On April 1, beauty YouTuber James Charles finally addressed the multiple allegations that have surfaced online in recent weeks accusing him of inappropriate behavior and “grooming” 16-year-olds.
In his 14-minute upload titled “holding myself accountable,” the 21-year-old spoke out about two accusations in particular which accused the YouTube star of messaging 16-year-olds on Snapchat, despite knowing their age.
He started off by apologizing to his family, friends, and fans, calling the situation “really, really embarrassing,” before saying that he “fully understands” his actions and how they were “wrong.”
“Within the past couple of weeks, two different people – both under the age of 18 – have recently come forwards and said that they had inappropriate messages from me on social media,” the YouTube star began. “In both of these cases, I added these people on Snapchat, asked how old they were right away, was told that they were 18, believed them and engaged in flirty conversation, and later on found out that they were actually 16.”
Charles then claimed he blocked both of the people involved upon finding out their actual age. “When I saw them both making videos about it and going viral, my immediate reaction, completely honestly, was to be really upset… The screenshots and the receipts really don’t matter because I f**ked up.”
“These conversations should have never happened,” he continued. “There is no excuse for it, I take full responsibility for that… In doing the research myself, both of these people’s social media profiles would have revealed their true ages and these conversations would have never happened in the first place… To the guys involved in the situation, I want to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I added you, I’m sorry that I flirted with you, and I’m REALLY sorry if I ever made you uncomfortable. It’s completely unacceptable. I was being reckless.”
James went on to explain that he’d reflected on why this happened in the first place, and said, “It sucks and it is ridiculously embarrassing to admit this, but I have to… I’m desperate. I do understand that with these videos coming to light, it’s really looking like I’m actively searching for younger people to be in a relationship with… That is absolutely not the case.”
“The idea of actually being in a relationship became so important to me that I was willing to trust too quickly, miss out on red flags, and most importantly not take the precautionary measures that really anybody, but especially somebody with a public platform, should be taking before talking to anybody.”
The YouTuber then addressed the 2019 scandal with fellow influencer Tati Westbrook in which she released a video accusing him of predatory behavior against straight men. He revealed that after he uploaded his “No More Lies” apology video, he hadn’t kept his promise to “be more careful moving forward” when it came to his dating life.
“As time progressed, my desire for a relationship never really went away, and I slowly started ignoring red flags again, and also ignoring my friends and the important people around me that warned me that I was going to get hurt,” he said. “To them, I also feel like I owe an apology because I should have listened and I feel like if I did, we probably wouldn’t be here today.”
Charles revealed that he has been talking to professionals about his behavior so that he could “hold myself accountable” for the situation, and admitted that he didn’t realize that there was a “power imbalance” when it came to fans reaching out to him.
James ended his video by apologizing to those involved and promising to change his behavior, and said he was embarrassed and ashamed by everything that went on. “I will be way more careful moving forward with every single person that I speak to… I didn’t understand how a situation like this could affect the people involved but now I do. To the victims, I am so sorry, and I promise that something like this will never happen again.”