James Charles, 18, is a New York-based makeup artist who broke ground by becoming CoverGirl’s first ‘CoverBoy’ in November after his senior class photo, which he posted on Instagram, went viral. Since starring in the makeup brand’s So Lashy campaign along with Katy Perry and Sofia Vergara, he’s shot to fame, and as such, his 2.5 million Instagram followers scrutinize his every move.
So when Charles posted his latest makeup tutorial — a glam take on Pennywise, the clown — with a controversial disclaimer, fans didn’t take it well.
“I know everybody is going to say this is the most hypocritical, ironic video of 2017 so far and you’re probably right,” Charles said in the October 2nd YouTube demo with more than half a million views. “It would be way too good of an opportunity to pass up. Even though I personally did not enjoy the movie, Pennywise was the best. I feel like literally everyone right now with a blending brush and some form of red lipstick is creating their own Pennywise look, which is literally so, so cool to see everybody’s own interpretations, and of course, I had to do it.”
Accusations came fast and hard. “When you drag the movie but then use it for views because you’re falling off,” One YouTube fan wrote, while another stated, “And why even make this video? for views, for money? you said you hated the movie, why make a tutorial on something you don’t support? Oh, because you don’t care about your fans, you care about money. Gbye.”
The backlash caused James to pen a defense Sunday night writing on YouTube, “I stand behind what I said about this movie, which is that I hated it. You don’t have to like a movie to do a tutorial on a look from it, & being that it’s the most popular movie right now, it would be dumb of me to not do a tutorial. Get over it,” with a red balloon emoticon.
YOU’LL FLOAT TOO tutorial is now live on my channel! link in bio hehe ____ #morphebrushes 35O2 palette (launching 10/12) #makeupforever HD foundation #katvondbeauty white out concealer #sugarpill tako single shadow #ofracosmetics Honolulu liquid lipstick
A post shared by James Charles (@jamescharles) on Oct 8, 2017 at 12:07pm PDT
A photo of the completed Pennywise look fared no better on Instagram, where people wrote, “How you gonna bash a movie n then do a tutorial on a character” and “Didn’t you tweet about how much you hated the movie??? Hypocrite.”
However, James had plenty of support from fans who drew a line between art and personal taste. And many tweeted their own Pennywise interpretations inspired by Charles, in support of the teen.
— spooky sierra (@sierrastrat) October 8, 2017
— Wendy Fain (@wendy_fain) October 9, 2017
— Blisstina (@chrstngante) October 7, 2017
Charles had warned fans ahead of time that his latest look may cause drama, tweeting the below meme, suggesting he would profit from the backlash.
me sleeping next week when my IT tutorial goes live & half of the views are from angry stans calling me a hypocrite bc I said I hated it pic.twitter.com/bpqfCBvZ7N
— James Charles (@jamescharles) October 7, 2017
Charles didn’t return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. But it’s safe to say when art stirs strong emotion, it’s a success.
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