Tati Westbrook explains what happened with James Charles in new video: 'There is no celebration'

LOS ANGELES -- Tati Westbrook, the YouTube beauty guru who ignited a firestorm last week publicly airing her grievances against fellow influencer James Charles, said Thursday afternoon that her video was a "last-ditch effort for me to be very loud and vocal and to wake up someone that I really love."

Taking to YouTube for the first time since the scandal erupted last Friday, a somber Westbrook explained her choice to speak out about Charles, her former mentee: "It's about someone who reaches across all platforms -- 30 million people, who are predominantly children -- who is losing the ability to get honest more and more each day."

"I hope that this inspires conversation for more parents to talk to their kids because we are losing that. We're out of touch with what they're watching and what they are emulating," she said.

In a 43-minute video posted last week, Westbrook listed out ways she felt she had been wronged by Charles, accusing him of being disloyal and alleging that he behaved dishonorably in romantic relationships, among other things.

Westbrook's allegations rocked the YouTube beauty community and put a serious dent in Charles' subscriber base. The 19-year-old lost 3 million of his 16.5 million subscribers in a matter of days, while Westbrook gained more than 4 million in the same time period.

The root of the problem, Westbrook said, was "respect, honesty and behaving in a way that I do not agree with."

While many were quick to declare Charles' career to be "canceled," Westbrook disagreed. She said he "needs better people around him" but said he deserves the chance to "figure things out" and believes he is capable of weathering the storm and making a comeback.

Addressing the millions of subscribers she's gained over the last week, Westbrook said: "This whole thing is not about me. It's something else. It's something bigger. I don't need #TeamTati. I don't need any of that."

She continued: "There is no celebration in what's happening. If I could give all of the success back and the new subscribers back, I would. That's not why I did this."

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A top YouTube beauty influencer is hemorrhaging subscribers, losing more than a million over the course of a day amid a public falling out with another well-known influencer.

Westbrook explained she was trying to coordinate an in-person meeting with Charles at a YouTube office this week to "try and talk through things."

"I wanted the opportunity to face-to-face tell him that I don't hate him. I love him," she said through tears. It's not clear if the meeting actually happened.

Westbrook implored her followers to "find a way through this with love and compassion...for all sides."

"I do really want the hate to stop. I want the picking sides and the abusive memes and the language and all of that -- I really hope on both sides it can stop. That's not why I made the video."

She continued: "All of this has been way, way bigger than anybody imagined," she said. "Never in a million years would I think the situation would reach what it did."

Westbrook said she planned to take a break from social media -- which she said was "a really dark place for me right now" -- and work to "move into a happier time."

Charles has not spoken publicly since uploading an apology video last Friday.

"I'm so disappointed in myself that I ruined our relationship that did mean so much to me, even if I didn't do the best job of showing it all the time," Charles said at the time. "I'm going to keep trying my best and keep learning and growing and be the best version of me that I possibly can be. I'm sorry."

While Charles and Westbrook might not be widely known outside the YouTube beauty community, they are behemoths on the platform, each boasting more than 1 billion total video views. Social media analytics service SocialBlade estimates that they respectively earn up to $4 million and $1.4 million in YouTube ad revenue alone each year. That figure does take into account income from merchandising deals and other business ventures.

Charles was the first male spokesperson for CoverGirl, while Westbrook, who joined YouTube in 2010, is widely regarded as one of the platform's pioneering beauty personalities.
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