Trouble in the Beauty Community


Kimberly Freitas, Staff Writer

James Charles vs Tati Westbrook Drama…

For the past few weeks, the beauty community on YouTube has been in disarray. At the center of all the controversy, Tati and James. They are both very successful YouTubers with almost 20 million subscribers combined. This all started when Tati decided to handle their drama very publicly, and only recently has James replied with receipts and facts on his public platform.

Tati and James first met a few years ago when James was just starting out in the beauty industry in Los Angeles. Because James’ parents lived across the country in New York, Tati and her husband, James Westbrook, quickly took on a parental role while he was in LA, providing him with—as James himself has said—love, support, advice, opportunities, a place to stay, and a shoulder to cry on.

Tati essentially mentored James, and she consistently supported him and his projects, both on her own YouTube channel and in real life. Apparently, James didn’t exactly return the favor—and that’s where this drama all began.

James posted an Instagram story promoting SugarBearHair, a vitamin and supplement company, who is a direct competitor of Tati’s supplement company, Halo Beauty.

Later that day, Tati posted a lengthy, teary-eyed Instagram story where she talks about feeling “used” and “betrayed.” Although she didn’t mention James by name, but fans quickly figured out who she was talking about.

Once James found out that he hurt Tati’s feelings, he posted an apology on his Instagram story where he personally apologizes to Tati.

A few weeks passed and Tati remained silent on the matter…until fellow beauty blogger (and friend of James) Gabriel Zamora posted a YouTube video titled “Makeup and Opinions.” In the video, he challenges Tati to publicly clarify the situation, and Tati most definitely delivers.

Tati uploaded a 43-minute-long YouTube video titled “BYE SISTER” addressing the situation. In the video, she goes into detail about how she provided for James, explains why she feels so betrayed by the SugarBearHair situation, and even expresses suspicion that his explanation for posting the ad—that he was being mobbed at Coachella and SugarBearHair provided security for him in exchange for the post—is a total lie. She also commented on other issues she has with James’ recent behavior, alleging that he sexually manipulated straight men, taking the video to a personal level.

Needless to say, the video blew-up online raking up over 40 million views, causing James to lose around 3 million subscribers, while her subscriber count went up considerably; around 5 million.

He made a short apology video soon after, but most fans and subscribes were skeptical of its sincerity.

Tati then uploaded her video “Why I Did it,” urging the public to refrain from sending any more hate towards James, explaining that she made the “BYE SISTER” video to reach James and call him out because she felt that he was unreachable at that point. “I thought that I would be the one that would take the hit,” she explained. “I knew this would cause a lot of controversy, I know that”, she said. “But I didn’t think it would get to this magnitude.” She felt that the messages that she was trying to deliver to James on many subjects just wasn’t getting through to him and that the only way to open his eyes was to post her video.

Still, the topic blew up despite her original intentions.

About a week later, James Charles’ posted a 41 minute response, titled “No More Lies,” that was most likely the savior to his career and reputation, where he went to the public to address all the controversy and miscommunications in her video. Making sure to use all the receipts he could on the matter, he has regained 2 million of his subscribers.

Still, the debacle cost James Charles on a number of fronts; both in subscriber count, and in reputation.