Remember that James Charles and Tati Westbrook drama that took over the internet last summer? Well apparently, there’s even more to the story. Recently, the presumed long-dead influencer drama came back to life, bringing four of YouTube’s biggest (and most controversial) stars back into the limelight: James, Tati, Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson.
Last May Tati, a 38-year-old beauty vlogger, released her infamous “BYE SISTER” video, in which she severed ties with James Charles, her former mentee, and which she later deleted. She accused the then-19-year-old beauty guru of sexually harassing men who rejected his advances. In response, Jeffree Star tweeted that James was a “danger to society.”
Now, Tati is rehashing this drama with a new video, “BREAKING MY SILENCE …” where she claims that Jeffree and Shane “coerced” her into publishing the initial video because they were “bitterly jealous” of James’ success. In her video, Tati says that “the entire situation opens up a Pandora’s box of speculation, but I’m just not sure anyone counted on this drama spreading like wildfire.”
If you don’t want to go back and rewatch all of the videos and track down all of the tweets, here is a complete timeline of the original drama, and everything that has happened since.
April 22, 2019
All of this drama began at Coachella, with vitamins. James posted a swipe up Instagram story promoting Sugar Bear Hair. These gummy bears are popular all over Instagram and Twitter, and are loved by the Kardashian-Jenner family. This wouldn’t be uncommon for Charles to promote except that Sugar Bear Hair is the direct competitor for Tati’s vitamin brand, Halo Beauty.
Tati quickly responded on her Instagram story with a response in which she looked visibly upset. “Everybody says what they need to say and uses who they need to use, and I have had about enough. It’s not right,” she said.
James followed up by apologizing to Tati, writing, “She has been like a mother to me since my first days in this industry and has given me more love, support, resources, and advice than I could ever ask for,” he said. “I’m devastated that I hurt someone that I truly love and have endless respect for.”
He later claimed that he only posted the promotion because Sugar Bear Hair offered him security access for Coachella, as he said the event became dangerous for him. Charles went on to say that he did not accept any payment for the post besides security.
May 4, 2019
While Tati had not addressed the apology, Gabriel Zamora, another beauty Youtuber, acknowledged the fight in a 40-minute makeup tutorial where he defended James.
Zamora claimed that Tati had no right to be angry, as James has a right to promote other brands than hers as an influencer.
“All these videos are being made where James is made out to be this horrible human being, and I’m just confused as to what happened. Oh, it’s about loyalty. It’s the loyalty aspect of it. For me, it looks like someone posted IG Stories. And, someone cried,” he said in his video, “Makeup and Opinions.” “I’m, like, confused, because what did James do?…Sugar Bear Hair was around before her. Homeboy is exclusive to her?”
“Girl, sit on the internet and talk about it, then,” he later says to Tati in the video. She would eventually use that clip as the beginning of her now-infamous “BYE SISTER” video.
May 10, 2019
This is when the drama truly ramped up. Tati releases her now-deleted 40-minute bombshell video where she explains why she was cutting ties with Charles, besides their fight over his Sugar Bear Hair promotion. Before being deleted by Tati, the video had garnered over 34 million views, making it one of the most-watched videos of 2019.
In the video, Tati makes a few major claims about her relationship with James and their ongoing feud. Tati claims that she was upset about James’ Sugar Bear Hair betrayal because he had not warned her beforehand, and because he had never supported her brand, Halo Beauty. She went on to claim that he would shame other influencers that did Sugar Bear Hair promotions. Tati accused James of lying to her, saying, “The reason that James always said that he couldn’t promote Halo on his channel is that he has a teenage audience and it’d be really inappropriate.” As her company and Sugar Bear Hair are competitors, she said that these statements should apply to Sugar Bear Hair, as well.
Charles’ Coachella story was also fabricated, according to Tati, as “No company would go out of their way to have an extra handful of passes that cost thousands of dollars a piece, just in case,” she says. “That leads me to believe this was orchestrated beforehand and that was an emotional conflict, because of me and promises he made to me behind the scenes. So he had to come up with a clever story.”
