7 Beauty Gurus Who Apologized After Being Called Out for Racism
September 1, 2018
The beauty community is one of the largest and longest-running subsectors of YouTube. For over 10 years, so-called “
beauty gurus” have been showing the world how to blend, contour, highlight and more. Most people nowadays have YouTube tutorials to thank for their knowledge of makeup, including us, and we’re forever grateful!
But lately, the beauty community has been filled with more
drama than a reality TV show. Thanks to the internet, YouTubers are more visible than ever — and that includes all of their old dirty laundry. Problematic tweets, videos, Snapchats… pretty much everything is out there for the world to see, and it’s caught up to more than one beauty guru. Click through the slideshow to see all of the beauty YouTubers who had to apologize after being called out for racism.
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Jeffree Star has been accused of being racist for years. Back in his MySpace days, he was known for being over the top, but sometimes he took things too far. Old videos surfaced online of the 32-year-old calling multiple women the N-word and using other racist terms such as "rat" and "ape," and in one video skit he joked about throwing battery acid on a black woman to lighten her skin tone because her foundation shade didn't match.
Although the clips were filmed a long time ago, people haven't let Jeffree forget his past. In June 2017, he addressed it all in a video posted to his channel titled "
RACISM." He apologized profusely and said the person he was back then was depressed and angry at the world. "Everything that you have seen is so wrong. It's upsetting; it's nasty. It really makes me sick to my stomach to watch those old videos because what I was saying was not what I represent," he said.
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Things went downhill fast when fans discovered
old tweets from Laura Lee. Her posts included racism and fat-shaming, with one in particular saying, "Tip for all black people if you pull ur pants up you can run from the police faster.. #yourwelcome."
The beauty guru deleted the tweets, along with her
entire account, almost immediately. She then reactivated it a day later and posted a lengthy apology note that explained her actions.
"I deactivated my Twitter last night because I was mad at myself for the ignorant tweets that I made back in 2012," she wrote. "That girl who tweeted that isn’t who I am today. I now understand the seriousness behind those tweets. Those tweets aren’t humorous in any way to me today and I am truly sorry to everyone I have hurt and offended. I feel so disgusted about this and want you to know from the bottom of my heart I am incredibly grateful for this community."
After the apology, the 29-year-old decided to make a video that echoed similar sentiments. However, most people didn't buy it and accused her of
fake crying for sympathy. She's lost almost half a million subscribers since the incident and has been M.I.A. from the internet ever since.
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James Charles created a total sh*tstorm when he posted what he thought was a joke in February 2017. As he boarded a flight to South Africa, he tweeted, "'I can't believe we're going to Africa today omg what if we get Ebola?' 'James we're fine we could've gotten it at chipotle last year.'"
The beauty guru meant it to be a funny jab at his friend for mixing up Ebola and E. coli, but instead he got
massive backlash for his ignorant comment about catching the disease. As soon as he landed, he tweeted out an apology note.
"I am extremely sorry for my tweet and I feel like sh*t for saying it," he wrote. "I am aware that the tweet was extremely offensive and degrading... I look forward to exploring the country and learning much more about the people and culture, because clearly I know very little and have a lot to learn."
But that wasn't the end of it. A few months later, old tweets resurfaced in which he used the phrases "Mexican Instagram slave" and "stupid Indian man." The 19-year-old tweeted out a video in response to apologize for the posts, which he made when he was 13 years old.
He explained, "A few years ago I posted some really, really sh*tty and ignorant and offensive tweets regarding people of different races that I'm really, really not proud of. They were disgusting, they were degrading, and now I realize how my words actually affect people... I want you guys to know at home watching that I'm really f*cking sorry for my actions."
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Things got messier than expected when
Gabriel Zamora shaded Jeffree Star with a photo caption. He posted a picture of himself, Laura Lee, Manny MUA and Nikita Dragun flipping the bird and wrote, "B*tch is bitter because without him we're doing better." The caption was directed at JS, who is ex-friends with the beauty gurus.
Gabby also tweeted, "Imagine stanning a racist? I could never." But the irony was quick to be pointed out by fans, who found an old tweet of Gabriel's that included the N-word. The beauty guru then addressed the issue in his
"I have taken time to realize that ignorance isn't going to help a situation because I've done that," he said. "So for that I am truly sorry, and I hope that my actions since then have shown y'all that I've learned from it and that I've better educated myself. I was ignorant, and I was stupid, and I take full accountability."
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The fallout from the Laura Lee/Gabriel Zamora scandal affected more than just them.
Nikita Dragun also got dragged into the drama when people found some of her insensitive old tweets, one of which read, "When you're so tan you look black."
The blowback wasn't anywhere near what LL experienced, but the beauty guru still decided to apologize on Twitter.
Editor's Note: We have updated this slide at the request of Nikita's representation, removing a fake tweet that they confirmed was not posted by Nikita.
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Kathleen Lights got exposed by her very own friend and fellow beauty guru Jaclyn Hill. In a Snapchat video posted to Jac's story, Kat can be heard saying the N-word while playing a video game. She immediately realized her mistake and said, "Oh, I just said the N-word," while another person off camera said, "Don't post that."
Well, Jaclyn posted the video anyway, and fans blew up on Kathleen. Jaclyn
claimed that she was drunk and didn't hear what was being said in the video, but it was too late. The Miami native tried to do damage control by posting her own apology on Instagram.
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We don't know
what Vika Shapel was thinking when she tried to create "the chocolate challenge." In a photo posted to her Instagram account, the beauty blogger and her friend posed side-by-side with half of their faces painted brown. They also used brown contact lenses and curled their hair tightly to look African-American. In the caption, she called the transformation "the chocolate challenge" and hinted at an upcoming video where she and her friend would "transform into deep chocolate skin tones from our pasty pale."
That video never saw the light of day. After the beauty guru was flooded with criticism, she deleted all of her social media accounts and apologized for the post. She told
Yahoo Beauty, "I simply wanted to see how I looked in a deeper skin tone. I wasn't aware of the whole blackface concept before people began commenting it on the photo. I would like to apologize to people that were hurt or offended by my post, and it won't happen again."
Vita's Instagram is now back up and running again, but she won't ever be able to escape this scandal.