by Vendela Krenkel ‘20
Earlier this month, beauty influencer Tati Westbrook uploaded a YouTube video aimed at exposing her close friend James Charles after he promoted her company Halo’s greatest competitor, Sugarbear Hair, at Coachella. In the 40-minute video, Tati provides screenshots as proof of his predatory conduct around straight men. After experiencing massive backlash resulting in James losing nearly three million subscribers, he responded by posting a video that presents receipts that bring to light conversations that Tati hid when she accused him of sexual misconduct. James had, viewers learn, never flirted or made passes on someone if the attraction was not reciprocated.
This scandal reveals how alarmingly easy it can be for one content creator to bring down another, for the community to take one influencer’s word over the other. Although most of the slander Tati spread about James was disproven, the damage done to his reputation and career may be irreversible. It is important to remember that many of the growing influencers now are young and will make mistakes as they grow, and while this does not excuse them, apologizing and promising to do better is the only way to build and elevate our standards.