Content note: This story contains discussion and imagery of domestic violence and police brutality.

TikTok challenges run the gamut from innocent — like these dance moves — to completely gross, like airplane toilet seat licking (PLEASE, DO NOT DO THIS). But the newest TikTok mugshot makeup challenge is, clearly, questionable, and beauty mega-influencer James Charles took it to a level that many fans find straight-up objectionable.

Here's Charles' entry to the mugshot challenge.

Charles posted the above image on his Twitter and Instagram accounts. As you can see, Charles appears to have a bloody nose, one bruised eye and one black eye, and bruising around his lower jawline, suggesting strangulation. He captioned the image simply "mugshot."

The implications are pretty immediate.

Obviously, this is an upsetting image. There's no denying that it's meant to be disturbing and evoke uncomfortable feelings. And fans were uncomfortable, commenting that he appeared to be glamorizing domestic violence and police brutality.

Survivors spoke up.

On Twitter, domestic abuse survivors spoke up about Charles' images. One user wrote that "I lived through domestic violence in my household for years. I really can’t wrap my head around shit like James Charles & everyone else thinking it’s cute to take pictures like that." 

Another user correctly pointed out that stay at home orders are contributing to a global increase in domestic violence, writing, "When domestic violence is on rise since the lockdown, this picture is all to [sic] real for some people."

Others thought the image glamorized police brutality.

In the tweet above, the user notes that people who've sustained visible injuries in mugshots may have been victims of police brutality — particularly in communities of color. "SO MANY minorities get abused in police custody or in jail by inmates and y’all think this shit is cute?? Yeah no," wrote another Twitter user.

In a deleted tweet, Charles defended himself.

In a now-deleted tweet, Charles sought to defend himself by comparing his photo with new music videos by The Weeknd. In the videos, The Weeknd has a bloody nose.

Some fans correctly pointed out that Charles' images lack any context, where The Weeknd's videos etch out a narrative. It's that lack of context that make his pictures so jarring. The Weeknd also donated $250,000 to Black Lives Matter and has been outspoken on the subject of police brutality.

He then deleted the photo from Twitter.

Charles later deleted the photo from Twitter, writing that "never my intention to trigger anyone." He also wrote a non-apology apology: "It's a waste of time trying to have an open discussion with people who hate me regardless." As of press time, the image is still up on Instagram.

It's a classic case of doing something because you can, not because you should. Insensitivity and poor taste are real things, and here, Charles really crossed that line.


If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or click here to chat with a live advocate.