James Charles Addresses His 2019 Struggles, Says He's Mentally Still Recovering From Tati Westbrook Drama

The beauty expert also touches on the cancel culture and putting the past behind him.

It's been quite a year for James Charles.

The 20-year-old beauty expert and YouTube sensation was on top of the world at the beginning of the year, only to hit a low after Tati Westbrook publicly cut ties with him and made heavy claims against him.

"I'm not mentally in a place where I want to be," Charles tells PAPER Magazine in a new interview released on Wednesday. "What's even harder to swallow is that it's been six months since all the drama happened. I thought by this time I'd be completely good -- back to normal, if you will -- and that's not the case."

In May, Charles and Westbrook became embroiled in a war of words over the web after Westbrook accused him of going behind her back, taking her ideas and inappropriate behavior. Westbrook also claimed that Charles was spreading false lies about her and would seduce straight men.

"What that statement implies is that gay men are all predatory, which is disgusting, not true and very dangerous to put out there," Charles says of the accusations. "The whole situation was scary for the LGBTQ+ community and paints a really bad picture of gay men."

Charles, on his end, posted his own video with an apology and refuting her claims. The two kept going back-and-forth with their feud until they agreed to disagree and took mini breaks from social media. However, at the time, Charles lost over 2 million subscribers, cosmetic deals and friends.

"We're quickly getting to a point where cyberbullying, hating and cancel culture is getting stronger," Charles says. "I can say firsthand, they got to me. I was so grateful to be surrounded by close friends and family that were checking on me all day long, every single day, in the middle of the night, every 10 minutes to make sure I didn't do something that I could never take back."

While he's regained his followers and life is somewhat back to normal for Charles, it will never be the same. One thing he does now know is the effect that the "cancel culture" has on other people.

"I could've easily continued to fuel the fire and thrown back a million other accusations," he explains. "We chose to keep it to the facts and really work on addressing the issues at hand with my fanbase that I knew I needed to clear up, rather than just creating more fight. Everybody was just gonna go down. The online community, especially in the beauty space, is already suffering a lot in terms of drama. The last thing I wanted to do was add to that."

ET recently caught up with Westbrook, where she opened up about putting the past behind her, as well as scaling back her YouTube since the feud. 

"I'm not going to be someone that just stops YouTube. Like, this is where it started and I literally get really messed up and emotional and the tears find their way if I think about that last video," she tells ET, before bursting into tears. "Oh my gosh, I'll cry right now... why am I crying?"

As for all of the drama -- rumored and factual -- going on with YouTubers and their competing makeup lines, Westbrook wants to get back to focusing on what's important. 

"Let's just get back to what this is about. We all love makeup, let's focus on that, because this just kind of blew up into this crazy like, 'I'm better!' 'No, I'm better!' 'No, look at me, no, look at my numbers!'" She says. "'It's like, 'Ehh, it's not what it's about,' so I feel like people are just tuning in more with what it really should be and it feels really good."

See more of what she told ET in the video below.



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