Following multiple accusations over the course of several months, YouTuber James Charles admitted to sending sexually explicit messages to two 16-year-old boys. In a video posted to his channel on Thursday night, Charles, who is 21, said, ‘I fully understand my actions and how they are wrong.’
Charles had denied previous accusations, including one in February where he was accused of grooming a teenage boy. Now, he’s admitting wrongdoing with two incidents over the past year where he says he came to be aware that the people he was exchanging messages with were underage.
In his 14-minute-long apology video, Charles said. ‘These conversations should have never happened’ and that he had been ‘reckless’ with such manipulative relationships with underage boys because he is ‘desperate.’
Charles also puts the blame on the accusers, claiming that they had initially said they were 18, and that James ‘trusted the information that was given to me rather than the information I could have and should have gotten myself.’ He then says that the ‘receipts and screenshots and specific details of the interaction really don’t matter because I f**ked up.’
All in all, it’s a pretty standard YouTube celebrity apology, meaning that it’s not really an apology at all. It is, inadvertently, a confessional of sorts since he does admit wrongdoing, but he still spends a lot of time trying to pin the blame elsewhere. Remember, what Charles is being accused of, and has been accused of for a while now, is a pattern of behavior involving underage guys, many of whom are his fans and clearly not equal in terms of power dynamics.
Also, you can’t do a ‘my bad’ with something illegal, James. That’s not how this works.
A lot of Charles’s fans — who, remember, are very young — are accepting his apology, but it’s not their place to do so. Frankly, whether or not such an ‘apology’ can be accepted is beside the point when we’re discussing the targeting and sexual manipulation of underage boys. Really, this is the point where YouTube needs to step in and do something. YouTube claims it has strict policies on sexual harassment and abuse, and they did recently demonetize the channel of David Dobrik after one of his crew was accused of rape. This suspension is temporary, however, so Dobrik’s ability to make millions on the platform could be reinstated at any moment. YouTube should take some responsibility here, and Charles should probably lawyer up.
Header Image Source: YouTube