We Finally Understand The Drama Between James Charles And Tati Westbrook

There's absolutely nothing like a good YouTuber feud. It fills that much-needed hole created by the Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie drama we left behind in the early aughts. Even a night spent at Lindsay Lohan's beach club can't really scratch that itch. 

In today's battle royale, we have Tati Westbrook, the OG, 37-year-old beauty vlogger behind GlamLifeGuru, versus James Charles, the 19-year-old YouTuber who was the first male face of CoverGirl. Collectively, they've racked up enough followers to create a brand new society where crimes against eyebrows are punishable by public shaming and highlighter glows round-the-clock, not just during daylight hours.

Now, we know what you're asking: what would lead a mature, fully grown blogger to publicly call-out a sometimes-bratty YouTuber who's nearly 20 years her junior? Apparently, the whole argument spawned from some gummy vitamins and spiraled out of control, sweeping top talent like Jeffree Star and Nikita Dragun into its downward spiral. Here's everything we know about the drama between James Charles and Tati Westbrook.

He slid into her DMs

To fully grasp the Tati Westbrook and James Charles drama, you have to first understand how their friendship started. According to Life & Style, Charles slid into the beauty vlogger's DMs in 2016 after his ultra-glam high school yearbook photos went viral. She had been vlogging for nearly a decade, and he was green to the world of YouTube. He reportedly told Westbrook that she was his inspiration and, in turn, she decided to help him grow a following. She spent the next three years as Charles' mentor and confidante.

By 2017, the pair were close enough that Westbrook not only invited Charles to her wedding, but she trusted him to do her bridal makeup, which is an enormous deal for any bride who doesn't have millions of followers. Just imagine if city's worth of people were anxiously waiting to see your wedding look. Westbrook reportedly paid for Charles' trip because he was a broke teenager, and by 2018, she was using her Halo Beauty launch party to shout out her pal. In turn, he posted an Instagram story showing off a bottle of her vitamins. At this point, it seemed like their relationship was reciprocal, even if Westbrook would later have regrets.

"It's sad to think that I will never be able to watch my wedding video without seeing his face and thinking of him and thinking about all of the things I hoped our relationship would be," she said (via Life & Style).

Westbrook wasn't swiping up

Tati Westbrook and James Charles' feud sparked in the most Instagram way possible: an argument about those tiny gummy bear vitamins that every Instagram baddie and their mamma are hawking online. Of course, because we're in the world of YouTube influencers, the whole thing went down at Coachella as if standing in a blistering hot desert while pretending not to sweat underneath your perfectly bedazzled denim isn't bad enough. Perhaps that's why Charles chose to wear a denim thong rather than full-coverage cut-offs. Either way, he ended up betraying his BFF and probably got a pretty weird tan.

On April 22, 2019, Charles posted an Instagram story promoting SugarBearHair, and Westbrook was reportedly livid. The brand is a direct competitor of Westbrook's supplement line Halo Beauty, which Charles allegedly felt "uncomfortable" promoting to his young followers, according to Page SixBuzzfeed reported that Westbrook uploaded a teary-eyed story as a response and claimed everybody "uses who they need to use." Cold.

Not long after, Charles publicly apologized via Instagram. He claimed SugarBearHair helped him with security at the festival when the crowd around him "became unsafe." He reportedly didn't make any money off of the post and still took Westbrook's vitamins daily.

"I did not think about the competition," he wrote. "I've supported Tati both online and off like she has done for me and am devastated that I hurt someone that I truly love and have endless respect for."

Bye, Sister

James Charles' initial apology apparently wasn't enough for Tati Westbrook. In early May 2019, the star posted a scathing, 43-minute YouTube video titled "BYE SISTER" which slammed Charles for a number of alleged indiscretions including the gummy bear incident. According to Allure, who saw the video before it was taken down, Westbrook claimed that Charles didn't like SugarBearHair and "dragged" other influencers who supported the company yet ended up doing a sponsored post without giving Westbrook warning. He only texted the beauty vlogger after the story had already been uploaded — but it wasn't just hair vitamins that pulled things south.

According to Buzzfeed, Westbrook felt "used" by Charles because her husband helped mentor and negotiate millions of dollars worth of deals for him without taking a dime. She also promoted the influencer's makeup palette and Morphe discount code on her channel, and was shocked that Charles claimed she was "loving the drama because it's improving sales."

"There's so much going on with James Charles right now that I do not support, that I do not agree with," Westbrook said. "I don't think there's any getting through to you, and I don't want to be friends with you, I don't want to be associated with you, and I need to say that very publicly so that this chapter can just be closed."

Over 40 million people watched Westbrook's "BYE SISTER" video before it was scrubbed from her channel.

Westbrook's reputation-ruining claim

Tati Westbrook's "BYE SISTER" video was a lot more salacious than any gripe about hair vitamins or unreciprocated favors. The beauty guru made the outrageous claim that James Charles "tried to trick a straight man into thinking he's gay," and it made her "want to vomit" that he'd "manipulate someone's sexuality." At this point in the feud, we weren't exactly sure who Westbrook was referring to, but the internet oozed with speculation.

