YouTuber James Charles has had his fair share of controversial moments throughout the entirety of his career. Now, a 16-year-old TikTok user has come forward to accuse Charles of grooming him and sending inappropriate pictures to him.
The accuser made these claims in a video that has now been deleted. However, it didn’t take long for word to spread and eventually reach Charles, who came forward with his explanation about the story.
Charles said that he did not groom the teenager but was misled into believing that he was actually an 18-year old. The YouTuber claimed that he received “lewd photos” of the person and therefore asked their age, which they claimed was 18 years, after which he started to flirt back with them.
Charles then said that he didn’t ask the teenager for an ID in the “excitement” of meeting someone who he thought would be great. He then revealed that he got the teenager to confess his real age eventually and apologized for flirting.
The YouTuber then said that the teenager wished to “continue talking” and keep everything a secret, something that Charles wasn’t comfortable with. Charles then went on to unfriend the teenager and revealed that they haven’t talked since.
He issued an explanatory statement on his Twitter handle which you can read below:
TW|| GROOMING & PEDOPHILIA
There’s a video going around about me on TikTok and Twitter of a guy calling me a groomer and I want to address it right away. The accusation that I have groomed this person is completely false. Last week, I came across someone on my instagram explore page, saw he followed me, and added him on snapchat. The next morning, I woke up to several snaps from this person being excited I added him back, saying he loved me, and also lewd photos of himself in the shower. I asked how old he was right away and he told me he was 18 so I started flirting back. In the excitement of meeting someone I thought could be potentially great, I didn’t ask for a copy of his ID or passport. It’s now clear, based on the video he uploaded, he was taking photos of me with another device, and had an ulterior motive from the beginning. Later in the day, he said a few things that made me question the validity of his original age answer and when I asked him to confirm his age once again, he admitted he was 16. I told him I was really uncomfortable and apologized for flirting, but he insisted on continuing talking, saying it could be our little secret, he’s a fan of mine and would never tell anyone. I told him I wasn’t okay with this, he started getting upset, and at this point, I unfriended him. We haven’t spoken since. I’m not victim blaming him or victimizing myself either, simply sharing what happened, and what happened was not okay. After false allegations like this in the past, I would never knowingly engage with anyone underage and put my life on the line for a few snapchats. Because of situations like this, instead of taking someone’s word for it, I now will ask to see the ID or passport of every guy I have a conversation with.
Many on the internet are criticizing Charles’s handling of this situation while others are coming out in support of Charles. Either way, an accusation as serious as this could be incredibly threatening to Charles’s public image.