James Charles rose to prominence in the make-up sector of YouTube and became CoverGirl’s first CoverBoy. The 17-year-old made a tweet implying that all of Africa is filled with Ebola. People were upset by the tweet and Charles did not handle the situation very well.Before traveling to South Africa with his classmates, Charles sent out the tweet seen above. Charles intended for the tweet to be read as a joking dialogue, but people did not find it funny. The tweet clearly shows that Charles made a comment about Ebola to one of his classmates, who mixed up Ebola and E-coli. Charles added an ellipse with an upside down smiley face emoji to the end of the tweet.
Charles has since deleted the tweet and posted multiple tweets defending his actions. Charles tweeted, “I am extremely sorry. Regardless of my intentions, words have consequences. I take full responsibility and will learn and do better.” This tweet was followed by a longer apology in picture format.
The apology is riddled with swear words and has a hostile tone. Charles explained that his tweet was intended to make fun of his friend’s mix up. It goes on to say that he did not “intend to offend” and that he understands why what he said “was offensive and ignorant.”
After tweeting the picture, he posted two tweets that read together as “I misspoke & said country because we are traveling specifically to South Africa only. I know Africa is a continent and wanted to post an ACTUAL, GENUINE, apology as soon as physically possible. I have a million things in my head right now. I am sorry and want to fix it somehow.”
CoverGirl initially responded to the situation by tweeting a picture of Charles with Zendaya. CoverGirl deleted the tweet after receiving backlash and relesead the following statement to The Cut: “James Charles’ tweet does not represent COVERGIRL’s perspective. We agree his statements were inappropriate but appreciate that he has issued an apology. We are an inclusive brand and respect all people and cultures.” CoverGirl also released the statement in a series of three tweets.
It has been over a week and no other apologies or attempts to make up for the situation have been made. Some people think that CoverGirl should replace Charles, but it does not look like that’s going to happen.
What Charles tweeted was not okay. Young stars need to realize that when you’re in the spotlight people will listen to what you say. Words have consequences for everyone, so it shouldn’t be different for Charles. He did not seem to be genuinely sorry for his racist tweet and CoverGirl doesn’t appear to be either.