james charles
photo: Getty Images

As popular as YouTuber James Charles is, he's no stranger to getting canceled on the internet. He's been wrapped up in countless controversies online — both large and small — and he's been doing so since his career kickstarted with that infamous Covergirl campaign that singlehandedly changed the way we see beauty boys.

And because that drama is so widespread and so frequent, it's extremely hard to keep up with. That's why we've rounded up and recapped Charles' biggest social media snafus from his entire career, all of which you can read below.

The Sugar Bear Hair Incident

In his most recent offense, Charles posted an Instagram story from Coachella promoting some sleep supplements from Sugar Bear Hair. Shortly after he posted the story (which was labeled #ad), friend and fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook posted her own Instagram story in tears. She lamented about faux friends and being used in the industry, leading fans to immediately speculate she took Charles' vitamin promotion as a direct blow to her own supplement brand, Halo Beauty.

Charles issued an apology, claimed he did not accept any money for the story, and clarified that his promotion of his friend's competitor was "a major oversight."

The Kinsey Scale Incident

In a YouTube video from April 2019, Charles attempted to explain the concept of the Kinsey Scale to his followers, and it ended rather poorly. For context, the Kinsey Scale starts at one and ends at six — those that identify as heterosexual are a one on the scale, those that are homosexual are a six, leaving room for fluid sexuality in the middle.

Charles admitted that he doesn't consider himself "full gay" because "there have been girls in the past who I thought were really, really beautiful. There's also been like trans guys in the past, too, who I was like really, really into for a moment in time."

Members of the queer community immediately pointed out that his comments implied that he doesn't consider transgender men to be men, and that the implied misgendering of said people can be extremely hurtful. He quickly apologized and admitted to offending his fans who are transgender.

"The House" Incident

In his alphabetical makeup routine challenge video, Charles introduced his millions of subscribers to the slang term "the house," commonly used in the LGBTQ community. He credited discovering the phrase to fellow YouTuber Rich Lux, but users on Twitter were very quick to point out its origins in drag — and the fact that he'd used the term incorrectly altogether.

Queer Twitter, frankly, felt robbed of its own terminology, which it feared would lose its meaning once spread through Charles' army of dominantly straight, white, young girl followers.

The Photoshop Incident

In March of 2019, Reddit users in the BeautyGuruChatter thread couldn't help but point out how suspiciously symmetric Charles' makeup looks. A post questioning the genuineness of the photo above sparked a massive conversation about Charles' open and heavy use of the FaceTune photo editing app. 

Many went so far as to say that he fakes his makeup skills entirely with photo editing, and that his heavy editing is negatively affecting his young followers' body image standards. He never responded to these specific claims but has recorded his own editing process in the past.

The IT Incident.

When the reboot of the Stephen King film IT hit theaters in the summer of 2017, it shattered box office records and became an instant fan favorite. At the peak of the film's popularity, Charles tweeted — while watching the movie in the theater — that he didn't like the film after a mere five minutes.

One of the film's stars, Finn Wolfhard, put him on blast for being on his phone in a theater, and a mass Twitter roasting ensued. Later that night, Charles filmed and tweeted a short video response to the drama and spent the following days defending himself from IT fans.

The Ebola Tweet Incident

In early 2017, when he was only 17 years old, Charles jokingly tweeted about his fear of contracting the Ebola virus while traveling in Africa, which we shouldn't have to tell you is extremely offensive to Africans.

After facing swift and severe backlash, Covergirl (which he'd been representing at the time) made a statement to separate itself from the influencer — after that, Charles issues a curt response on Twitter. 

"I am extremely sorry," he wrote. "Regardless of my intentions, words have consequences. I take full responsibility and will learn and do better."

The Palette Swatch Incident

When Charles and Morphe released their collaborative palette in the fall of 2018, he did what any other YouTuber would do and uploaded a swatch video to his channel in attempts to show followers how each of the palette's shades performed. 

Users in his comments claimed the swatches were too smooth to be real and suggested that Charles used video editing magic to make his palette look better than it actually was. He hotly contested these claims over social media and provided unedited swatch footage, which left fans satisfied for the most part.

The Sex Tape Incident

In February of 2019, rumors began swirling on social media that a sex tape starring Charles and an unidentified man had surfaced. Charles laughed off the claims and clarified on Twitter that the video in question was definitely not his. However, the scenario started a major conversation about many of Charle's hyper-sexual tweets and photos, which he spent the following days defending.

"if my sex tape ever DID leak you all would know because i'd be posting it everywhere fully monetized with 34 mid-roll ads," he joked after the fact.

The Ariana Grande Incident

During a video collaboration with YouTuber Shane Dawson in the spring of 2018, Dawson asked Charles about "the rudest celebrity you've ever met." Charles regaled a tale about Ariana Grande, whom he says followed and DM'd him on social media shortly after his Ebola Twitter scandal.

Grande's fans were so mad that she'd been in contact with him that she felt it was best to quickly unfollow him. In a heated DM exchanged, Charles questioned how much their Twitter friendship would really affect her fan base, and the two haven't been spotted talking since.