James Charles "ashamed" as he admits to messaging underage boys
"A power imbalance can happen even when it's not intentional."
James Charles has said he is "ashamed" after admitting he exchanged "flirty" messages with minors.
The YouTuber and makeup artist had been accused of messaging two underage boys online after screenshots were shared widely across social media.
In a video entitled "holding myself accountable," the 21-year-old admitted to sending "flirty" messages to users, who he says he thought were 18 at the time. Charles said he was "ashamed," "embarrassed," and will "try better."
“In both of these cases I added these people on Snapchat, asked how old they were right away, was told that they were 18, believed them, engaged in a flirty conversation and then later on found out that they were actually 16," he said in the video.
“Upon finding out, I was immediately embarrassed and blocked both people [...] I fucked up. These conversations should’ve never happened, point blank, period. There is no excuse for it. There is no ifs, ands or buts and I take full responsibility for that.”
The MUA added that "as an adult," he should have taken steps to verify who he was speaking to. He apologised to the boys in question and said that the conversations stemmed from being "desperate" for a relationship.
"As I did more research on these topics and self-reflected, I realised that the receipts and the screenshots and the specific details of the interaction really don't matter," he said, "because I fucked up and I needed to take accountability for my actions and most importantly apologise to the people that were affected by them.
“My hope has always been to be in a relationship with somebody around my age or older that I can relate to or that can make me laugh and unfortunately, I have not been able to find that person yet.”
Charles also said that he had used the platform "as a dating app," and that he "should have been more careful."
"A power imbalance can happen even when it's not intentional," he went on. "What I wasn't getting before is that the excitement that comes with talking to a celebrity is literally enough to make somebody do or say something that they normally wouldn't.
"Even if that celebrity isn't intentionally weaponising their fame, money, or power. And that's the concept that I just wasn't getting, but I now do."
This comes just a couple of years after James' infamous "No More Lies" video, in which he addressed claims from fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook that he had been "manipulating" the sexuality of straight men.
You can watch the full "holding myself accountable" video here: