YouTube star Tati Westbrook has made shocking new claims against fellow influencers Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson, accusing them of ‘using’ her in a plot to destroy the career of beauty guru James Charles by ‘manipulating’ her into making a video exposing his alleged predatory behavior.
The 38-year-old opened up about a year-old drama in a very tearful video posted to her YouTube channel on Tuesday, finally shedding some light on the bitter feud between herself and Charles, which was sparked when she called him out for ‘seducing straight men’ and ‘tricking them into thinking they are gay’.
When the claims were first aired in Westbrook’s May 2019 video, they prompted a bitter backlash against Charles, who lost more than three million subscribers in the wake of the video going live. Westbrook also faced fury from his fans, and subsequently disappeared from her channel for months.
Speaking out: YouTuber Tati Westbrook has opened up about public accusations she made against fellow online star James Charles in a controversial video last year
Upset: The 38-year-old beauty guru has accused online stars Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star of ‘weaponizing’ her in an alleged plot to destroy Charles’ career
However, the beauty guru has now come forward to shed some light on what she claims was a twisted plot to ruin Charles’ career – insisting that she only made the video after she was fed ‘lies’ about his behavior by Star and Dawson, while accusing them of ‘weaponizing’ her in their bid to destroy Charles’ reputation and following.
‘I’m sorry that you haven’t seen me in a while and I’m hoping that this video clears up a lot of the reasons why I felt I could not be online over the past couple of months,’ Westbrook says in her new YouTube video – while revealing that she is currently seeking the advice of legal counsel and is therefore limited in what she is able to say publicly.
She continued: ‘For over a year now, every time this scandal is revisited, either in mainstream media or through social platforms, I become the number one target of relentless hate while remaining voiceless.
‘I’ve lost over a year of my life terrified of social media and terrified of speaking up against the people that used, coerced, and manipulated me into releasing my video in May of last year.
I made my video as a result of the poisonous lies that were fed to me by Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star
‘As a result the damage to my health, relationships, reputation, business and general wellbeing has been enormous. This platform that I love, this platform that saved my life and changed my life, has become toxic, and what it needs now more than ever are peacemakers.’
The YouTuber, who first rose to fame on the platform in 2010, goes on to reveal that she and Charles have mended their relationship, explaining that the duo made amends at the end of 2019 – and also began looking into how Dawson and Star ‘manipulated’ Westbrook into making the video in the first place.
‘[In December 2019], James Charles came to my LA home and we compared DMs, texts, and stories about what had happened behind the scenes,’ Westbrook shared.
‘We apologized to each other, forgave each other, and agreed to wait patiently until it was safe to share my story.
‘Since that night, James Charles has repeatedly said that he wanted to be beside me for this video, but I felt that it was important that I do it alone, because he deserves my first apology. And I am really sorry James, and I’ve said that privately, but I want you to hear it publicly. I’m sorry.’
She added: ‘James, I am so sorry that I allowed myself to be poisoned and weaponized against you.
At fault? In a video shared on Tuesday, Westbrook makes shocking claims about Dawson, 31, and Star, 34, saying they ‘fed her lies’ about Charles and ‘poisoned’ her against him
Reunited? The YouTuber also revealed that she and Charles, 21, have made amends, and that they have spoken privately about what they believe was an attempt to ruin his reputation
‘I’m sorry that I bought into any of their lies. Believing their lies and allowing myself to be gaslit into making that video is one of the biggest regrets of my life. I should have tried harder to reach you over those concerns in person and I’m sorry for giving up.’
Speaking about her relationship with Charles prior to the damning video she posted last year, Westbrook describes herself as being ‘more of a mentor than a friend’ to the online star – whose career was beginning to take off as their friendship began.
But, Westbrook admits, in the months and weeks leading up to the video’s release she had grown ‘frustrated’ with his seemingly-‘entitled’ attitude, a tension that was made all the more bitter when she was told by Star and Dawson that Charles had been accused of preying upon unwitting straight men.
At the time of the video’s release, many of Charles’ fans accused Westbrook of trying to soil his reputation because she was angry that he had accepted a sponsorship from a rival beauty vitamin brand – instead of helping to promote her own supplements on social media.
However, she insists that this was not the reason behind the clip, noting that the controversy over the vitamin deal was simply ‘her breaking point’.
‘Prior to the scandal last May, I’d grown frustrated with what I perceived as a growing sense of entitlement and I felt that he was making some detrimental choices that could jeopardize his career and safety,’ she said.
