Surviving Cancelled Culture: Things to Learn From the James Charles Mess
In a well-crafted tweet, Kim Chi the drag queen took the words right out of our mouths:
This month, the entire influencing community was shaken to the core and not a single millennial could get enough of the James Charles scandal –– the prince of Youtube just took a huge step back in his career. Losing over a million subscribers within a 24-hour timespan and over three million on the same weekend this drama spanned for, we only have this to say: bitches better learn from this mess.
And that’s us. We’re bitches, and we’re here to learn. Read on for our key takeaways on the greatest Beautuber scandal to date! (Oh, and if you’re not caught up, check out this link for a comprehensive timeline of what happened – the pleasure is ours!)
Before we begin, we’ll also only be touching on the main drama up until James’ ‘tati’ video since the T just gets messier and shallow from there.
Credibility is everything.
Prior to his current youtube stardom, he made some wildly inappropriate comments in lieu of the Ebola outbreak several years ago when he was first gaining online traction. With many micro-controversies accumulating over the span of his career, it definitely takes a hit to how much the internet really trusts James Charles. First lesson: if you know you’re not the best role model, always filter what you say, especially if you’ve got a young and impressionable audience like Charles’.
Character foils also come into play. Putting him side by side with Tati Westbrook, who came into this scandal with a scotch-free record and a strong credibility based on her candid reviews paired with motherly aura, Charles’ problematic behaviour was amplified when he made one of the most respected beautubers snap.
Mentorship is awesome, so don’t abuse it.
Tati persistently uses her role as James’ mentor and familial connections as leverage when shooting James Charles down in her 43-minute receipt rant. The inciting incident of this entire mess was James casting his loyalty away by promoting Tati’s competitor brand. Having someone offer you their insider tips, enhance your career, and even put themselves in overdrive for your own benefit is nothing short of a blessing, so treat it like one. Lesson 2: Remember who helped you get to where you are, and always live gratuitously for them. No one is fully self-made, ever!
Apology Videos Are Rhetorically Ineffective.
We saw it with Laura Lee’s allegedly fake tears last year and again with James’ somewhat excessive apology video. If there’s anything that’s cancelled from all this drama, it’s got to be apology videos. After he published his apology video titled ‘tati,’ James Charles’ sub count plummeted to no end, and a lot of it is because apologies are a very, very difficult form of speech to master, especially when it’s seen by the whole world. We get it, you’ve got to repent somehow, but the best way to resolve any drama is to do it like any other human being would: address the other party privately, offer a sincere apology, and hope for the best. Public apologies are better directed at fans instead of the recipient because, well, that’s your public audience. Anything else would teeter on a production made for damage control, and that’s definitely not a good look.
There are so many PR missteps in this entire scandal, and there’s so much opportunity for growth within the beauty community. And with that, we’ll leave this entire chapter to rest with our last morsels of wisdom: Receipts are everywhere, so don’t just block your haters – learn. Listen when people offer you advice, stay humble, and come clean right off the bat.
A bit morbid, but that’s the T! What are your tips for avoiding drama? Let us know.