There's been a disturbing development since we first reported on the grooming allegations made last week against the American beauty influencer James Charles. While rumours have been swirling about James' alleged predatory behaviour for some time now, not least from disgraced YouTubers Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson, it wasn't until last week that shit hit the proverbial fan. As we reported, last week the 21-year-old YouTuber faced considerable backlash for allegedly sexting and sending nudes to a 16-year-old fan.
In response to the allegations, made by an accuser known on Twitter as Isaiyah, James denied that he had engaged in any grooming; essentially claiming the whole thing was just one big misunderstanding. While admitting that he had sexted with Isaiyah, he wrote in a statement that his alleged victim had "told [him] he was 18". "In the excitement of meeting someone who could potentially be great, I didn't ask for a copy of his ID or passport", his statement reads. Isaiyah himself responded to the statement, saying: "After I told you I was 16, you proceeded to ask me for nudes". The whole disturbing shebang is below.
Since then, James apparently favourited a tweet that contained some rather unhinged allegations against Isaiyah (from literally who knows who). It looks like James has since unliked the tweet; but as we know, the internet never forgets. The full allegations, which include the claim that Isayiah "lies too much about his age" are below.
This looks like a classic case of victim-blaming (and also just the longest sentence I've ever seen). As the YouTube commentator D'Angelo Wallace points out, there's a clear power imbalance between famous influencers like James Charles and their fans, which can be seen gleaned from how many people try to smear the fans who come forward about their experiences. Given the potential for exploitation, D'Angelo suggests that sexting your fans is inappropriate behaviour in general.
So far, James Charles is yet to explain why he liked the tweet. As always, we'll keep you across any updates as they come up.
If you have experienced any kind of sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia (1800 respect) or Lifeline Australia (13 11 14).
Written by Reena Gupta, a Melbourne-based writer for MTV Australia. Follow her on Twitter @purpletank.