Beauty YouTuber James Charles has issued a video apology for his recent online flirting with an underaged boy. The allegations were contained in a short video first posted to TikTok by a user who is 16 years old. The post included screenshots of the conversations, as well as pictures that appear to show Charles undressed in bed. This is, at least, the second time allegations of inappropriate communications with underaged boys have been leveled against Charles. Like the time before, the beauty YouTuber claimed he believed he was conversing with a legal adult, and said he broke off all contact upon finding out he was chatting and exchanging pictures with minors.
"I fucked up," the 21-year-old admitted, saying that despite initial assurances from his accuser he should have done more to confirm the boy's age, admitting "these conversations should never have happened."
Charles went on to say that "I fully understand my actions and how they are wrong" and apologized to "anybody that I've hurt or anybody that I've made uncomfortable with my actions."
In his nearly 15-minute-long video explanation entitled "holding myself accountable," Charles claims the boy first contacted him with flirtatious messages. He says the boy initially claimed to be 18, and that Charles cut off all contact upon learning the boy was legally a minor. The beauty guru blamed his actions on "desperation," saying he truly wanted a relationship with someone his age or older, but had been unable to find a suitable boyfriend. He surmised that this led him to ignore red flags that he should have noticed. Of those red flags were other posts on the boy's account that indicated that he was underage.
"I do understand with these videos coming to light it's really starting to - not even starting to - it's really looking, period, like I'm actively searching for younger people to be in a relationship with," Charles said. "I just want to say firsthand that is absolutely not the case."
The TikTok video accusing Charles was initially uploaded by user Jake Cherry, who has 75,000 followers and describes himself in his bio as "just a 6'10" kid." Many of his posted videos deal with living with his height. The video accusing Charles was apparently deleted by Cherry, but later reposted to Twitter by another user. The short video contains a rapid succession of screenshots showing conversations and pics shared between the two.
"WHO COULD'VE SEEN THAT COMING," Twitter user Def Noodles posted, further alleging that James only "snapped" and accused the boy of lying about his age after Cherry had publicly shared screenshots of their private conversations.
\u201cWHO COULD\u2019VE SEEN THAT COMING: James Charles exposed for allegedly messaging 15-year-old. When James notices that boy shared one of their messages on his story, James snaps, accuses the boy of lying about his age, then blocks him. Boy alleges he never lied about his age.\u201d
Charles said he now realizes that his celebrity status creates a "power imbalance" with his fans, where just the opportunity to speak with a media star can "make somebody do or say something that they normally wouldn't."
This is the second time Charles has had to make an apology in this way. In 2019 he released a video called "No More Lies" where he fought back against accusations that he pressured straight men into sexual encounters. Those allegations came from other YouTubers and caused him to bleed millions of followers. In 2020, things seemed to be improving for him as the content creator appeared on the cover of Vogue Portugal.
In order to reflect on his actions and work on making himself a better person, the YouTube star said he will now take time off from the public spotlight.