After James Charles was criticized for ‘triggering’ domestic abuse survivors with his take on the ‘Mugshot Challenge,’ the YouTube beauty star said it was never his attention to ‘glorify’ such a heinous act.
Once again, James Charles, 20, found himself on the wrong end of an angry Twitter mob. This time, the 20-year-old beauty vlogger was dragged for his entry in the “#MugshotChallenge” that’s gone viral on TikTok. In his now-deleted photo, a shirtless James posed for his “mugshot,” sporting makeup to make it look like he had a black eye and a bloody nose. The realistic nature of the “injuries” led some to think he was “glorifying” domestic violence. “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,” a fan tweeted.
“hi babe,” James said in response, “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.”When another Twitter user said that “it’s the trend itself that’s triggering for many,” James continued to stand up for himself. “I do understand that, but this dumb trend has nothing to do with domestic abuse. what about action movies? halloween? special effects? simple bloody noses? this is nothing new.”
Ultimately, this wasn’t the hill James wanted to die on, and he removed the picture. “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 [peace emoji].”
“This is not an apology lol,” he added. The move won’t likely placate those who have called the trend tone-deaf. In addition to those who think the #MugshotChallenge makes light of domestic abuse, others have pointed out that taking “mugshots” for fun ignores how minorities and POC face “disproportionate rates of incarceration” in America. However, the growing backlash has made many YouTubers, TikTok stars and other social media personalities rethink their involvement in the challenge. Many are deleting their mugshots.
“ur telling me a ‘mugshot’ has become a trend. doing makeup to look like you’ve gotten beat and brutalized by police,” one angry user tweeted at James. “yk POC actually get beat by police and taken to precincts for mugshots, half of the time just for being black. when they see us shoulda taught ya smth.”
James has seen plenty of controversies in 2020. In addition to this, BuzzFeed reports he was at the center of another #JamesCharlesIsOverParty when he was accused of singing along to Saweetie’s “My Type, n-word and all (he denied it, and many defended him by saying he skipped over those parts of the lyrics.) He got attacked for being transphobic for posting pictures of himself in dresses along with the message “me when the government comes knocking on my door for the draft.”