Tati’s next claim was that in James’ apology over the Sugar Bear Hair fiasco, he was more concerned about the way people viewed him than making amends with her. She said that he berated her to accept his apology, claiming, “It got increasingly demanding. I don’t deal well with someone telling me that I need to accept an apology on their terms to fix their problems.”
According to Tati, James had “…been giving his side to drama channels – he had been in contact with plenty of them. I knew this was all about damage control.” Tati herself has spoken to Tea Spill and Here for the Tea about the drama.
One of the stranger accusations is that James also needed to apologize to Tati’s husband, also named James. “James Charles never even apologized to my James,” she said. “If this was just about Halo, you know that this is our business, apologize to him, too. But that’s not what this is about.” She continued to say that James had wanted her husband to be his manager and “…would spend hours on the phone, looking over contracts, getting him in a better position.”
The claims took a darker turn as she said that James Charles had a pattern of coercing men into sexual acts. She cited an old phone call of theirs, saying, “You tried to trick a straight man into thinking he’s gay, yet again. And somehow, you’re the victim. It’s really disgusting to manipulate someone’s sexuality, especially when they’re emerging into adulthood and don’t quite have everything figured out.”
She claimed he would use his fame, influence and wealth to “embarrass,” “threaten,” and “ruin” those who rejected him. “To have them behave sexually in your favor even if they’re straight—that’s not okay,” she said.
As a response, James published a now-deleted eight-minute response video where he apologized to Tati and James Westbrook. He begins the video by saying, “To Tati and James Westbrook, I’m sorry for everything that is going on and everything I’ve put you through over the past few weeks.” He refused to further address the situation.
However, he did acknowledge some of his previous wrongdoings and attempt to take responsibility for them. “A lot of the time 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.” Besides briefly mentioning his past experiences, referencing men he was interested in on his social media, he did not reference Tati’s claims of sexual harassment.
Singer Zara Larsson later posted a clip from Tati’s video in a since-deleted tweet, writing, “I’m cackling ’cause he hit up my boyfriend in the DMs several times knowing damn well he’s straight.” However, she responded to her tweet later, “I feel like deleting this cause I checked and it wasn’t several times, only one DM and some comments under pictures,” but deleted that twee,t too.
May 12, 2019
Jeffree Star inserted himself into the situation, tweeting that James was banned from his house by his now-ex boyfriend, Nathan, and that James was a “danger to society.”
He finished his tweet claiming, “Everything Tati said is 100% true.”
I’m waiting for this Jeffree Star ?? pic.twitter.com/onbFKi5jr3
— senpaiya (@senpaiya_) May 13, 2019
He later deleted that tweet, only keeping up his message congratulating Tati on her YouTube subscriber number increasing.
— Jeffree Star (@JeffreeStar) May 12, 2019
Fans begin turning against James, with dozens publicly posting videos of them destroying his notoriously expensive eyeshadow palette with Morphe.
What to do with your James Charles Pallete thanks to Tati Westbrook ? pic.twitter.com/VrzaGiTDVw
— boop (@lolmastrblank) May 11, 2019
Tati, who usually posts her videos on Monday, also made the decision not to release a video.
There won’t be a video tomorrow. My heart is still too heavy. I feel like I need to remind you that we can hold truth & inspire change without grabbing onto hate. Honor your blessings, don’t abuse them. Celebrating pain will only bring it to your door. love you guys, see you soon
— Tati Westbrook (@GlamLifeGuru) May 13, 2019
Tati’s YouTube and social media following continued to grow while James’ began crumbling down, losing 3 million followers in the span of the three days since the video was published. A live ticker tracking the trajectory of each of their respective YouTube accounts arose.
May 13, 2019
Sam Cooke, the waiter that Tati accused James of harassing at her birthday party, released his own video about the situation. He quickly deleted the video, but hundreds of accounts saved it in time to repost it.
The video, titled “the kid from Seattle,” confirmed many of the claims in Tati’s video, allowing James’ career to plummet further. Sam said that he had reached out to James through direct message on Instagram and went up to his hotel room because he was “bicurious.”
Sam said that James was upset when he turned him down after realizing that he was straight. In addition, he showed a recorded FaceTime between James and himself where he calls James out for speaking to other guys when they were involved with one another.
