YouTube star James Charles has admitted to sending sexually explicit messages to two underage boys, days after he was removed as the host of YouTube's reality competition series, "Instant Influencer."
Earlier this year, reports surfaced that the makeup influencer has sent inappropriate messages to at least two minor boys (the legal age of consent in the US is 18), which is just one of the controversies the YouTuber has created in the past five years. While apologising for his mistake in a video posted to his YouTube channel on Thursday, the 21-year-old insisted that he wasn't aware that the boys were minors.
"These conversations should have never happened, point blank, period. There's no excuse for it. I trusted the information that was given to me rather than the information I could have and should have gotten myself," the influencer said in the 14-minute video titled "holding myself accountable," noting that he "fu**ed up."
The makeup artist, who has over 25 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, said in his defense: "What I wasn't getting before is that the excitement that comes from talking to a celebrity is literally enough to make somebody do or say something they normally wouldn't, even if that celebrity isn't intentionally weaponizing their fame, money, or power. That's the concept I just wasn't getting, but I now do."
"It's gross, it's weird, and it's desperation," he said.
Charles dubbed the situation "embarrassing" and said that his fame has affected him in ways he didn't understand. "I'm making a promise to all of you right now, on camera, that I will be way more careful moving forward with every single person that I speak to. My [TikTok] 'for you page' and 'explore' page are not dating apps and I will stop treating them as if they are," he said.
The influencer had previously denied the same allegations, but has now apologised to his fans for not taking their criticisms "seriously," and says he would be taking some time away from posting to "reflect and further educate myself on these topics."