Cancel Culture

Jocelyn Hernandez, Reporter

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The LGBT community is and still is a misrepresented group of people. For a very long time, were

dehumanized, killed, assaulted, and pushed aside. Luckily, in the last decade a lot has happened. The

world is seeing more and more talk about the LGBT community, which is now on Youtube. With famous

internet stars such as “Shane Dawson, (bisexual man, currently engaged to Ryland Adams)” “Jeffree

Star,”(gay man in a relationship with Nathan Schwandt) “Nikita Dragun,”(Transgender women) and the

very now infamous “James Charles.” (Gay man)

If you don’t know who Charles is, he was made the first ever male Covergirl model on October

11th, 2016. This was major news as it was a huge step to LGBT representation in mainstream media.

Since then, he blew up on social media and is very well known. He has had his fair share of controversies

involving, racism, transphobia, and most recently, was accused of manipulating straight men’s sexualities.

On May 10th of 2019 Tati Westbrook, a famous Beauty Guru and longtime friend of Charles, made a

video named “BYE SISTER” which is a reference to James’s very well known “hi sisters” intro of his

YouTube channel. Within the 40 minute Westbrook explained her friendship with Charles and how much

she had helped him behind the scenes of what the rest of the world actually saw. She had decided to make

this video “exposing” him because Charles had betrayed her and teamed up with a rival vitamin company

when he needed security at Coachella. She also gave various examples of his predatory behavior towards

straight men. After he had called her explaining how a straight boy who he had wanted to be with was a

“con artist” she stated in the video,

“Oh my god, you tried to trick a straight man into thinking he’s gay, yet again. And somehow,

you’re the victim. It’s really disgusting to manipulate someone’s sexuality especially when they’re

emerging into adulthood and don’t quite have everything figured out,”

She goes on in the video to say,

“You are using you fame, your power, your money, to play with people’s emotions. You’re

threatening to ruin them, you’re threatening to embarrass them, and you’re doing that to have them

behave sexually in your favor even if they’re straight. And you know what that’s not okay, that behaviour

(sic) is not okay. Whether you’re a woman, a man, gay, straight, bi, whatever sexual orientation you are

that is your personal call. It’s not someone elses to take, it’s not someone elses to play with, it’s not

someone elses to mess with.”

Westbrook is very heated throughout this part of the video, she goes on further to explain how

Charles would make this a joke. In a video James filmed with Shane Dawson and Dawson’s then

boyfriend but now fiance, Ryland Adams. Charles was told to stop going after straight boys and that he

can find masculine gay men, he replied with “I mean there are a million of them but, there’s no challenge

in that.” This is what is toxic. This is why the internet is so angry at him. He knows that masculine gay

men exist  – he is not blind to them.

Now, how does this behavior tie into LGBT misrepresentation? It plays off the predatory gay man

stereotype. Along with that stereotype there are many others in television that are just as damaging. This

has plagued the community very much, it doesn’t help that there is racism, sexism, transphobia, biphobia,

homophobia in the LGBT community. It does not help the situation at all, it’s hatred that does not belong

in a community that represents how all love is beautiful and gender is not black and white.

This is where the story takes too many twists. James uploads a an apology video, which is

followed by even more backlash. Tati posts an explanation video, Jeffree Star gets involved. The situation

gets extremely messy, the truth is no longer visible. There’s a big problem here, something I think almost

everyone was apart of. “Cancel Culture” is something that’s been around for a while. Basically to put it

simply, when someone (celebrity, public figure) is in a huge scandal for example, a rape accusation, the

internet will “cancel” them. This means, merch will be destroyed/sold, hate is sent to that person, if the

person is a YouTuber, they will lose subscribers. It’s like a huge boycott that the internet is a part of very

frequently. This is what happened to James Charles, Tati made the first attack which has well over 40

million views, this started it all. James messed up, posted an apology video that seemed very forced and

dishonest. Then tati uploaded a video saying she didn’t want any hate anymore, not for anyone. James

then uploaded again, clearing his name by pulling out screenshots of conversations and explaining the

situation through new eyes. Jeffree Star also came in, telling his audience that he was not going to keep

the drama going by adding voicemails and ‘receipts’. He stopped himself because he thought what had

already happened was enough and he did not want an already toxic situation even more toxic. Some

believe that he maybe only didn’t show evidence because it doesn’t exist. A lot of people don’t know who

to think is telling the truth, leaving us, the audience, confused and conflicted. Who is the bad guy here?

What does this say about us as a culture? We go by guilty until proven innocent where we should

really be doing the opposite. James admitted to being in a very dark place when all this drama unfolded.

Jeffree did too. It shows how much power followers can really have. When you have news outlets saying

this and that about you, it’s tiring. These are real people, with real raw emotions. We see them so

differently because of numbers. Some even think of them as Gods, they’re humans.

The real problem here is how these adults did not handle the situation correctly and carefully. It

was made into this big show for everyone but the people involved. The internet acted like it was one big

reality TV show.

A student and freshman from Clackamas Highschool, AJ Sugg for her input on this whole

situation. She was asked if she agreed with James Charles being ‘canceled’ as quickly as he was and she

said “I mean from what I know I think I agree. Because He’s done some pretty bad stuff that painted the

whole LGBT community in a bad light.” She was also asked if she has ever been apart of canceling

someone? “Yes, James Charles and other celebs that have done wrong.” She thinks a celebrity could

really be driven to suicide by being canceled, “Yes, especially someone as emotionally and/or mentally

unstable as James Charles.”

We should not being doing this to public figures, especially if there is little to no evidence. It

distracts us from real problems and is like highschool gossip. The Internet needs to stop this behavior

before a creator or celebrity really do harm themselves.

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