“This isn’t intended for me to get clout from this video. I don’t really care to be honest. I just wanted to share my side of the story now that everyone’s opening up,” Sam said to finish his video.
On April 19, James and fellow beauty YouTuber Nikita Dragun talked about boys they had been involved with, and James mentions Sam at the 11-minute mark, but not by name. He dove into a deep story about their months-long flirtatious relationship after spending the night together in a hotel room. After months of speaking and accepting James’ trip to visit him, he announced that he was actually straight.
May 15, 2019
Nikita defended him, releasing a series of texts between the pair. In the texts, James asked Nikita whether she could get him security at Coachella since he was “in VIP and getting attacked.” Fans did not find these texts exonerating and many turned against James more.
heard a situation needed some clarification ? my friend was in an emergency and texted me in the moment… unfortunately since @dragunbeauty used all of our marketing budget on the ???????, i connected him with sugar bear. nothing shady. pic.twitter.com/fNNtMReApm
— Nikita (@NikitaDragun) May 14, 2019
May 16, 2019
Tati decided to post a since-deleted video thanking her fans for supporting her; at this point, she had reached 10 million subscribers, but claimed that was not her goal.
“I don’t want you guys to subscribe, I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. This is not about me. I don’t need ‘Team Tati.’ I don’t need any of that,” she said. She went on to claim,“It was a last-ditch effort for me to really be loud and vocal and to wake up someone that I really love,”
In addition, she announced she was taking a break from YouTube.
May 18, 2019
This feud hit a climax as James posted another video titled “No More Lies,” addressing all of the claims in Tati’s original video with messages, texts, screenshots, and more. He admitted that Tati and her husband had tried to contact him in past weeks through a mutual YouTube representative. James declined, stating, “…this was started publicly, addressed publicly, so I felt like it was only fair for me to address publicly as well before meeting behind the scenes.”
“Tati made a video telling stories about me, publicly humiliating me, and now I have serious allegations against me detrimental to my career,” he said.
James pulled out an impressive amount of evidence to refute the claims that he had not tried to convince Sam that he was gay, as Tati had claimed. In actuality, James claimed, Sam told James that he was bisexual, and Tati had encouraged James to “hook up” with him. James also brought out some explicit texts from Jeffree, in which he accused James of forcing Jeffree’s boyfriend’s brother into sending him photos, molesting James’ friend Grayson Dolan, and trapping Sam in a hotel room. James provided evidence as to why each of those claims were false.
May 19, 2019
Jeffree posted his own video in response titled “Never Doing This Again,” but instead of posting the receipts he claimed to have the previous day, he claimed he regrets his “brutal tweets” and “vicious text messages.”
“I am not going to fuel this fire bigger so that everyone can get more entertainment, because, behind the scenes, this isn’t funny,” he said. “This is our real lives, and I inserted myself into something publicly that I shouldn’t have.”
Jeffree continued, claiming that people had convinced him that James had acted inappropriately. “There’s a big part of the story that I don’t think a lot of people know and that’s that behind the scenes, there were a lot of people in my head. There were people telling me a lot of stuff and I don’t mean my own friends, I mean people that had known James, they were … telling me things that was making me feel a whole other way,” he said.
Tati responded that she would not speak on the matter anymore, and announced yet another media hiatus. In her Twitter post, she claimed that fans asking for receipts — or evidence — was a “call for never-ending bloodshed.” James Charles had released 40-minutes worth of receipts in his video, proving many of Tati’s claims to be incorrect.
— Tati Westbrook (@GlamLifeGuru) May 19, 2019
James thanked Jeffree and Tati for their responses and agreed to end the fighting between them.
Thank you @jeffreestar & @glamlifeguru for your sentiments. I am 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 ❤️
— James Charles (@jamescharles) May 20, 2019
May 26, 2019
James made the decision to cancel his Sisters Live tour, blaming the repercussions of the Tati scandal. In an Instagram story, he claimed that the drama put him in a “really bad place,” and he would not be his best self if he went forward with the tour. He later explained that the situation continued to take a severe toll on his mental health. “I’m not better, and I’m not back either, but I am trying to move on with my life. I’m still not doing well,” he said. “I feel like I can’t deliver the best version of James right now, and that sucks.”
