James Charles apologizes for 'flirty' messages with underage boys: 'I'm ashamed'
'I f---ed up, and I need to take accountability for my actions,' the 21-year-old said in a new YouTube apology video.
YouTube beauty influencer James Charles has admitted to being "flirty" with underage boys in a lengthy apology video.
Addressing the allegations of two 16-year-old boys who said that they'd engaged in inappropriate conversations with Charles on social media, the makeup artist said he was committed to "holding [himself] accountable for [his] own actions," and that he owes "a massive apology" to the teens over the "embarrassing" incident — which, as Vulture outlined in a recent chronicle of Charles' rise to fame, isn't the first time the 21-year-old has come under fire for his alleged behavior toward others.
The 14-minute clip titled "holding myself accountable" sees Charles recapping the current allegations against him. He explained that both boys added him on Snapchat, which led to what he called a "flirty conversation" after Charles said both told him that they were 18 years old. Charles said that when he found out that both boys were minors, he "immediately blocked" them.
One of the unnamed 16-year-old accusers told Insider that his social-media pages showed his age as 16, and he denied lying to Charles that he was older.
"I realize that the receipts and screenshots and specific details of the interaction really don't matter, because I f---ed up, and I need to take accountability for my actions and, most importantly, apologize to the people that were affected by them," he said. "These conversations should've never happened, point blank, period. There's no excuse for it.... I take full responsibility for that. I trusted the information that was given to me rather than the information that I could have — and should have — gotten myself."
He stressed that, as an adult, he now understands that it is his "job and responsibility" to verify the ages of those he's talking to, but that a "desperate" longing for romantic connection resulted in his "reckless" ignorance and unwitting abuse of a power dynamic between a celebrity and his fans.
"I'm going to change," Charles promised, adding that he was "ashamed" of his behavior. He vowed to take time off to educate himself before returning to the public eye, and will no longer use his social media pages as dating apps.
Charles previously became an internet celebrity thanks to his makeup tutorials, and was later named CoverGirl's first male spokesmodel in 2016. He has since become a powerful force in the beauty world, having launched several makeup products, presided over the judging panel of the Instant Influencer competition series, and collaborated with high-profile celebrities on his YouTube channel, which boasts 25.7 million subscribers to date. It was announced last month that Charles will not return as host of Instant Influencer season 2, but no reason was given for his departure, Variety reported.
Prior to his most recent apology video, Charles lost millions of followers after fellow beauty guru Tati Westbrook shared a 2019 YouTube video criticizing his treatment of their friendship.
Watch Charles' most recent apology video above.
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