The information they were giving me was terrifying… I was told there were a lot of victims that were going to come forward to destroy James Charles
‘None of my concerns became overwhelming until after I met Shane Dawson.
‘When I made my video, I expressed my opinions about James Charles’ behavior. I expressed how much a specific decision he made that I perceived as betrayal hurt me. I was very worried and heartbroken but I did not lie in that video.
‘I did not call James Charles a predator and I never said that he was a danger to society. My video was not made with any malice. I did not publicly air any of the horrific accusations that were being made behind the scenes.
‘While I was definitely upset that he had accepted a sponsorship from the biggest rival to my brand, Halo Beauty, I did not make my video because of vitamins. I made it as a result of all of the poisonous lies that were fed to me by Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star.
‘James Charles’ SugarBearHair sponsorship and all of the drama that had kicked up afterwards, that was just my breaking point.
‘Yes, I’m a grown woman, I’m smart, I can usually spot deceit and manipulation a mile away, but my guard was down from being heartbroken, and I allowed myself to be worked by Shane, Jeffree, and others.’
Westbrook alleges that Star and Dawson had begun ‘poisoning’ her against Charles months before she released her video, claiming that the two of them fed her various ‘lies’ about his behavior – and led her to believe that several ‘victims’ were going to come forward and expose him, potentially destroying his career in the process.
‘The information they were giving me was terrifying. I thought your career and freedom were in jeopardy,’ Westbrook said.
Receipts: Westbrook accused Star (left) of attempting to ‘poison’ her against Charles, recalling how Star began ‘talking c**p’ about him in 2019, despite the trio making a video together
Controversy: She also alleges that Dawson (center) told her ‘James Charles was a monster with many victims’ during a private conversation at her house
Moving forward: Westbrook, who has collaborated with both Star and Dawson (pictured) in the past, said that her own reputation was ‘poisoned’ as a result of her May 2019 video
‘I was trying to get you to put your phone down and seek help because I was told there were a lot of victims that were going to come forward to destroy you. I was foolish for believing them. I was scared.
‘I thought if I called you out, you would put your phone down and stop the detrimental behavior I was being made to believe was true.
‘James I apologize for uploading that video. I should have known better than to fall for their lies and manipulation. And instead I allowed Shane and Jeffree to put a wedge between our friendship.’
Westbrook then begins to open up about the years leading up to the controversial 2019 video – which was titled ‘Bye Sister’ – detailing how first met Star, and then Dawson, before explaining how the two of them allegedly began ‘poisoning her against Charles’.
She recalls first meeting Star back in 2017, when he reached out to her on social media, revealing that the two became friendly online before eventually meeting in person – although she says it is ‘important to note’ that they never actually spent a huge amount of time in person together, but rather carried out most of their relationship on FaceTime, text and telephone.
Westbrook also makes a note of the many controversies in Star’s past – including multiple allegations of racism – but says that she let it all go because she believed that she could be a ‘positive influence’ in his life, and that he was ‘trying to be better’.
Shane Dawson said that James Charles was a monster with many victims… he said that he was hurting minors
During their friendship, despite watching Star become embroiled in a number of controversies and scandals with other members of the YouTube community, Westbrook stood by him and even defended him, a decision that she now says she deeply ‘regrets’.
It was through Star that Westbrook was then introduced to Dawson, who, in 2019, was in the process of making a wildly popular YouTube docuseries about Star’s life.
‘When Shane Dawson’s first series with Jeffree happened, from all outside appearances, it looked like Jeffree was actually changing for the better,’ she recalls. ‘He was accepting responsibility for things that had happened in his past and he was pledging to be a better person. I believed him again.’
According to Westbrook, she first met Dawson another YouTuber who has been at the center of many a controversy, most recently facing furious backlash for sexualizing a teenage Willow Smith, and appearing in videos while wearing blackface – at her home, where they had an emotional and lengthy conversation about their pasts.
‘Shane came over one afternoon in April and I opened up and shared things that I have only shared with my closest of friends,’ she said. ‘I shared that I had been the victim of sexual assault, I shared with him my faith, and told him how deeply I feel for others.
‘He shared with me that he was an empath and could feel all of my pain. He pledged his unending friendship and loyalty to me forever in this life and in the next one.’
Prior to this first meeting, Westbrook says she had noticed Star regularly making negative comments about Charles – explaining that he would ‘talk c**p’ about the YouTube star and his alleged bad behavior, telling Westbrook numerous stories about things that Charles was rumored to have done, and people that he was said to have hurt.