June 3, 2019
Tati broke her hiatus and returned to YouTube with a video titled “I’m Back…” Besides thanking her fans for being supportive, she doesn’t mention the feud in her video. Fans angrily leave comments on the video, condemning her for not explaining herself.
June 17, 2019
Sam admitted to lying in his video about James Charles, releasing a second video titled “im sorry james.”
In an attempt to “clear up loose ends,” he revealed that he was “under a lot of pressure” from his friends to publicize his experience with James to gain social media attention and fame.
“As soon as Tati’s video released where she talked about me as the waiter, I saw it as a perfect opportunity…to ride the wave of the height and the clout that was going around this situation,” he said.
He admitted he willingly met with James as he was bicurious, realizing that he was straight within hours of their meeting. However, he claimed it was “hard” to turn the influencer down due to his celebrity. “I didn’t want to piss him off so I pretended that I was enjoying it,” he said.
“I just kinda let it happen — I didn’t want to let this opportunity go because everyone was telling me this is a big opportunity, just pretend to be gay,” he revealed.
He claimed he intentionally made James look bad for his own self-gain. “In all honesty, we made the video and painted James Charles in a light that wasn’t right,” Sam said. “We villainized him for our own good, and that is wrong and I am acknowledging that publicly now. …I want to publicly and officially apologize to James Charles for the video,” he concluded.
June 18, 2019
James returned to YouTube and reported that he’d be creating content regularly again, but had come to acknowledge his social media obsession.
“It got to a point where it was incredibly toxic for me and my mental health, and after everything that just went on on social media, I just needed some time to detox and slow it down,” he said. “Of course, still do what I absolutely love, which is handling business, playing with makeup, and seeing my friends, but just do it on a little bit of a lower scale…I’m really excited to say that after the last month, I’ve done a lot of growing and thinking and am now able to leave my phone in another room and walk out and, like, enjoy life.”
June 28, 2019
After pulling his merchandise from Jeffree’s Killer Merch production company, James relaunched Sisters Apparel. In his “no more lies” video, James revealed that he pulled his original apparel line because he no longer wanted to be associated with Jeffree.
“Many of you guys noticed that the Sisters Apparel website was down,” he said. “Unfortunately I had to sever ties with Killer Merch. I just don’t see a world that exists where I could ever be in business with a team run by someone like Jeffree Star,” he explained.
In an Instagram post, the brand wrote, “We are so excited to be back in business & have so much to show you sisters.”
September 8, 2019
Neither James nor Tati referenced their fight for the next three months, until James appeared in a fireside chat video with Dragun and fellow YouTuber Joey Graceffa, where he explained how the feud had caused his mental health to deteriorate. He claimed that without the support of his friends he would have considered self-harming.
“If I didn’t have that, I would be dead right now,” he said solemnly. “I don’t think I would have made it through everything that went on without them being with me and making sure that I was okay and waking up in the middle of the night to check on me every 10 minutes to make sure I didn’t, like, literally do something dangerous.”
November 26, 2019
During an interview with PAPER magazine, James continued to talk about his mental health as a result of his public fight with Tati. “I’m not mentally in a place where I want to be. What’s even harder to swallow is that it’s been six months since all the drama happened. I thought by this time I’d be completely good — back to normal, if you will — and that’s not the case,” he said.
He also mentioned Tati’s sexual assault allegations, referring to them as “very dangerous” and reiterated many harmful stereotypes about gay men being “predatory.” He explained, “The whole situation was scary for the LGBTQ+ community and paints a really bad picture of gay men.”
January 3, 2020
Following Coachella’s announcement of its 2020 lineup (though the festival has since been moved to 2021), James referenced the feud in a tweet.
THIS IS ABOUT TO BE THE BEST COACHELLA YET!!!! ? no boys or vitamins!!!!!!!! just good music, outfits, photos & memories let’s GOOOO https://t.co/Au7pJCOt1X
— James Charles (@jamescharles) January 3, 2020
June 30, 2020
After months of silence about what had gone down last spring, Tati released yet another 40-minute long video called “Breaking My Silence…” Over a year after the initial video, she accused Shane Dawson — who was currently under fire for his previous use of blackface, racist stereotypes, and jokes about pedophilia — as well as Jeffree Star — who has long-been accused of racism and taking a picture with swastikas — of convincing her to create “BYE SISTER.”
