Beauty guru and YouTuber James Charles has confessed to sending sexually explicit messages to two 16-year-old boys.
In a video posted on Thursday to his 25 million subscribers, the 21-year-old content creator said he fully understands his actions and “how they are wrong”.
“These conversations should have never happened, point-blank, period. There’s no excuse for it. There’s no ifs, ands or buts, and I take full responsibility for that,” he said.
Claims of this nature first came to light on the internet earlier this year, in February, as he was accused of grooming, which Charles denied because he believed that at the time, the person he was messaging was 18 years old.
In the 14-minute YouTube video, titled “Holding myself accountable”, he owned up to his misconduct, describing two past incidents.
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One took place last year and a second was more recent. Both times he realised, after messaging them, they were under 18.
“I trusted the information that was given to me, rather than the information I could have and should have gotten myself,” he said in his latest upload, adding that he could have looked them up on social media to verify their ages.
After apologising to the boys involved, he announced that he planned to take a break from social media to “reflect and further educate” himself about these matters.
It isn’t the first time that Charles has faced criticism on social media over his conduct.
In 2019, he came under fire from beauty YouTuber Tati Westbrook, who claimed in a YouTube video that he used his “fame, power and money to play with people’s emotions”.
Responding to the allegations at the time, Charles told his followers he was “sorry for everything that I put you through”.
“What sucks the most is that I know there’s nothing I can say or do to ever earn that friendship or trust back, but I don’t blame them for it. A lot of the time when I’ve had to address things in the past, I’ve acted out of impulse and I’ve gone off and tried to pull receipts or facts or screenshots and play the victim,” he added.
Other large YouTubers have also faced allegations over their conduct, with Austin Jones’ being sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2019 after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography.
YouTube deleted the creator’s YouTube channel that same year.
In the UK, musician and vlogger Alex Day admitted that he had had “occasionally manipulative relationships with women”, after a string of British YouTubers faced accusations in 2014.
“The model of consent that I followed - not that I specifically thought about it at the time - was that only ‘no’ meant ‘no’. That is not what consent is,” he wrote in a Tumblr post at the time.
Most recently, David Dobrik – known for his Vlog Squad – had his channel demonetised by the video-sharing platform after a rape allegation was made against a former associate.
Dobrik issued a statement on the issue in March and has denied any wrongdoing.
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