Tati Westbrook's making headlines again.
News broke this morning that Tati Westbrook – famous YouTuber, key player in Dramageddon 2 and 3 and businesswoman – is being sued, along with her husband, James Westbrook, reports BuzzFeed News. Court documents reportedly filed recently reveal their business partner Clark Swanson is suing the pair for breach of contract, gross negligence and fraud, all relating to Tati's vitamin line, Halo Beauty.
In court docs seen by E! News, Swanson claims he had agreed to owning 50% of the company while Tati and her husband, James Westbrook, owned the other half. Then, right before launching the company, Swanson says, Tati and James came to him with an offer: "give them two-thirds of the business and, in exchange, the Westbrooks would commit to use Halo Beauty as Ms. Westbrook's umbrella brand for all her beauty launches – cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, all of Tati Westbrook's beauty products. Mr. Swanson agreed to these terms." The court documents reportedly read.
The docs also allege that Tati told Swanson she was famous enough that "the product did not matter, she could still sell a 'shit product' to her loyal followers" and that Tati had assured Swanson that her YouTube mates, Jeffree Star, Manny Mua, James Charles and Laura Lee, would definitely endorse the product. Tati reportedly even told Swanson that they'd all turned down lucrative ad deals with rival vitamin brand, Sugar Bear Hair, out of loyalty to her.
Of course, that didn't entirely happen – James Charles did in fact endorse Sugar Bear Hair (kicking off Dramageddon 2), and even Tati and James Westbrook seemed to have little interest in Halo after its launch, claims Swanson, with the court documents filed by Swanson's reps alleging Tati and her husband "actively interfered with Mr. Swanson's efforts to grow Halo Beauty". The lawsuit claims they then went behind his back to launch a separate beauty brand in 2019 under Tati's name that planned to sell products he and the couple had chatted about together.
Swanson allegedly warned James Westbrook, "Tati Fragrance is a product line that we contemplated when we formed Halo and again when I gave you and Tati the controlling interest in the business. Even if you are right that Tati Fragrance could be good for Halo, there is no way it is better for Halo than having Halo own and operate the Fragrance piece of the business."
Swanson is requesting Tati and James Westbrook be taken to trial and that he receive damages for breaching their deal with him. Tati, meanwhile, hasn't responded directly, but did issue a statement through her lawyer, Douglas Fuchs, that stated Swanson's lawsuit was "meritless".
"His absurd claim that Tati Westbrook granted him one-third of her name, image and likeness for all time in exchange for a modest initial capital contribution. Swanson's claim is not only baseless, it is offensive and defies common sense," wrote Fuchs. "This is particularly true given that Swanson has received millions in profit distributions from Halo Beauty, almost exclusively due to the Westbrooks' efforts. Tati and James will vigorously defend this lawsuit and are confident that the truth will come out and they will prevail."
It's been four months since Tati's last YouTube video – one which saw her apologising to James Charles for her "Bye Sister" video, and claiming Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson had manipulated and gaslighted her into making it.
So, will we hear Tati's take again on this Halo drama? Maybe. We'll bring you all the updates as it unfolds.
Written by Sangeeta Kocharekar, an American-born, Sydney-based writer at MTV. Photos from her pre-COVID-19 days as a travel writer are here.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article had some typos; we fixed them up.