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James Charles admits to messaging 16-year-old boys in confessional YouTube video – ‘I f**ked up’

Maggie Baska April 2, 2021
James Charles

James Charles' apology video has already been viewed over 2m times (YouTube)

Beauty YouTuber James Charles has issued an apology video admitting to contacting 16-year-old boys, after new allegations that he inappropriately messaged a young fan surfaced.

In the apology video posted to his YouTube channel on Thursday (2 April), titled “holding myself accountable”, the 21-year-old influencer said: “I fully understand my actions and how they are wrong.”

James Charles admitted to two incidents where he became aware that the person he was exchanging messages with was 16-years-old. One occurred last year and one more recently.

He began the video by saying: “Today’s video is going to be from the heart, and I’m going to focus on what happened, the conclusions that I’ve come to and most importantly holding myself accountable for my own actions.

“I owe a massive apology to anybody that I’ve hurt or anybody that I’ve made uncomfortable with my actions. And I also want to say I’m sorry to my friends, family and fans that have to watch another one of these videos because you shouldn’t have to and this is really, really embarrassing.”

“These conversations should have never happened,” he added, admitting that he could have searched for the people he was talking to on other social media platforms and found their real ages.

Allegations against the YouTuber first surfaced in February when Charles was accused of “grooming” a 16-year-old fan.

Vulture reported that a young man made a TikTok video in which he claimed Charles sent him unsolicited nudes on Snapchat and pressured him into sexting, even though he told the YouTuber that he was 16.

Charles took to Twitter to address the allegations at the time. In a statement posted on social media, he said the accusation that he “groomed this person” is “completely false”. He claimed that the individual said at first he was 18 and that he cut off all contact after he “admitted he was 16”.

“After false allegations like this in the past, I would never knowingly engage with someone underage and put my life on the line for a few Snapchats,” Charles said at the time. But fresh claims of similar incidents had surfaced in recent days.

In his “holding myself accountable” video, the influencer addressed why he had been so “reckless” in past relationships and said he was “desperate”.

James Charles said: “I do understand with these videos coming to it’s really starting to – not even starting to – it’s really looking, period, like I’m actively searching for younger people to be in a relationship with.

“I just want to say firsthand that is absolutely not the case.”

He admitted that the “idea of actually being in a relationship” became “so important” that he was “willing to trust too quickly, miss out on red flags and most importantly take the precautionary measures that really anybody, but especially somebody with a public platform, should be taking before talking to anybody”.

In the video, James Charles said he realised a “power imbalance” can happen “even when it’s not intentional”. He said he did not previously understand that the “excitement that comes with talking to a celebrity” is “enough to make somebody do or say something that they normally wouldn’t”.

“Even though I’m able to turn off my social media and just talk to somebody outside of the spotlight about something normal, in normal clothes and no makeup as James Dickinson,” Charles explained. “That doesn’t change the fact that to them, I’m still James Charles, and that’s something that I can’t turn off.”

He promised he is “going to change”, saying he is now “fully educated” and understands “what went on”. Charles said: “I’m making a promise to all of you right now on camera that I will be way more careful moving forward with every single person that I speak to.”

He added that he is going to take some time off to “reflect and further educate myself on these topics”.

The apology came days after YouTube revealed that James Charles will not return as the host for the original beauty series Instant Influencer.

On Friday (26 March), a spokesperson for YouTube confirmed to Variety that Charles will not be returning to the show, but they declined to provide a reason. The spokesperson said: “We can confirm season two of the YouTube original series Instant Influencer will take a new creative direction, including a new host.

“We thank James for a great first season and look forward to building on the show’s success by expanding the opportunity to showcase a diversity of creators across the YouTube platform in our upcoming season.”

The makeup reality-competition show was originally titled Instant Influencer with James Charles and debuted in early 2020.

Hosted by Charles, it featured six emerging beauty YouTubers as they competed to become the next big social media influence and win a $50,000 prize. The artists participated in challenges with the input from James Charles and guest judges including Paris Hilton and Trixie Mattel.

The series garnered over 53 million views in its first month, and it was announced in mid last year that the show would be renewed for a second season.

James Charles has been contacted for comment by PinkNews.

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