“Don’t worry, this isn’t my return to social media but unfortunately I am logging in today because I feel as though I am being cornered and have to make yet another public statement,” James said in the video uploaded on Monday night.
He describes how, although he has been quiet online, he has been taking time “to learn and to reflect”.
The 21-year-old YouTuber and beauty guru explains that “things behind the scenes have not been so quiet,” and reflected on an ongoing lawsuit from a former employee, which he said is an attempt to take advantage of him, and ‘blackmail’ him.
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Rocklein had been employed by James as his video editor and went on to become his producer. She is claiming wrongful termination and has made other accusations of poor treatment and failure to receive payment for working overtime.
“For those who are not aware, for the last two years I’ve been dealing with an ongoing lawsuit from one of my previous employees,” James told his 7.8 million Twitter followers.
“This is something that I have never spoken about, never mentioned because I wanted to keep it private out of respect for her and the fact that it’s literally an ongoing litigation. But now she’s speaking about it which is just perfect timing considering everything else that’s going on.”
James detailed that Kelly was hired to edit his YouTube videos when his channel “just started to take off” and was then later promoted to be his producer, meaning that she no longer edited his videos and helped him with filming instead, as James’ “right hand person”.
He also disclosed that Kelly had a salary of $72,000 per year, but that she only worked for him for about six months and was “let go”.
Within those six months Kelly worked for James, his YouTube channel sky rocketed from 2.8 million subscribers to 8.5 million.
James called Kelly’s claims “untrue.” Indy100 has contacted Kelly Rocklein for comment.
On April 26, Kelly tweeted: “Watching the same people who screwed me over massively end up in deep scandals isn’t news to me, it’s karmic debt.” With many assuming she was referring to James and recent sexual misconduct accusations.
A few minutes later she tweeted again: “Won 1, going 2 for 2 because I’m all about law and order.”
Kelly said in an interview with Insider, “Think about everything James posted in those six months. I was involved in it the point where if I didn’t show up that day, James wouldn’t get the work done.”
She says she was given a $6,000 monthly pay rise (around the $72,000 salary James mentioned), but claims that she was never paid for the total number of hours she worked.
In his statement, James goes on to say that his team are like his family and that he has a small team so there are “not many ex-employees.”
“I stand behind the fact that they [team] are very well taken care of. The fact that this is even attempting to become a narrative makes me feel sick to my stomach because it is wildly, wildy untrue.”
The YouTuber also says that Kelly is also a former employee of social media star Erika Costell and went through a lawsuit with her over employee mistreatment.
He then goes on to explain why he decided not to settle with Kelly.
“Settling is oftentimes a good option, a smarter option, because it’s faster, it’s cheaper, and it’s a lot less of a headache… but settling is no longer an option on the table and I’m going to tell you why.
“This week I was reached out to for comment about a news article that is coming soon and I’ve learned that she’s talking to the press about this lawsuit and what it was like to work for me as an employee. However, she’s adding a ton of absolutely ridiculous, absurd, untrue, defamatory, just the craziest claims you can ever imagine. And in my opinion it’s an attempt to pressure me to make a much higher settlement offer. I’m talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
James ends the video by saying the “only option is to pursue this to fullest extent of the law and hope that when it gets to a court room in the future that justice will be served.”
In response to Charles’ video, Rocklein’s attorney told Insider the reason the case has taken so long is because of Charles’ legal team’s attempt to compel arbitration and their subsequent appeal when arbitration was denied by the court.
Kelly said: “This is almost the opportunity to set a precedent to really say ‘If you’re a content creator and you want to hire someone, you need to make sure that you’re doing your part and being a decent human being and taking care of your people.”
Social media had plenty to say about James’ statement: