James Charles' Mugshot Makeup Selfie Criticized by Victims of Domestic Abuse

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Feb. 8 2021, Updated 4:02 p.m. ET

james charles mughshot cover
Source: Instagram

Looks like James Charles is angering people again (ahh the price of internet fame). The makeup YouTuber carved a name for himself by creating a wildly popular series of makeup tutorials that disregarded gender norms. It doesn't matter how you identify yourself. James creates content for anyone and everyone who wants to up their beauty game.

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He soon become a poster boy for an untapped niche and new generation of cosmetics consumers, but now he's creating drama with a mugshot selfie he uploaded.

James Charles' latest controversy involves a mugshot look.

James is no stranger to controversy: he previously was accused of "predatory" behavior by several straight men on the internet who claimed that James repeatedly tried to get them to either sleep with him or cheat on their significant others, despite the fact that they don't identify as gay.

The claims caused several folks to "cancel" James, and it's believed he lost several endorsement deals as a result of the scandal.

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However, James' career bounced back in no time, and he was back in the good graces of many people online, although there were a few who still couldn't forgive the young social media mogul for his behavior.

The thing about having millions of followers online and being at the top of your respective industry, however, means that there are going to be more eyes on you than most. Which also means it's going to be difficult for you to get away with posting stuff like this:

screenshot from
Source: twitter
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Yep, that's a photo of James rocking makeup that makes him look like he's the victim of a violent beatdown. He uploaded the selfie as part of a viral trend that has people sharing images of what their mugshots would look like. Obviously, people are having a grand old time glamming themselves up and having a laugh at would they would look like if they ever were arrested and about to head into jail.

The #mugshot challenge on TikTok is pretty insensitive as it is. "Ohh! Look at me! How fun! How fancy free! I'm going to be a hot convict when I'm incarcerated!"

While we think it's kind of weird for anyone to glamorize going to prison, especially when you're a social media star that makes money creating cosmetics tutorials, James received a ton of criticism from a very specific demographic: domestic abuse survivors.

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Some averred that James was glorifying the abuse some people face on a daily basis in their own homes, and soon the comments section of his post were littered with people upset he shared the image. 

"You know I had to have two nose surgeries due to domestic violence. My nose is still crooked. I am reminded of those moments every day. This is not a subject matter to take lightly. You should know better. You need to apologize to everyone. This is triggering and offensive," one woman responded.

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Another tweeted, "This is not ok. I’m disappointed in you again. This is not funny or cute! As a survivor of abuse it’s not cool." Someone else said the mugshot was "dehumanizing": "I don’t understand why this would be a trend. I love James but it’s not fun having your face bruised and not being able to cover them up. Maybe I’m being too sensitive but this made me feel really uncomfortable because I couldn’t take mine off. It made me feel so dehumanized."

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The gist of why James' mugshot was so "problematic" is probably perfectly summed in this one individual's tweet: “abuse isn’t an aesthetic."

It didn't take long for James to respond to concerned fans, and he wrote back: "hi babe, I’m so sorry that you went through something so awful and traumatic. it’s a tik tok trend going around where people post their “mugshots” and has nothing to do with domestic violence whatsoever. love you."

Despite likening the mugshot photo challenge to other violent imagery in movies or people walking around on Halloween in costumes, James obliged his followers and took down the pictures in order to avoid triggering anyone else further.

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He penned the following message: "despite the fact that hundreds of other influencers and artists have done something similar, I deleted the mugshot trend because it was never my intention to trigger anyone & it’s a waste of time trying to have an open discussion with people who hate me regardless."

What do you think? Was it wrong for James to upload the images in the first place? Or were people just overreacting?

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