YouTube temporarily halted ads on frenetic drama magnet James Charles’ channel as of Monday night, disabling the content creator’s ability to earn money on the platform amid allegations that he sexted with minors.
The decision to temporarily remove Charles from its Partner Program comes after a review of YouTube’s “creator responsibility policy,” the platform told Business Insider. According to that policy, “If we see that a creator’s on- and/or off-platform behaviour harms our users, community, employees or ecosystem, we may take action to protect the community.” The policy goes on to say that YouTube reserves the right to take action against creators who cause “malicious” or “real world harm” to others, whether it be via abuse, violence or fraudulent behaviour.
Charles’ channel is currently 25.5 million subscribers strong — one of the most popular on the platform.
While rumours about Charles’ alleged impropriety with minors have swirled for years, the scandal has come to a head in recent weeks, with more than 15 men and boys coming forward to accuse the beauty guru of inappropriate conduct dating back to at least 2019. In an April 1 video titled “Holding myself accountable,” Charles confirms that he “flirted” with boys under the age of 18, but claims that at least two of his accusers lied or purposefully concealed their real ages. He goes on to call his behaviour “reckless,” and apologizes to followers for failing to adequately grapple with the power dynamic that comes along with having a massive platform.
“For me, having a public platform has become such a huge part of my life that at this point, it does feel ‘normal,’” Charles said. “But I have to understand that to 99.9 per cent of people, it’s not normal and will never be normal — and that’s where the power imbalance lies that I wasn’t understanding.”
While YouTube has declined to confirm how long Charles’ suspension from the Partner Program will last, the announcement comes on the heels of a similar decision recently applied to the creator David Dobrik after his friend and frequent vlog collaborator Dominykas Zeglaitis, also known as Durte Dom, was accused of rape. In 2020, YouTube also took the step of demonetising the creator Shane Dawson’s channel after old content that showed him using the “n-word” on camera and wearing blackface surfaced.
YouTube’s decision to suspend Charles from the Partner Program also comes on the heels of a decision by the makeup brand Morphe to end its beauty sponsorship with the content creator, who claimed in a statement that the decision to end the collaboration had been mutual.
— James Charles (@jamescharles) April 17, 2021
“Since posting that video, many other people have come forward with a series of misleading stories and false allegations which have been reported on by many people, creators, and news outlets,” Charles wrote. “My legal team has begun taking action against those that have spread misinformation and/or created completely fake stories, as this has gone too far.”