Tati Westbrook releases new video claiming that Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star 'manipulated' her into starting the 2019 beauty-guru war

ktenbarge@businessinsider.com (Kat Tenbarge)
Tati Westbrook accused Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson of feeding her lies to try to destroy James Charles' career.
Tati Westbrook accused Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson of feeding her lies to try to destroy James Charles' career.

Screenshot YouTube/Tati

  • Tati Westbrook said in a new video on Tuesday that Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star "manipulated" her into making the "Bye Sister" exposé video about James Charles in May 2019 that started an explosive war in the beauty community.

  • Westbrook's "Bye Sister" video sparked what many on the internet have called "Dramageddon 2.0," which revolved around unsubstantiated allegations that Charles was a predator.

  • Star notably inserted himself into the controversy to make allegations that he never provided evidence for.

  • Charles lost millions of subscribers at the time but has since regained them. Westbrook said that they had forgiven each other and that making "Bye Sister" was one of the biggest regrets of her life.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tati Westbrook released an explosive video on Tuesday apologizing for her role in her feud with James Charles, saying that Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson "used, coerced, and manipulated" her into making the "Bye Sister" video in May 2019 that sparked the events known as "Dramageddon 2.0."

During that explosive feud, Star accused Charles of being a predator and a "danger to society," claims that Charles denied in his "No More Lies" response video. Star resurfaced the claims in a podcast in April.

Westbrook said that in December, after the release of Dawson and Star's YouTube series about the making of the Shane x Jeffree Conspiracy Collection, she met with Charles to share direct messages, texts, and other "receipts," or evidence, of what really went down "behind the scenes." She said that she loved Charles and that this never changed.

"Since that night, James Charles has repeatedly said that he wanted to be beside me for this video. But I felt it was important that I do it alone, because he deserves my first apology," Westbrook said. "And I am really sorry, James. And I've said that privately, but I want you to hear it publicly."

Westbrook opened her video by saying she had missed her audience and had prayed a lot while building her case for the video. She said that she didn't wish harm against anyone and that it was very easy to go online and "make terrible choices" based on what people "see in the media" and on the desire to "follow the herd."

She said she "lost over a year" of her life worrying about how people perceived her and about her reputation on social media following the "Bye Sister" video, which she said Dawson and Star pushed her into uploading. She added that she had concerns about Charles acting inappropriately but those were elevated after she talked to Dawson.

"I did not lie in that video. I never called James Charles a predator, and I never said that James Charles was a danger to society," Westbrook said. "My video was not made with any malice. I did not publicly air any of the horrific accusations that were being made behind the scenes."

Westbrook says Dawson and Star manipulated her, and Dawson has already denied her version of events

Westbrook said that while she could "usually spot deceit and manipulation a mile away," her "guard was down" because she was upset that Charles had done a sponsorship with SugarBearHair, a competitor of Westbrook's Halo Beauty brand. Westbrook said she allowed Dawson, Star, and "others" to manipulate her after that.

She also said that she was never served a lawsuit or any cease-and-desist letters but that she made the video private at YouTube's request. Westbrook said that she was "gaslit into making that video" and that it was "one of the biggest regrets of my life."

Westbrook also said that Dawson and Star had shared what she was led to believe were accusations that would ruin Charles' life. She said she thought she could be a good example for Star as he grew from past mistakes, including racist statements and behavior, that Star has since apologized for.

Westbrook also apologized to Jackie Aina, a beauty YouTuber who publicly severed ties with Star over his racist past.

"I got it twisted that you had provoked Jeffree because you were angry that I had filmed with someone who had a history of being labeled by others as a racist," Westbrook said. "Jackie, I'm sorry that I did not do the right thing and walk away from him then."

Westbrook said the original "Dramageddon" should have made her walk away from Star. She also said she thought Star had "blackmail" that he would release, and she asked that her audience not "cancel" the people involved.

"My opinion? He's going to go off, guys," Westbrook said. "And I don't think anyone — 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. We need to be prepared to forgive them. Otherwise, this won't stop."

Westbrook said that in 2019, Star "started talking a lot more crap about James Charles than usual," adding that "doing so had become his biggest obsession." She said Star told her before their collaboration on Charles' channel in January 2019 that Charles "actually didn't want" her there and had wanted NikkieTutorials instead. Westbrook said that "things further escalated" at her birthday that year in February and that every time Charles' back was turned, Star would tell her that Charles "was out of control."

She said Dawson reached out to her over text and Instagram DM to ask her to be a part of his and Star's documentary series, complimenting her and asking her to "teach him all about makeup." Westbrook said that she had hoped Dawson might help her make a documentary about her own journey to YouTube and that she ended up spending hours with him while he told her horrific allegations about Charles.

"Over the course of the next few weeks, he and Jeffree fed me so much information that I felt sick. Almost every day there was more information and new allegations," Westbrook said. "Eventually I started believing what they were saying, because they said they had evidence. By the time the drama around James Charles' promotion of SugarBearHair reached its peak, I was beyond gaslit."

Dawson and his fiancé, Ryland Adams, spoke out against Westbrook's video on Tuesday.

Shane Dawson tweet
Shane Dawson tweet

Shane Dawson / Twitter

Westbrook went on to say that Dawson didn't just know about her "Bye Sister" video but offered to help edit it, design the thumbnail, and title it. She said she declined his offer, along with another offer to film her the day after the video was uploaded. Westbrook also said that she shared her concerns about Charles hurting himself once "Bye Sister" came out and that Dawson responded that Charles was "a narcissist" and wouldn't hurt himself.

She also said that the last time she spoke to Dawson and Star was before Star's "Never Doing This Again" apology video. Westbrook said she had not been informed that the drama would be a part of the trailer for Dawson's next documentary series.

"I felt that I was a liability to them and that I knew too much, so I put all of my text messages and other files on a hard drive and told a few people that I was afraid for my life and had given everything to my lawyers," Westbrook said. "I was hoping that information would leak, as I thought it might keep me safe."

Westbrook said her mental and physical health and her businesses suffered as she launched her Tati Beauty brand. She said that "this is far from over" and that she had "taken serious security precautions." Westbrook said that on the advice of her attorneys she would not share her evidence right now but would at some point.

"I can tell you this: It's now my opinion that Jeffree and Shane were both bitterly jealous of James Charles' success," Westbrook said. "Jeffree resented that so much of his business was centered around his biggest rival, and Shane did not like that James Charles wanted to make a documentary. Neither of them were happy with standing in his shadow on YouTube anymore."

Westbrook said she thought that as Charles quickly gained more attention and press, Star and Dawson wanted Charles "out of the way" for the launch of the Conspiracy Collection. She added that she had been informed that Star "is allegedly a co-owner" of the cosmetics company Morphe and that Charles had been planning to develop a cosmetics line with Morphe's owners.

"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 said. "It's my opinion that everyone involved got scared and their plan changed multiple times as I refused to play along or engage with the drama over the next several months. A year later, it is now my opinion that James Charles was not their only intended target. I believe that there are many different people who have unclean hands in all of this."

She said she didn't think it was a coincidence that Morphe planned to launch vitamins similar to those that she markets through Halo Beauty — she said the plot was "too big" to involve just Dawson and Star. Westbrook said she thought Star's and Dawson's statements about what happened involving her in 2019 were "cowardly and defamatory" and threatened legal action against them and unnamed co-conspirators.

"I've told you everything that I can right now. The remainder will be handled privately or at a time that I choose to speak publicly on it again," Westbrook said. "To the incredible people who watch my videos because they love makeup as much as I do, I'm so sorry that this situation caused so much pain and frustration."

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