Vox mused that Westbrook was referencing a model named Gage Gomez. The pair reportedly attended Coachella together. Not long after the event, Charles tweeted (and deleted) that an unnamed boy "played" him for "months" and was a "disgusting con artist." Gomez, who inferred that Charles deleted the tweet because it was both about him and untrue, posted a video outlining his experience with the YouTube star. Charles was allegedly sexually aggressive despite Gomez's repeated rejections.

"He continued to speculate that he didn't know or that he forgot that I told him that I was straight in the beginning," Gomez said. "I thought [Coachella] was going to be a good time ... there were some points where I guess he was not sure how I was feeling, even though I was telling him the whole time I wasn't into, I guess you could say, 'experimenting.'"

Charles has also apologized for publicly hitting on Shawn Mendes, but neither of these events took place at Westbrook's birthday dinner, like the incident she cited in her video.

Charles apologized as his subscriber count tanked

As two of the most popular beauty vloggers on YouTube, it's not really surprising that Westbrook's takedown video about Charles would go viral almost instantly. According to Newsweek, Charles subsequently lost about three million subscribers — including celebs like Kylie Jenner and Ariana Grande — dipping from over 16.5 million subscribers to around 13.8 million. Although the drop was so enormous there were channels live-tracking his downfall, as of this writing, his subscriber count is back to nearly 15.5 million. Westbrook, on the other hand, essentially doubled her subscriber count, jumping from 5.9 million to over 10 million subscribers.

It didn't take long for Charles to post an initial apology video titled "tati." The star gave us eight, make-up free minutes of holding back tears. He apologized to Westbrook and her husband, the influencers he spoke poorly about on social media, and for his interactions with other men. As far as public apologies go, it was pretty standard.

"A lot of times when I've had to address things in the past, I've acted out of impulse, and I've gone off and tried to pull receipts or facts or screenshots, and play the victim, and I'm not doing that today, I'm not," he said. "That is all I have to say, I'm sorry."

The video has since racked up more than 56 million views.

Jeffree Star probably shouldn't have taken Tati's side

James Charles and Tati Westbrook weren't alone in their feud. Makeup mogul and former Myspace personality Jeffree Star, who did a video with the pair on Charles' channel in January 2019, swooped in to take Westbrook's side. According to Seventeen, Star was at the birthday dinner where Charles allegedly hit on a waiter who Westbrook claimed was straight. In a now-deleted tweet, the makeup mogul also made the shocking claim that his boyfriend allegedly banned Charles from visiting their home.

"There's a reason why I haven't seen him since [Westbrook's]  birthday in February," Star wrote, adding, "He is a danger to society. Everything Tati said is 100% true."

Shock of the century: it wasn't 100% true. Things like this always have nuance. Though Star didn't go into why Charles was allegedly banned from his house, Charles later revealed that Star accused him of pressuring his boyfriend's younger brother into sending Snapchat photos. According to Charles, their conversation "stopped before anything could get remotely flirty." They sent about 10 selfies. Charles later called out Star for harassing his brother on Twitter, and things got even more messy.

Charles absolutely wrecked Westbrook

If you thought that 8-minute apology video was the last you would hear from James Charles, you don't know a thing about YouTubers. In a bombshell 41-minute video titled "No More Lies," the star claimed he wasn't erasing the sentiment of his first apology, however, his answer to "BYE SISTER" was essentially a point-by-point rebuttal of Westbrook's video and Star's public and private claims. Plus, Charles kept the receipts (i.e. text message screenshots) like a good social media star.

In the video, Charles denied that his SugarBearHair post was premeditated, and slammed Westbrook's sexual manipulation allegations. He claimed that on the night of Westbrook's birthday dinner, the waiter he allegedly hit on, named Sam Cooke, was the one who initiated their conversation. Cooke even told Charles he was bisexual, and the star invited him back to his hotel room but said he "didn't have to do anything." Charles also accused Cooke of pretending to be "fully gay" in order to get him on the phone and "illegally record the conversation" for a video, which was then taken out of context.

"I am a 19-year-old virgin. ... I have never and will never use my fame, money, or power to manipulate or get any sexual actions from a guy," he said. "That is disgusting. It is not me, and the fact that Tati brought this up blows my mind."

According to NewsweekWestbrook lost around 200,000 subscribers after Charles posted "No More Lies."

What really happened with the waiter?

It wasn't just Tati Westbrook, Jeffree Star, and James Charles who had their opinions about what happened during Westbrook's birthday dinner. The waiter in question, Sam Cooke, also took to YouTube in a since-deleted video to tell his side of the story — and he claimed their actions were consensual even if he eventually grew uncomfortable weeks later.

In the video, Cooke claimed that Charles did say he "didn't have to do anything" after inviting him to his hotel room. Charles did ask to kiss Cooke once he got there, and Cooke was "bi-curious" so he said "yes" (though he was nervous). He "had never done anything with a guy before," and they ended up making out for about an hour before Cooke left.

