All Voices Matter: celebrities should suffer consequences


Prachurjya Shreya

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

Aviance Pritchett, Staff Reporter

The latest entertainment buzz surrounds the drama between influencer makeup artists Tati Westbrook and James Charles, with the latter, who is a gay man, being exposed for using his celebrity status to blackmail, manipulate, and prey on straight men.

His subscriber count went down by 3 million due to the controversy, and many, both his fans and those who know nothing about him, have condemned James’s actions and criticized his apology video, which seemed so fake and laughable that it became a meme. Many people praised Westbrook for her unwillingness to stand for Charles’ actions and as a result of her exposure video she gained an extra few million subscribers.

It’s strange how embroiled we are in YouTube influencer drama and how quick we are to “cancel” someone, but I find it a little annoying that this is what it took for people to realize that  Charles is a bad person. Tati Westbrook too, since she doesn’t seem to feel any rush to call out racist influencers like Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson, both of whom she has collaborated with and has a good relationship with.

What Charles did was inexcusable. Someone’s sexuality is not up for manipulation or profit, and it is no one else’s business except for the person themselves. Regardless of your orientation, you have no right to convert someone else to another sexuality and you definitely don’t have the right to say what their sexuality is.

However, Charles has made countless mistakes in the past, such as making jokes about Africa and Ebola, and making transphobic comments. Star has been repeatedly racist in the past, and even though he apologized, people of color are not obligated to accept and forgive him, especially when he continues to associate with other racist people like the aforementioned Dawson, who did blackface and said other racial slurs.

It’s understandable to get tired of “woke” people and cancel culture. There isn’t going to be any form of entertainment that is without its flaws and mistakes. But when people who have such a large influence, especially amongst young teens who frequently use social media, say things that are bigoted and hurtful, these things should be called out.

Once they’re called out, it’s up to them to thoroughly contemplate on their behavior instead of spitting out some quick, lackluster apology and placing their reputation and money above their friends, family, and fans. If you wouldn’t let someone close to you get away with bigotry, you should apply that logic to everyone else. Just because you’re famous and wealthy doesn’t mean you can do what you want without consequences.