James Charles, a beauty YouTuber with 25 million subscribers, released a statement denying that he “groomed” a TikTok user who said he is 16.
The alleged victim, who goes by the name Redzai on TikTok, shared his story in a video that allegedly contained a censored version of nude photos Charles purportedly sent him. He also included messages in which Charles allegedly asked for photos in return, according to Insider.
The video was eventually removed from Twitter for violating the social media site’s guideline that bans posts involving the non-consensual nudity of other people.
In a statement on Feb. 26, Charles confirmed that he found the TikTok user on Instagram and then added him on Snapchat, but claimed the alleged victim sent him “lewd photos of himself in the shower” and claimed to be 18, at which point he “started flirting back.”
“What happened was not okay,” he said.
Charles said in his statement that the alleged victim “had an ulterior motive form the beginning,” and said that he unfriended Redzai when he learned he was only 16.
“Because of situations like this, instead of taking someone’s word for it, I will now ask to see the ID or passport of every guy I have a conversation with,” Charles said.
Redzai told Insider that Charles lied in his statement.
“I never told him I was 18, in my TikTok bio it says I’m 16,” he said. “I didn’t record me saying it just like how he doesn’t have proof of me supposedly saying I’m 18.”
Redzai, who goes by Isaiyah on Twitter, shared what he claimed to be proof that his TikTok bio said he was 16 at the time Charles contacted him.
Redzai said TikTok removed the videos about Charles from his account, but a representative for TikTok didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for confirmation.
In his original video, Redzai said he added Charles on Snapchat and sent him a message saying he was a big fan. He said he was excited Charles saw his messages because he “always looked up to him.”
In a follow-up, he shared more censored versions of the alleged “explicit” photos he claimed Charles sent him.
“I was getting really uncomfortable so I told him my age, I told him I’m 16,” Redzai claimed. He went on to say that Charles then repeatedly asked for nude photos and to FaceTime him.
He also responded to Charles’ statement on Twitter claiming he had been the one to block the influencer.
In May 2019, Charles’ former mentor Tati Westbrook expressed her concern that he was acting inappropriately with young men.
A year later, she said she had been “manipulated” into uploading the video in the first place, saying that though she had concerns about Charles, fellow YouTubers Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star made “horrific accusations” behind the scenes.
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If you found this story interesting, read more about how Charles’ former collaborator Ondreaz Lopez was accused of predatory behavior.
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