The Youtuber quits the beauty world, but not before a major callout of ‘dramatic gurus’
James Charles was a “young egocentric power hungry guru”, who needed to be “served a slice of humble pie the size of the fucking Empire State Building,” according to Shane Dawson. The prominent YouTuber has reignited the drama around the beauty community’s biggest feud ever – featuring Charles, Tati Westbrook, and Jeffree Star – which gripped the internet last year.
In a lengthy statement published on Twitter yesterday, Dawson addresses his own involvement in the drama, and says goodbye to the “circus” of the beauty world and the “attention seeking game playing egocentric narcissistic vengeful two faced ticking time bombs ready to explode” that populate the community.
It all started last May, when influencer and MUA Tati Westbrook posted a 43-minute exposé calling out fellow make-up artist and former friend James Charles. Entitled ‘Bye Sister’, the video delved into Charles’s alleged betrayal of her – a long story involving hair vitamins – his ego, and his supposedly sexually coercive behaviour with Westbrook accusing Charles of preying on straight men. Charles lost over three million followers within days and the video amassed over 34 million views before it was eventually deleted.
Many prominent figures in the beauty community began weighing in, including Jeffree Star – himself no stranger to controversy – who supported Westbrook’s accusations of Charles as a ‘predator’. “There is a reason that Nathan banned James Charles from ever coming over to our home again. There's a reason why I haven't seen him since @GlamLifeGuru's birthday in February. He is a danger to society. Everything Tati said is 100% true,” Star tweeted. He also sent a tweet to Charles’s younger brother Ian asking “Why is your brother a predator?”
In response, Charles posted a teary apology followed by a second video, ‘No More Lies,’ in which he rebukes all of the claims made in Tati’s initial video, with receipts to prove it.
The drama was then largely put to rest. Then, in April, Star dredged up the feud once more. Appearing on an episode of the podcast Mom’s Basement, Star claimed that he had a phone call recording of an alleged “victim of James Charles”. “It’s going to upset a lot of people, but the truth is that someone, and right now I legally can’t say who, told us a few things,” Star says on the podcast, before offering to play the recording for the host. “And we trusted that person’s opinion, and then another person said some things – that were friends with that man – and it really convinced us that he was a predator.”
“Everyone wants to make me out ‘you ruined James Charles’s career,’” he continues. “No, Tati did, and uploaded a 40-minute video about him and she should never have uploaded that. But she did, and for some reason James thinks that me and Shane (Dawson) tried to ruin his life and orchestrated the whole thing like we fucking care.”
Earlier this month, beauty influencer Kameron Lester spoke out against Star and fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson, with whom Star has recently been collaborating. In an Instagram Live, Lester criticised Star for tokenising and silencing him when they worked together. He also claims that a few months prior to Westbrook’s initial video which kicked off the feud with Charles, he overheard a Facetime conversation between Star and Dawson, during which Lester says Dawson “cursed out” Charles.
“I was kind of taken aback, because I've never seen Shane Dawson like that. And he was just going in on James,” Lester said, continuing that he should have known something was “brewing” and he regrets not warning Charles.
Dawson is not a beauty guru, however, the YouTube star became embroiled in the community last year when he teamed up with Star on Star’s ‘Conspiracy’ make-up collection. Alongside the range, Dawson created two video series which followed the making of the collection and Star’s everyday life. Both the documentaries and the collection were massively successful. To date, the videos have collectively racked up over 300 million views while over one million ‘Conspiracy’ eyeshadow palettes were sold in just 30 minutes, according to Star.
Amid these accusations of “orchestrating” the feud between Westbrook and Charles, Dawson released a long, since deleted but of course not lost, essay on Twitter titled “Welcome to the Circus - my final thoughts on the beauty world.”
For everyone who hasn't gotten the chance to read what Shane Dawson said before he deleted it. He wants to be all shady but can't stand when people treat him like how he knew James Charles was being treated. So there's that. pic.twitter.com/7FrM99fluD— ~°♡𝓝𝓞 ♡°~𝐵𝐿𝑀_𝐹𝒪𝑅𝐸𝒱𝐸𝑅₄ Bₗᵢₙₖ♤♡◇♧ (@XAppendix) June 21, 2020
Dawson opens by addressing several accusations made against him including that he told Westbrook to make her video, that he orchestrated the drama, and that he intentionally tried to make people “look bad.” He denies all charges against him and then goes into a four-page, self-described rant about his experiences in the online beauty community.
