For those people who don't have time for a 40 minute video
Even if you don’t follow the beauty industry’s drama closely, you’ve likely heard about the scandal between beauty bloggers Tati Westbrook and James Charles. About a year ago, Westbrook posted a YouTube video in which she accused Charles of betraying her after promoting vitamins from her biggest competitors. She also accused him of sexual predatory behaviour towards multiple heterosexual men.
Weeks stretched on, while beauty heavyweights like Nikita Dragun and Jeffree Star all weighed in. Then, in June 2020, drama resurfaced when YouTuber Shane Dawson addressed the controversy in an essay titled “Welcome to the Circus,” in which he claims he was aware of the feud but didn’t orchestrate it. Dawson has since deleted the essay, and also come under fire for sexualising an 11-year-old Willow Smith, as well as appearing in blackface. At present, all of his YouTube accounts have been demonetised by YouTube.
On June 30th, Westbrook posted a 40-minute tell-all video on YouTube in which she explains the reason why she posted the video that started it all. In it, she makes several shocking statements about Dawson, Star, and more. In case you don’t have 40 minutes to watch the full thing, read on to get all the details.
TATI CLAIMS SHE WAS COERCED INTO MAKING ‘BYE SISTER’ VIDEO
Westbrook opens the video by stating she’ll be offering up answers and a “long overdue apology for the role that I played,” in the scandal last year. Just over a year ago, she released the video titled “Bye, Sister,” saying she was ending her relationship with Charles. Now, she tells fans she was “used, coerced, and manipulated” into making the 2019 video, namely by Star and Dawson. "I did not make my video because of vitamins. I made it as a result of all the poisonous lies that were fed to me by Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star,” she says. Making last year’s video, she says, was the “biggest regret of my life.”
Jeffree and Shane were “bitterly jealous of James Charles’ success,” she claims. Jeffree resented that so much of his business “centred around his biggest rival”, while Shane did not like that James wanted to make a documentary. Neither were happy about standing in his shadow on YouTube anymore. “My opinion is that Jeffree and Shane needed James marginalised and out of the way for their November launch of the conspiracy palette and Shane's merch,” she says.
HER RELATIONSHIP WITH JEFFREE STAR
Westbrook had been friends with Star and had also hoped to get him involved in her charity, Spirit Awakening. She thought she could be a “good example” to Star who was atoning for his past, and thought he was really sorry for racism and past scandals.
But in 2019, Westbrook claims that Star started talking non-stop about James Charles, and not in a nice way. “It seemed that doing so had become his biggest obsession. It started with him telling me right before filming our collab together for James Charles’ channel that James Charles actually didn’t want me there, that he had wanted NikkieTutorials instead, but (Jeffree) said he’d had my back,” Westbrook said.
“Things further escalated at my birthday. Every time James Charles’ back was turned, Jeffree would tell me that James Charles was out of control. He even texted and called me the following morning to apologize for James Charles’ behaviour and how embarrassed he was for me,” she added. “As the weeks went by, every time I saw or spoke with Jeffree, it seemed to me that James was all he wanted to talk about. He said that James Charles was a monster with many victims.
SHANE DAWSON REACHED OUT TO HER
In 2019, Westbrook met YouTuber Shane Dawson who happened to be collaborating on a docuseries with Jeffree Star. The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star, would air in late 2019. Dawson reached out to Westbrook to be involved. “Shane reached out to me and said I was the queen of make-up reviews,” she explains. “He wanted me to teach him. I didn’t know much about him. I didn’t watch much of his stuff. I shared I was a victim of sexual assault. He said he was an empath and pledged loyalty and friendship.”
Initially, Dawson told Westbrook that part of the documentary would focus on the allegations about Charles. “Shane said that James Charles was a monster, and that James Charles was hurting minors. Shane said he was planning to interview victims for the docuseries. He told me that something needed to be done to stop him from hurting more people,” says Westbrook.
Westbrook also says that Dawson offered to help edit, title and design the thumbnail of “Bye, Sister” video. She also notes that the press seemed to be aware that something was coming from her, before she had even decided to go forward with filming. She insinuates that Star and Dawson were pressuring her to hurry the video along.
THE RECORDING OF ALLEGED JAMES CHARLES VICTIM
To try to convince Westbrook of Charles’ actions, Star sent her an audio file of the alleged victim of Charles. She was unsure of the authenticity of the file, but it was enough to scare her. But even after the docuseries ended, “No victims appeared and no evidence came forward,” says Westbrook. “I bought into the conspiracy theory that what happened was all a social experiment and James Charles was involved, and that was going to be revealed in the docuseries.”
TATI APOLOGISES TO JACKIE AINA
In the midst of all of this, Westbrook takes a turn and apologises to blogger Jackie Aina, for not taking her seriously about her allegations about Jeffree Star. Aina had previously cut ties with Jeffree Star over racism. “I got it twisted that you provoked Jeffree because you were angry that I had filmed with someone who had a history of being labelled by others as a racist. Jackie, I'm sorry that I did not do the right thing and walk away from him then,” she says.
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_𝐹𝒪𝑅𝐸𝒱𝐸𝑅~♤♡◇♧ (@XAppendix) June 21, 2020
THE MORPHE CONTROVERSY
Westbrook states that she found out that Star is allegedly a co-owner of Morphe. She thinks that this is one of the reasons why Star orchestrated the whole feud, as Charles was developing a bigger line with the overall company. She also drops that Morphe is launching their own gummies for skincare, nail health, and thinks that’s another reason why Star got involved.
Westbrook believes that Star will release blackmail on different youtubers in retaliation to her video. “My opinion, he’s gonna go off guys. I don’t think he will hold back. And I think we need to be prepared. We need to forgive the people that he is holding hostage with veiled threats of exposure, we need to be prepared to forgive, otherwise this won't stop.”
Westbrook also reveals that she feared for her life after releasing the initial video and compiled all her receipts on a hard drive that she informed a few friends and her lawyers about. She claims to have also relocated and increased her security.
JAMES CHARLES AND TATI ARE NOW FRIENDS AGAIN
In December, 2019, Charles came to Westbrook’s house. The two compared DMs, texts, and stories about what happened behind the scenes. Westbrook apologised and agreed to wait to post a video publically. Charles allegedly said he wanted to be beside her for the video. But she said she felt it that she needed to do it alone. “I am really sorry James. I’ve said that privately but I want you to hear it publically.”
“I love James Charles. He has a special place in my heart and that never changed, even when I was hurt. I was always more of a mentor than a friend to James,” she said. “The information they were giving me was terrifying. I thought your (Charles’) career and freedom were in jeopardy. I was trying to get you to put your phone down and seek help, because I was told there were a lot of victims that were going to come forward to destroy you.”
TATI IS TAKING LEGAL ACTION
Star recently denied involvement in a podcast. In response, Westbrook has called him “cowardly and defamatory.” Dawson, too, has been responding on Instagram live from his house says it’s a “fucking lie”. He also said to Westbrook: “You are manipulative” and “You are fake crying”. Westbrook is currently not on speaking terms with either Dawson or Star.
Westbrook is now considering court action for damages while giving a strong warning for others involved in this who have yet to come forward. “Be careful of your allegiance, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the truth,” she said.
“I’m so sorry this situation caused so much pain and frustration.” She also admitted that she misses her followers and community, and hopes to some time come back to the platform when she’s ready and feels she has worked on herself enough. “I just want to get my life back,” she adds.