Not all heroes wear capes. Yep, a (very dedicated) Reddit user has taken it upon themselves to track the number of times they perceived James Charles to be breaking California's stay-at-home orders to do video collabs. The user reckons that over an 81-day period, Charles had 33 non-essential interactions – and those are just the ones gleaned from his channel.
By now, most of us know COVID-19 has impacted basically every industry. For countless people around the world, this has meant financial struggles throughout the pandemic, so when famous people break the rules, they're met with fierce backlash.
Famous YouTube and TikTok personalities have already faced controversies this year for acting irresponsibly during the pandemic, including for a birthday party at the Hype House in July. Beauty influencer James Charles, who after the infamous Dramageddon 2.0 has managed to regain his lost followers and remain relatively scandal free, he was one celeb who attended this party; facing a bunch of pushback from fans. The YouTuber later apologised, calling his decision "selfish and stupid." And although there haven't been any live streamed raging house parties since, one Reddit user has put a magnifying glass to his actions.
The redditor went as far as knocking up a pivot table, calling James out for the number of non-essential interactions he's had with people during California's lockdown. Listing TikTok stars and celebrities such as Charli and Dixie D'Amelio, Noah Beck and Kylie Jenner, most of the interactions were devoted to collabs with other influencers.
California has been hit hard by the virus, with 2,670,962 total recorded cases and 29,701 deaths since the start of the pandemic. In early December 2020, a strict stay at home order was announced, closing almost all non-essential businesses and restricting travel to essential work or shopping. Initially only intended for three weeks, the order's been extended as cases rise and ICU capacities diminish.
One collab captured by the list was a TikTok video that Charles turned off the comments for, after it began to attract backlash. It showed him dancing in a house with Larray and Charli D'Amelio wearing Christmas outfits. (It was released smack-bang in the middle of LA's lockdown). Although some users defended the influencer, stating it was filmed before the stay at home order, it still made waves.
The comments on the Reddit post display frustration at Charles, who's worth over $10 million USD. The criticism comes as many obeying lockdown laws have lost income, while celebrities seem to get a free pass. "This is so infuriating," writes one exasperated user. "He's so famous that he doesn't even need to do collabs rn for the exposure," adding: "I'm so tired of these influencers."
The table comes less than a week after Charles had a tiff with YouTuber Jenn McAllister, who made comments about the behaviour of influencers collaborating during the pandemic.
Charles initially responded, both calling out McAllister for also participating in collaboration videos, then to state that the collabs were filmed before the lockdown laws were introduced. In since-deleted tweets, Charles inferred that he is taking things seriously, paying for tests of his guests and staying inside as much as he can.
Charles said he deleted the tweet to avoid "unnecessary drama", tweeting at Jenn, "Regardless, I really like you and don't want to fight."
As the cases of COVID in the US continue to rise, and nearly 50,000 new cases appear in California every day, the actions of influencers may very well continue to be scrutinised. The virus doesn't discriminate; it really doesn't care how many followers you have. So why should the rules be different for those who have a platform online?
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