Beauty YouTuber Tati Westbrook has opened up about her experiences with YouTube stars Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star in a 40-minute video uploaded June 30, saying the two “used, coerced, and manipulated” her into uploading her “Bye, Sister” video last year, in which she cut ties with James Charles. In that May 2019 video, she alleged that Charles disrespected her after she had mentored him in his own beauty vlogging career, and that he “tricked” straight men into thinking they were gay. Charles lost over 3 million subscribers in the fallout. Now, she says she made the video after being “gaslit” by Star and Dawson. (Dawson has been under fire recently for a history of racist and predatory behavior on YouTube.) Westbrook says she apologized privately to Charles months ago, but also made a public apology in the video. “He deserves my first apology,” she says.
Westbrook claims she “started growing frustrated with what I perceived as a progressing sense of entitlement” with Charles, but “none of my concerns became overwhelming until after I met Shane Dawson.” As Westbrook got to know Star, “he would frequently comment about how much dirt he held on other brand owners and members of our YouTube community,” she says. “I believed that he actually held blackmail material on many people and was capable of destroying the entire community.” By 2019, she says Star began focusing on Charles, telling Westbrook that Charles was “out of control.” Later, when she met Dawson, she “hoped that he would help me tell my personal story one day,” in his YouTube “documentary” series. She told him she was a sexual assault victim, and “he pledged his unending friendship and loyalty to me in this life and in the next one.” As Dawson told her, Charles was “a monster with many victims,” whom Dawson said he planned to interview.
Westbrook posted her “Bye, Sister” video after Charles accepted a sponsorship with SugarBearHair, a vitamin-supplement competitor to her own Halo Beauty brand. (She also claims in this video that YouTube asked her to take it down, since “it was a bad look for the platform.”) She says that Star sent her what he claimed was audio of one of Charles’s “victims” the night before she filmed, and that Dawson offered to help her edit the video. The last time she spoke to Dawson or Star on the phone, she says, was the night before Star posted his “Never Doing This Again” video responding to her “Bye, Sister” video. “Shortly after, the relationship dissolved entirely, and I was so confused,” Westbrook says. “I bought into the conspiracy theory that what happened was all a social experiment … and that I would be the fool who fell for it.” Afterward, she put off fertility treatment due to stress and worried about retaliation, leaving Los Angeles for a period during the fall of 2019. “Slowly, I became a shell of my former self,” she says.
Westbrook says, “It is now my opinion that Jeffree and Shane were both bitterly jealous of James Charles’s success … It’s also my opinion that Jeffree and Shane needed James marginalized and out of the way for their November launch of the Conspiracy Palette, along with Shane’s merch.” Star, she claims, is “allegedly a co-owner of Morphe,” a company about to launch its own vitamin-supplement brand that recently removed Dawson’s products for his history of racism. “This entire situation opens up a Pandora’s box of speculation, but I’m just not sure anyone counted on this drama spreading like wildfire,” Westbrook says.
Westbrook says she believes “James Charles was not [Dawson and Star’s] only intended target … I believe there are many people who have unclean hands in all of this.” She also worries about Star’s response to her coming forward. “I don’t think he will hold back, and I think we need to be prepared to understand that we need to forgive the people that he is holding hostage with veiled threats of exposure,” she says. “So prepare to not cancel everyone and give them a chance.” Concluding her video, Westbrook calls Star and Dawson’s actions “cowardly and defamatory.” “I am still well within the statute of limitations for bringing a civil action to seek recovery for my damages,” she says. “Should I proceed with this course of actions, my attorneys will be deposing all witnesses who have information about the truth of what happened here. So for everyone else whose hands are dirty, who have not yet come forward, be careful of your allegiance. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of the truth.”
Dawson responded to Westbrook’s video on Instagram Live on June 30. “You’re so manipulative. You are fake crying,” he said, rolling his eyes after Westbrook mentioned her experience with sexual assault. “She is a fucking — I can’t, I can’t, I don’t want to say mean things about people,” Dawson said earlier in his livestream. He also tweeted, “THIS IS A FUCKING LIE AND IM LOSING MY MIND!!!!!!!!!!” after Westbrook posted the video, but deleted the tweet shortly after. Dawson’s fiancé, Ryland Adams, tweeted, “Tati Westbrook - a master class in manipulation. The only [way] to save her reputation was to side with the person she tried to ruin. Make no mistake. This 40 year old woman choose to post a video on her own accord.” He added, “Shane very well WOULD have posted a video exposing James had he felt so inclined,” referring to the “Bye, Sister” video. Charles has yet to respond publicly, only tweeting “love u guys” hours before the video dropped.