"He's the worst kisser I've ever kissed — way too much tongue," Cooke said.

Cooke claimed that Charles begged him to stay the night, and they kept in contact for the next few weeks even though Cooke decided to go home. By then, the waiter had realized he was "pretty sure [he] was straight." Charles publicly came under fire after messages revealed he insisted the waiter was gay. Charles claimed this was because Cooke said he was "fully gay" and "bisexual," but Cooke claimed this wasn't the case. He allegedly told the star that he was straight, and only willing to have a friendship. Cooke declined two trips to LA with Charles, and alleged that the teen makeup guru wouldn't accept his sexuality.

Nikita Dragun swooped in with receipts

It wasn't exactly clear who was right in the SugarBearHair saga. Did Charles purposely snub Westbrook with a premeditated sponsored post like she suggested? Was it really an oversight? Apparently, Charles was actually telling the truth and YouTuber Nikita Dragun, who helped connect the vlogger with the hair gummy company, delivered the receipts.

In a Twitter post, Dragun revealed that Charles texted her during Coachella because he really was having an emergency. Screenshots of their interaction showed the star saying he was "in VIP and am getting attacked. Need help lol." Dragun Beauty ended up using their entire marketing budget, so she helped connect Charles to SugarBearHair, who gave him an extra artist pass.

Of course, the Internet is always skeptical, and some Twitter users accused Dragun of posting fake screenshots. Apparently, there were clues if you altered the brightness and contrast of the alleged texts, but seriously, take that with a grain of salt. We're all conspiracy theorists on Twitter.

"The only thing I edit is my waist on Facetune, sis," Dragun replied.

Jeffree Star walked back on his comments

In this convoluted YouTube beauty feud, it seems there are no winners. Jeffree Star, who for some reason involved himself in the drama, eventually walked back on his comments after Charles posted his second, receipt-filled video. Like we said earlier, Tati's story wasn't exactly 100% true, nor was it 100% false.

In a video titled "Never Doing This Again," the former Myspace personality apologized for inserting himself into the situation. He admitted the accusations he made were based on rumors. He also owned up to sending Charles "vicious" text messages and "mishandling" their friendship. 

"You guys saw a lot of text messages. There were things being told to me that were never proven, um there was a lot of rumors, and sadly I let that get to me," he said. "So James, I want to let you know that I should have never sent you those messages, I should have been a better friend, I know that now and even if we weren't close friends anymore, I should have handled it way differently."

The only people losing out on Star's apology were the tabloids waiting for all the receipts he promised to deliver, but cheers to a YouTube star who can admit he's done wrong, even with the looming fear of cancellation.

Charles canceled his U.S. tour

Before Tati Westbrook decided to throw down over gummy vitamins, James Charles was already facing controversy for his national tour. According to Seventeen, the teenage YouTube star announced his Sisters Tour in late April with plans to hit around 25 different cities in the United States, but his ticket prices where so exorbitant that he faced major backlash. 

Most of us who don't find ourselves in Generation Z have to wonder what a YouTuber actually does on tour, anyway. Apparently, it's not really a whole lot. Vox reported that Charles planned to "sing" and "conduct meet-and-greets." Tickets ran as high as $500, but the star bumped the price of VIP spots down to $250 after being ridiculed. Charles ended up canceling his tour in the wake of the Westbrook drama even though it was almost entirely sold out.

"I made the decision to pull the tour," he said in a series of videos. "This was 100% my decision, okay? None of the venues pulled out, none of the brands that were going to be sponsoring it pulled out, and keep in mind it was almost completely sold out, and still less than 1% of people who bought tickets contacted about refunds, so the Sisters Tour is not being 'canceled' because I was 'canceled.'"

The vloggers finally called a truce

As much as the drama queens in all of us wants to see clap back video after clap back video, all good YouTube feuds must come to an end. As such, Tati Westbrook, James Charles, and Jeffree Star decided to wave their glowing white highlighter palettes and call a ceasefire.

Two days after Westbrook posted her "Bye Sister" video, she said "bye sister" to the drama. The beauty guru wrote a lengthy Twitter post claiming that she had been talking to Charles "through an intermediary," that she wouldn't publicly comment on the situation any longer, and that she hopes "no one else will make anymore hurtful statements on my behalf" (ahem, Jeffree). Of course, that wasn't the final goodbye. According to Mashable, Westbrook also posted a now-deleted follow-up video where she claimed she didn't think feuding with one of the largest beauty vloggers on YouTube would become national news. His subscriber base is only twice the size of Switzerland's population. Who would have thought?

Regardless, Charles responded to Westbrook's apology and Star's "Never Doing This Again" video. He tweeted that he was "on board to move on," and thus the biggest drama YouTube has seen outside of that time Logan Paul posted a video of dead body sadly came to a close. Philip DeFranco can go back to talking about the actual news, now. Yawn.