“I made [BYE SISTER] as a result of all the poisonous lies that were fed to me by Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star,” Tati said in her latest video. “Believing those lies and letting myself be gaslit into making that video is one of the biggest regrets of my life. The information they were giving me was terrifying. I was told there were a lot of victims that were going to come forward.”
“Over the course of the next few weeks [Shane] and Jeffree fed me so much new information that I felt sick. Almost every day there was more information and new allegations. Eventually, I started believing what they were saying, because they said they had evidence,” she explained. “It wasn’t enough for me to contact the authorities, it was enough to scare me.”
She claimed that the pair were “bitterly jealous of James’ success,” and planned to ruin James. Tati detailed how Jeffree had become obsessed with talking about James in a negative way.
“Back in 2019, Jeffree started talking a lot more crap about James Charles than usual. 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,” she told viewers.
She continued to say that Jeffree had begun exaggerating stories about James. “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’ behavior at my birthday dinner and how embarrassed he was for me.”
“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,” she said.
She made the claim that Jeffree Star is “allegedly” a partial owner of the beauty brand Morph, a competitor of James Charles, and that is why he wanted to destroy James’ career; a Morphe representative has since disputed this claim.
Tati later asserted that it was Shane and Jeffree, who are business partners, who had used, coerced, and manipulated her in the end to publish her video. “I was following my heart but I listened to the wrong people,” she said between tears. She said that Shane had “offered to help edit [BYE SISTER], he even offered to design the thumbnail, and help title it.”
Despite her earlier claims that she did not want to publish receipts about drama, she said that she would later publish evidence that implicates Shane and Jeffree; she said she is holding off per legal advice. “However, there will soon come a day where we will be able to present this evidence and you’ll be able to see why it is that we believe Jeffree and Shane are responsible for so much of the damage that has been caused,” Tati said.
In addition, she claimed that the night before she filmed the video, Jeffree has sent her an audio clip of someone he claimed was one of James’ “victims.” She went on to say that in the week following the video, her relationship with Jeffree “dissolved entirely.”
“I did not make my video because of vitamins,” she said. “I made it as a result of all the poisonous lies that were fed to me by Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star.”
Tati apologized to James for her actions, reflecting on an in-person session between them where they “…compared DMs, texts, and stories of what happened behind the scenes,” Tati said. “We apologized to each other, forgave each other, and agreed to wait patiently until it was right for me to share my story.”
Later that day, Dawson posted a response to Tati’s video, accusing her of fake crying and calling her “manipulative.”
In a since-deleted tweet, Dawson wrote, “THIS IS A FUCKING LIE AND IM LOSING MY MIND!!!!!!!!!!” His fiancé, Ryland Adams, tweeted in his defense, condemning Westbrook for not taking responsibility for her own actions.
creators backing her in the chance this all backfired. Shane very well WOULD have posted a video exposing James had he felt so inclined. No receipts because she didn’t want to expose the countless times she told Shane that she was a big girl doing this ONLY for herself
— Ryland Adams (@Ryland_Adams) June 30, 2020.
Many fans condemned Dawson as he was quick to respond to this situation, but has yet to address an old video he made of Willow Smith, who was only 11 at the time.
July 5, 2020
When paparazzi found James Charles at a Los Angeles food truck, he finally broke his silence about the drama between the whole group. “…I’m just staying out of it, minding my own business,” he said. “Just moved into a beautiful new house, I have great friends around me, waiting for my nice food on a Sunday afternoon.”
July 10, 2020
Morphe Brushes, the beauty brand Tati claims convinced Jeffree to become jealous of James Charles, officially dropped the influencer from its brand.
Today we’ve made the decision to cease all commercial activity related to Jeffree Star and affiliated products. We expect this to conclude within the coming weeks. As we look to the future, we will continue to share updates on what lies ahead for the Morphe brand.
— Morphe (@MorpheBrushes) July 10, 2020
Jefree Star Cosmetics posted this response.
Jeffree Star himself has yet to speak out about the situation.