in 2019, fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook made similar claims about Charles, accusing him of preying on straight men and using his fame as leverage. At the time, Charles vehemently denied the accusations.
You can read more about the recent allegations here.
Charles responded to the recent allegations by posting a Notes app apology refuting the claims. He went on to allege that the person in question had told him he was 18 years old, but said he hadn’t asked for any age verification to confirm that.
Charles ended the statement: “Because of situations like this, instead of taking someone’s word for it, I now will ask to see ID or passport of every guy I have a conversation with.”
However, despite continuing to upload to his channel as normal, Charles was eventually forced to address further allegations in a video titled “Holding Myself Accountable.”
But Charles’ damage control didn’t work like it has in the past. A few weeks after the video was posted, Morphe — the company that has stayed by the YouTuber’s side throughout his career — announced it is “winding down sales” of their collaboration.
This was seen as a huge move as the Morphe x James Charles eyeshadow palette is one of the company’s bestsellers.
Charles also posted a statement, claiming that he’d reached out to Morphe and the two had mutually agreed to “wind down sales” of their collaboration after they’d received “negative feedback” for their association with Charles following the allegations.
But on Monday, it was announced that YouTube would be temporarily demonetizing his channel, meaning he wouldn’t be able to make money from his videos on the site.
Charles was also dropped from Season 2 of the YouTube show he fronted, Instant Influencer.
But, despite the allegations impacting his professional career, public perception of Charles doesn’t seem to be wavering all that much — especially in comparison with his 2019 scandal.
After Tati Westbrook’s claims in her “Bye Sister” video, Charles’ following went into freefall and he lost almost 3 million YouTube subscribers as a result — 1.2 million of which he lost in a single day.
Since then, Charles’ subscribers have gone through the roof. At his peak, he had amassed almost 26 million on YouTube, 10 million more than he had during his 2019 scandal.
But, unlike the backlash he received in 2019, this time around Charles’ following has remained relatively in tact.
Something else that is interesting to note is the scale of the situation itself. In 2019, the conflict took over the internet for weeks, dominating online discussions. This time around, however, the impact is significantly less.
It’s also worth pointing out, though, that the response to Charles’ video hasn’t seen the same redemption arc that he was gifted during the Westbrook scandal — far from it.
Charles himself has stayed almost silent over the last few weeks since posting his video, where he said he would be taking time away from the spotlight to “reflect and further educate” himself.
But what will Charles’ career look like in the future when he does decide to return to the internet? The 21-year-old has proved himself to be adept at navigating controversy and scandal, and as of right now, the majority of his followers appear to be sticking with him.
But these allegations are much more serious than petty online feuds about gummy bears and vitamins. Charles has said he will change, but only time will tell if he’ll keep that promise, and if his following will stick around to find out.