Prior to May 2019, I was vaguely aware of James Charles, but I wouldn’t say that I was a huge consumer of his content. I had seen him pop up in some collabs with Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star. But outside of that, I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about the man. However, something major happened that summer that sparked my interest in the beauty drama community: Dramageddon 2.
Dramageddon 2 had many twists and turns, so bear with me. Back in April, James Charles attended Coachella. As the story goes, James Charros was immediately mobbed by fans and didn’t feel safe at the event. He didn’t have an artist pass but knew someone who could hook him up with one. After messaging his friend Nikita Dragun, she helped James secure an artist pass through Sugar Bear Hair’s security team. In exchange for their “protection”, James agreed to do an Instagram ad for Sugar Bear’s new sleeping vitamin gummies.
On May 10th, James uploaded the Sugar Bear Hair ad to his Instagram story, and pandora’s box was open for all to see. A few days prior to James uploading the ad, beauty vlogger and CEO of Halo Beauty, (a direct competitor to Sugar Bear Hair) Tati Westbrook, posted a video of herself crying, mentioning how she had been backstabbed and felt lost as a result of it. In response to this, Gabriel Zamora, posted a video, calling Tati’s behavior “fraudulent” and blaming her for videos “being made where James is being made out to be this horrible human being and I’m just confused as to what happened.”
Drama channels such as Spill Sesh, Rich Lux, Nick Snider, Dustin Daily, and Tea by Ali were the first ones to report on the drama which did not paint Tati in the best light. People were quick to point out that Tati was most likely upset about James Charles posting an ad for her competitor. After some back and forth posting between the two, and James Charles going on SnapChat to claim Tati knew about the Sugar Bear Hair sponsorship, Tati dropped a bomb.
Tati uploaded the infamous video, “Bye Sister”, where she directly addressed James, her once beloved mentee. Speaking to him directly, she told James in the video, “You don’t have any [respect] for the people who were in this industry before you and that’s the sad fact.” Westbrook went on to accuse James of using his celebrity status to engage in sexually manipulative interactions with unwanting straight boys. The beauty community was swift to “cancel” James as a result of the video, with James losing 3 million followers in a 24-hour period. After this drop in James’ following Jeffree Star became the most followed beauty guru.
In a string of now-deleted tweets, Jeffree Star, a fellow beauty guru, swiftly got involved and called Charles a “danger to society” and a “predator”. Jeffree claimed he would be uploading a video that week exposing James for the predator he is. A few days later, James Charles told his side of the story in a Snapchat video that contained a short non-apology to Tati where James visibly appeared annoyed. Many fans criticized James for his behavior in this video and seemed annoyed by his disinterested in this serious matter.
In a twist of events, instead of Tati standing with Jeffree she completely changed her stance when she posted an 18-minute video on YouTube titled “Why I Did It…,” referring to the “Bye Sister” video she posted that stirred up the drama (a video she has since removed from her YouTube channel). In the video, Tati claimed that she “didn’t think it would get to this magnitude.” Tati explained that her motive for posting the first video was to try and reach someone who was “completely unreachable.”
Then, that weekend, James uploaded a 40-minute video, “No More Lies” to try to dispel the rumors spread about him, where he called the allegations “so fake” and “truly disgusting,” . In the video, James talked about why he worked with Sugar Bear Hair and clarified the details around the birthday dinner in question; he also responded to her claim that he manipulates straight men, saying, “I am a 19-year-old virgin. I have never and will never use my fame, money, or my power to manipulate or get any sexual actions from a guy. That is disgusting. That is not me. The fact that Tati brought this up blows my mind.” He also provided details surrounding his exchange with the waiter, named Sam, saying that everything was consensual… However when Sam uploaded his video to apologize to James Charles for the drama, many pointed out that Sam appeared to be nervous and uncomfortable, and as if he was reading from a script the entire time. It also appeared that there was another person in the room with him, as if he was forced to do this.
Jeffree responded to James’ apology video by dropping his own that Sunday, in which he stated that he did not intend to “come for James.” Jeffree admitted that he had inserted himself into a situation he probably shouldn’t have and could have handled it better, apologizing to everyone involved, saying that he will not discuss these issues online anymore. Some fans online speculated that Jeffree may have been slapped by a lawsuit from James’ legal team, but there are no claims or evidence to back this up.
Shortly after Jeffree’s video went up, Tati followed with her own written apology on Twitter, saying that she has been communicating with James through an intermediary for the past week and that they believe it is in the best interest of their community and viewers, and their own mental health, to put the issue to rest once and for all. In her statement, she said, “Although I do not regret raising my concerns, I completely regret the way I went about saying them. I could have and should have found a better way.”
James then posted his own public apology, thanking Jeffree and Tati for their “sentiments”: stating that he is “on board to move on, will not speak about this further, but do hope to speak in the future when we’re all ready. This week was awful for all of us and I ask that the community focuses on positivity moving forward ❤️”
Dramageddon 2 got a brief reprisal when Shane Dawson teased the drama in the trailer for his latest series “The Beauty World of Jeffree Star”. Fans expected to see Shane and Jeffree’s perspective of what had occurred during Dramageddon 2, but never got the full story of how a resolution was reached. It is widely believed that this drama was settled in private, out of the public eye.
Since Dramageddon 2, Tati Westbrook went on the launch of her highly anticipated Tati Beauty, James Charles launched his Mini-Palette with Morphe…. which unfortunately was a flop, and Jeffree Star launched a palette collab with Shane Dawson which broke many records for selling out in less than an hour worldwide online. Everyone seems to have gotten out of Dramageddon 2 without facing any real ramifications, and James has since regained his 3.2 million followers that he lost during the scandal.
All in all, Dramageddon 2 was sad to watch. It was a group of three friends losing their friendship in a very public arena. Although I am not sure if Tati and Jeffree are still friends, it doesn’t look good. What did you think of Dramageddon 2?