Saying that the ‘Conspiracy’ palette was one of the best experiences of his life, Dawson explains the collaboration changed him as a person and made him more confident and able to stand up for himself. However, he continues that what he also learned was that beauty gurus who are involved in scandals are all the same: “attention seeking game playing egocentric narcissistic vengeful two faced ticking time bombs ready to explode...And I’m OVER it.”
Dawson says that that side of the internet is obsessed with looks, power, fame and “receipts,” and he disagrees with the way these feuds play out before addressing his own involvement in them. “Did I ‘plan’ dramageddon? Are you SERIOUS? NO. Do people in the Youtube world come to me like a grandpa and tell me their problems and ask for advice? Yes.”
Dawson explains that Westbrook came to him in person and told him how upset she was with Charles. “I felt awful for her and she seemed broken,” he says. Dawson says he wasn’t surprised when she decided to make a video about the situation although he was shocked by the intensity of it and how she “READ his ass for fucking FILTH.”
Continuing that he thinks Westbrook probably regrets making the video, that doesn’t mean viewers should think Charles is innocent in the drama. “Does it mean we should see James as some poor innocent sweet angel? No. Don’t get it twisted,” he writes. “Did I warn James about the video? No. Why? For reasons that I will never discuss…Do I think James is THE DEVIL? No. Do I think he was a young ecocentric power hungry guru who needed to be served a slice of humble pie the size of the fucking Empire State Building? YES.”
Dawson continues on and on, saying the drama will be in the history books, that he doesn’t believe Star orchestrated the situation although he doesn’t doubt Star was excited to see a “competitor fall,” and he thinks Star took it too far with his tweets. “And it’s one of the biggest regrets of his life.”
He also apologises for including references to the drama in the trailer for his documentary about Star, despite the series never delving into the situation. “Putting drama in the trailer was something I regret more than anything in the world and I’m mad that I chose tea over my morals.”
Dawson concludes by saying that the reason people watch these beauty gurus is because of the drama. “You don’t go to a circus to watch the hay on the ground. You go to watch the over-the-top performers.”
“So go, enjoy the gurus. Enjoy the circus,” he says. “As for my channels, I’m done with the beauty world.”
Dawson’s rant did not prove to be popular, however, and he lost over 50,000 followers after posting on Sunday. Many people took issue with Dawson believing that Charles deserved to be “humbled.” Following the “Bye Sister” video, Charles has said that the mass cyberbullying and online abuse he received contributed to him wanting to commit suicide.
You agreeing that James deserved what he got doesn't sit well with me. Yes, he needed a reality check but not one that brought him so close to the edge. As long as you engage with Jeffree you'll never be out of the drama or as innocent as you think.— BLM (@meanestspice) June 21, 2020
In a follow up post to the essay, Dawson re-iterated that he thought the reactions to the feud went too far and did not support the bullying that Charles was subjected to. “Me saying he needed to be humbled isn’t mean it’s honest…Should the humbling have happened OFF camera? Yes.”
However, many people also criticised Dawson for other aspects of the essay. His continued defense of Star who he says will always be family to him and who he loves, did not go down well. Star has a very controversial past of racism including allegedly calling fellow YouTuber Jackie Aina a “gorilla,” saying he wanted to throw battery acid on a black woman to lighten her skin to match her foundation and repeatedly using the N-word. Dawson has also used the slur and dressed in blackface on YouTube.
People also called out Dawson for saying he was “done” with the beauty world on the same day as he announced a restock of the ‘Conspiracy’ palette and posted videos of himself promoting his make-up products. The criticism led Dawson to delete the original posts and tweet: “I deleted everything. I’m done. For those who wanted me to “address it” I did. I’m sure u can find it reposted somewhere. But I don’t want this energy in my life or on my timeline. I’m too sensitive for this shit and I’m done.”