Influencer James Charles denies grooming claim

By Georgia Stroud

Beauty influencer James Charles has had to address a serious allegation regarding grooming a 16-year-old over Snapchat.

The beauty guru issued a statement on Twitter not long after an underage individual attempted to expose James Charles as a groomer. Charles wrote: “There’s a video going around about me on TikTok and Twitter of a guy calling me a groomer and I want to address it right away.”

A series of videos were posted on TikTok and Twitter by a user accusing James Charles of grooming them.

In the videos titled My situation with James Charles, the accuser mentions that James is his biggest influence and that he has “always looked up to him”. The videos include the supposed evidence that James Charles and the teenager had been in contact on social media platform Snapchat since last Wednesday 17th February.

In response, the YouTuber said: “The accusation that I have groomed this person is completely false.” He later added: “I asked how old he was right away and he told me he was 18 so I started flirting back.” Charles was unaware that the child was lying about their age and said he didn’t ask for a copy of his ID or passport to double check.

“He said a few things that made me question the validity of his original age answer and when I asked him to confirm his age once again, he admitted he was 16. I told him I was really uncomfortable and apologized for flirting.” The makeup artist went on to mention that when he declined offers to continue talking in secret, the 16-year-old became upset, resulting in Charles ending contact with him.

Further clarifying that he would not have engaged in flirting with a minor had he been aware of their age, Charles added: “After false allegations in the past, I would never knowingly engage with anyone underage and put my life on the line for a few snapchats.”

This major scandal comes not long after Charles’ most recent ordeal, regarding the birthday party of TikTok star Larray in July 2020, which broke COVID-19 restrictions and left fans upset, despite the beauty guru’s apologies. With the latest, incredibly serious situation, it is unsurprising that many former fans have come forward to share their thoughts. Fans and former supporters of Charles have taken to Twitter and TikTok to discuss the latest situation, with the original accusatory tweet amassing over 34,000 likes and nearly 9,000 retweets so far.

One Twitter user tweeted: “James Charles is a privileged white person, he doesn’t social distance, goes to parties in peak pandemic and now his is apparently a groomer? Why does he still have his platform?”

Many of Charles’ fans, however, have come out in support for the 21-year-old, with many mentioning the concerning frequency of his scandals. One fan tweeted: “[You] really need to start suing these people, sorry this happened to [you] once again James.” Another commented: “I appreciate you addressing it and I know this must be so difficult considering the past. I knew that after everything, you’d be so cautious of who you’re talking to considering they may have ulterior motives and I’m so sorry this happens to you. It shouldn’t be this way.”

Charles wrote that he blames neither the 16-year-old nor himself; he stressed that he simply wanted to portray his side of the story, and reinforced that the situation was unacceptable. The aim of his statement was to address and shut down the individual’s allegations, and to clear his name of such a serious situation. Fans are currently awaiting further information and news about the scandal and allegations as it is still being digested by many.