During her first meeting with Dawson, Westbrook says he told her that he and Star wanted her to be involved with their docuseries, but that the focus of the filming was shifting ‘because there was something horrible happening in our community with James Charles’.
‘He said that James Charles was a monster with many victims,’ she explained, before reiterating: ‘Shane said that James Charles was a monster and that James Charles was hurting minors.
‘Shane said that he was planning to interview victims for the docuseries… he told me that something needed to be done to stop [Charles] from hurting other people.
Making amends: The beauty guru apologizes to Charles multiple times throughout the video
No going back: In her May 2019 tirade against Charles, Westbrook accused him of preying on straight men and ‘tricking them into thinking they are gay’
Background: She now claims that all of the information she shared in that video came from ‘lies’ that Star and Dawson told her about Charles
‘Over the course of the next few weeks, he and Jeffree fed me so much information that I felt sick. Almost every day there was more information and new allegations.
‘Eventually I began believing what they were saying because they said they had evidence.’
Westbrook claims that by the time she and Charles fell out over his support of a rival supplement brand, she was ‘beyond gaslit’ – before insisting that Dawson was fully aware of her ‘Bye Sister’ video long before it was posted, and even offered to help her edit it, indicating to her that he was telling the truth.
She also hints that Star and Dawson leaked the news that the video was due to be posted – pointing to the fact that media outlets were reporting rumors about it prior to the video’s release, despite the fact that she was still struggling with the decision to share the clip right up until it was actually posted.
One of the things that pushed her to share it was, she claims, Star sending her ‘an audio file from an alleged victim’ the night before the video eventually went live.
‘He told me to listen to the pain in their voice,’ she recalls. ‘The audio was clearly a small portion of a larger conversation. It wasn’t enough for me to contact the authorities [but] it was enough to scare me.’
Westbrook then goes on to suggest that Dawson and Star took advantage of the fact that she had been abused herself in order to manipulate her into believing their claims – and into staying silent about their role in the alleged plot.
‘As a victim of abuse myself, I know how terrifying it is to think of facing public humiliation and legal proceedings,’ she said. ‘It wasn’t my place to contact authorities or the alleged victim and I made no mention of it in my video.’
Westbrook also claims that she texted Dawson about her concerns over the impact that her video might have on Charles’ mental health, expressing her fear that he might attempt to hurt himself – only to be told by Dawson that ‘James Charles was a narcissist and would never do that’.
In the days after her video was shared, Westbrook says she believed that ‘victims’ of Charles would come forward to support her claims, insisting that both Dawson and Star had told her this would happen.
Soon after, she says her relationship with the duo ‘dissolved entirely’, adding that she was ‘so confused’ and spent the next few months being ‘tormented’ about the scandal online – and worrying about how it would be portrayed in Star and Dawson’s docuseries.
Eventually, Westbrook says she feared she had become ‘a liability’ to the pair because she ‘knew too much’, so she decided to document all of their conversations, putting all text messages, audio files, and related filed onto a hard drive that she then passed onto her lawyers.
‘I told a few people that I was afraid for my life and that I had given everything to my lawyers,’ she shared, insisting that she was hoping this would protect her against any potential backlash from Dawson and Star.
Shockingly, a clearly devastated Westbrook says she was actually ‘afraid for her life’ and that she became too scared to stay in her LA home, so she packed up and left for a long period of time – during which the beauty guru says she became ‘a shell of herself’.
‘I’ve been terrified for a very long time, so much so that I had to relocate again two months ago, and I have taken serious security precautions to ensure my safety,’ she reveals.
Although Westbrook says she cannot yet share the evidence she has accumulate thus far, she warns that she and Charles are planning to pursue legal action against Star and Dawson, as well as others who were involved in the scandal, saying: ‘Make no mistake, this is far from over.’
‘I can tell you this,’ she concludes. ‘It is my opinion that Jeffree and Shane were both bitterly jealous of James Charles’ success… Neither of them were happy with standing in his shadow on YouTube any more.
‘I believe James Charles was gaining more followers, and receiving more views and more press faster than anyone in the history [of] the platform. And it is also my opinion that Jeffree and Shane needed James marginalized and out of the way for the November launch of [their makeup] palette and… merch.’
In a frantic Instagram Live video shared shortly after Westbrook’s video was posted, Dawson hit back at her claims, branding the YouTuber ‘manipulative’ and ‘insane’. At the time of this article’s publication, Star had yet to respond to her video.