Beauty guru and vlogger James Charles has been temporarily blocked by YouTube from making money via his channel on the platform.
The move from YouTube comes after allegations of grooming and flirting with underage boys have been made against Charles.
Why has James Charles’ YouTube account been demonetised?
In February 2021, Charles was accused of grooming a 16 years old who took to TikTok to share screenshots of flirty conversations and photos he had sent to Charles.
At the time, Charles responded on Twitter, stating that the teenager had claimed he was 18 and after the two had talked for a bit, Charles second guessed his age, which was when it was revealed that he was only 16.
The YouTuber said that, moving forward, he will “ask to see the passport and ID” of every guy he wants to talk to, in order to verify their age.
At the beginning of April, Charles uploaded a YouTube video titled “Holding myself accountable” in which he confirms that he “flirted” with two 16 year old boys.
He states that he believed the two were 18 - the age of consent in California where he lives - when they began talking on Snapchat.
“In both of these cases, I added these people on Snapchat, asked how old they were right away, was told that they were 18, believed them, engaged in a flirty conversation and then later on found out they were actually 16,” Charles said.
He added that, upon finding out their ages, he “was immediately embarrassed and blocked both people”.
In the video, Charles said: “As an adult, it is my job and my responsibility to verify who I’m talking to and therefore there is nobody to blame for this other than myself.
“I’m sorry I added you. I’m sorry that I flirted with you and I’m really sorry if I made you uncomfortable.
“It is completely unacceptable.”
What has YouTube said?
A YouTube spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we had applied our creator responsibility policy and temporarily removed James Charles from the YouTube Partner Programme.”
The programme is what allowed YouTubers to make money from their channels. Charles’ channel is one of the most popular on the platform, with 25.5 million subscribers.
The YouTube creator responsibility policy states: “If we see that a creator’s on and/or off-platform behaviour harms our users, community, employees or ecosystem, we may take action to protect the community.”
It also states that “severe violations that cause widespread harm to the community may have repercussions beyond standard enforcement actions” which includes removing a channel's ability to monetise its content.
YouTube did not say how long Charles’ channel would remain demonetised for.
The YouTube creator responsibility policy has been implemented against other popular YouTubers, including Shane Dawson in 2020 and more recently against David Dobrik in 2021.
Has James Charles said anything?
Charles has not yet acknowledged the news of his channel being demonitised, but previously released a statement regarding the accusations he is facing.
On Friday (17 April), Charles Tweeted: “Accountability is something I have spoken about a number of times in the past. In my most recent video, I spoke about and took accountability for my part in conversations I had with a few individuals who told me they were over the age of 18.
“As I said in that video, I can’t show change overnight but will over time. Since posting that video, many other people have come forward with a series of misleading stories and false allegations which have been reported on by many people, creators, and news outlets.
“My legal team has begun taking action against those that have spread misinformation and/or created completely fake stories, as this has gone too far.
“These stories have caused my long term partners to receive considerable negative feedback, one of them being Morphe. I’ve loved every moment working together, and am beyond grateful for what we’ve created together.
“That being said, I reached out to them and we mutually agreed to wind down our James Charles x Morphe collaboration, which is my only project with them.
“I am continuing to take time away to learn, grow, and listen, and look forward to coming back one day in the future as a better version of myself.”
What’s going on with James Charles’ partnerships?
On 17 April, cosmetics company Morphe announced the end of its partnership with Charles.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the company said: “In light of the recent allegations against James Charles, Morphe and James have agreed to end our business relationship and wind down sales of the Morphe x James Charles product offering.
“It is and has always been Morphe’s goal to create a positive, safe, and empowering space where all beauty lovers can freely share their artistry and passion for cosmetics, and Morphe is committed to furthering that goal.”
It was also previously revealed that Charles was removed from the YouTube original show Instant Influencer, with a YouTube rep stating: “We can confirm Season 2 of the YouTube originals series ‘Instant Influencer’ will take a new creative direction, including a new host.
“We thank James for a great first season, and look forward to building on the show’s success by expanding the opportunity to showcase a diversity of creators across the YouTube platform in our upcoming season.”