Several witnesses have spoken out with allegations of physical violence, racism, and sexual assault against makeup guru Jeffree Star.
A new report by Insider interviewed witnesses that were close to Star in the early 2000s when he was a MySpace celebrity. The beauty mogul has since amassed nearly 20 million followers on YouTube and ranked in an estimated $17 million the streaming platform last year alone, according to Forbes. Star has previously said that his income from YouTube is only a fraction of his total income.
During his early rise to fame, in his 20s, Star’s online persona was intended to shock. Some clips show him at 18 years old assailing people on the streets. In a couple instances, he yells out the N-word and is heard suggesting to pour battery acid on a Black woman to lighten her skin. He would also try to start fights with strangers on the street by confronting them with racist and sexist slurs.
In 2017, he published an apology video and denied all claims that he’s a racist.
Now, several people have alleged that during the same time Star was being physically, and in some cases, sexually abusive to some around him.
Insider reports of a claim that took place in 2009. The alleged victim, Gage Arthur, claims that during this time he was tasered by Star after he rejected Star's advances in a movie theater. Arthur, who reportedly reached out to Insider himself via their tips line in July, also alleges that Star gave him Ambien until he was inebriated then forcibly performed sex on him without consent.
Arthur's story was corroborated by others as well as publicly available Internet posts, according to Insider.
Before the story was published, however, Insider reports that a few of these witnesses — all of whom went on record beforehand — ended up changing their stories after Insider reached out to Star’s attorneys.
Two of the witnesses reportedly shared text messages with Insider showing that Star offered them $10,000 to take back their allegations.
Ultimately, three people who’d originally went on record with their stories ended up backtracking their claims. Two did not.
Arthur, who first came out with the allegations in August on the blog StickyDrama, also retracted his story after Insider reached out to Star for comment. Insider reports Arthur wrote that he “may have misinterpreted things” and was "retracting our communications."
According to texts obtained from on-the-record witnesses, Arthur reportedly reached out to them to say he was paid off by Star and that Star "has agreed to pay you $10,000 if you choose to do the same.”
Insider reports they had corroborated his story before Arthur chose to retract it through multiple interviews and old social media posts. These posts were deleted by Star last month after he was asked to comment on them. One of them confirmed that Star had indeed gone to the movies with Arthur on the night of November 11, 2009.
Kris Whalen, Arthur’s ex roommate, and Eden Shizzle, a friend of Arthur’s, both told Insider that Arthur told them on separate occasions in 2009 that he was sexually assaulted by Star.
Amor Hilton, who says she is porn star Ron Jeremy's niece and who describes herself as Arthur's best friend, said in a statement to Insider that the allegations about Star are false and that they "definitely had hooked up, quite a few times" consensually.
Out has also obtained a sworn affidavit dated September 29, 2020 from Hilton, who gave us permission to share publicly.
In it, she writes that even though Arthur identified as straight, he would ask her to drive him to Star’s house where he and Star engaged in a consensual sexual relationship.
She also wrote that Arthur, whom she met in 2005, messaged her on Facebook a few weeks ago and “asked me to speak with Business Insider concerning his allegations about Mr. Star. Mr. Arthur did not try to convince me that the allegations are true — that would have been futile, as we both know the allegations are false. Instead, Mr. Arthur said that if I talked to Business Insider and supported him, he would ‘take care of me’ later if he received a monetary settlement from Mr. Star.”
Hilton also claims in the affidavit that she knows several of the sources who went on record for the story, and has even lived with them. While she said she witnessed “tasering, narcotics, and sex” in the house, “none of these incidents involved Mr. Star.”
"To be clear, I do not believe any of the claims being alleged about Mr. Star are true," she concluded, "and I do not believe Business Insider’s sources, though some of my closest friends, are credible."
Another alleged victim named Brian Strah claims Star groped his genitals in 2007 when Star was performing at Bitoz Pizzeria in Anchorage, Alaska.
"I was just kind of shocked," Strah told Insider. "After a while it dawned on me that it was pretty f***ed up. When the 'Me Too' stuff started happening, all these things that seemed to be smaller transgressions were coming out, and I was like 'Woah, wait a second, I was assaulted.' It had never really clicked."
Strah’s friend, Scott Thorpe, was there that night and claimed that Strah spoke to him about it.
"[He] expressed that happened and I remember thinking that was part of the energy at the show," Thorpe told Insider. "I remember people getting groped onstage during that show in a way that I thought was just, 'Well, this is the way these kinds of things are.' I'm at a different place now and understand what's a consensual touch."
Strah claims the experience traumatized him, and according to DMs obtained by Insider, he continued to ask Star to account for his actions over the years — all of which have gone unanswered.
Star's attorney denies that Star ever groped Strah and claims that Strah has told the story in the past in attempts to extort money, though no evidence was provided of Strah's attempting to extort money.
Chris Avery Bennet, a trans woman who ran a gay rights MySpace page before she transitioned, alleges the mogul cyber bullied her after she reached out to him on his MySpace wall to ask if he can share an empowering story on her advocacy page.
"He replied saying 'You are f***ing disgusting and nobody will ever take you seriously, stop calling yourself fierce,'" Bennet claimed to Insider. "And it turned into an all-out war. Like an absolute all-out war."
Bennet, who was 15 at the time, alleges that Star’s fans followed up by harassing her with abusive messages. She claims the bullying contributed to a suicide attempt.
"Jeffree Star was my first bully. My first real bully and abuser," Bennet told Insider. "Jeffree is a bully, but the way that Jeffree does things goes far beyond and turns into actual abuse and harm."
She added, "Jeffree has never hidden any of this. The only thing he's ever done is shut people up. But what needs to happen is somebody needs to speak up and open that door for people who have more serious encounters. And nobody's done that. And I'm not afraid to be that person."
It should be noted that Insider was unable to verify Bennet’s specific claims since she deleted her account following the alleged abuse. However, Insider did find a version of her second MySpace profile in the online archive, which features a section in the blog box called “Why Jeffree Star Messed Up.”
According to Facebook messages obtained by Insider, Arthur had reached out to Bennet and repeated the offer he previously pitched to prior witnesses. A screenshot of the exchange shows that Arthur said Star paid him $10,000 to recant his story and that Star “agreed to pay you $10,000 if you choose to do the same.”
Star's attorney has vehemently denied all claims made in the report.
It should also be noted that last month, Star publicly proclaimed that there were people attempting to extort him for money, which would have been around the time Insider was vetting the story.
Out reached out to a spokesperson on behalf of Star, who delivered this statement:
“While Insider may believe that generating click-bait is more important than honest reporting, facts still matter. This so-called exposé is nothing but a defamatory collection of long-discredited allegations, misleading hearsay from more than a decade ago and outright lies. Tellingly, all of the key individuals involved have refused to substantiate Insider’s bogus claims, while many, including Jeffree’s representatives, presented the reporter with a mountain of evidence proving that these allegations are false. She, regrettably and unethically, chose to ignore that evidence because it did not fit with her predetermined narrative.
The statement continued, “Insider’s article is textbook defamation, rife with malice and demonstrating a reckless disregard for the truth, and, as a result, Jeffree is considering all of his legal options.”