So, you would have had to be living in a sea cave for the past week to have not noticed the ‘James Charles is Cancelled’ drama that has unfolded across the internet. Twitter went into full meltdown when several Kardashians hit the unfollow button in the wake of Tati Westbrook’s exposé, and YouTube has blown up with multiple videos dissecting the drama. Cancel culture is a huge part of internet life these days, with someone seemingly getting thrown under the bus every few months by former friends, colleagues and total strangers. It might not seem like it, but there are things we can all learn about life online from the James Charles saga, which is why we threw together this quick list.
1) People are allowed to make mistakes
Not all mistakes are equal. And the reaction to some of the stuff James has done seems to be more aggressive and personal than the internet reaction to major issues going on in the world today. Logan Paul wasn’t even cancelled this hard, and what he did was arguably a lot worse. Holding influencers to account for what they do and say is important, because we all listen to them at some point right? But having millions of people pointing out your mistakes must be pretty tough.
It is not the mistakes that we all make that should make us who we end up being, but how we handle them. So, if you fall out with a buddy, even if you are super stubborn and convinced you are in the right (#guilty), try reaching out to sort out the situation. It will give you a good idea of where you stand, and can be the first stepping stone to fixing your mistake.
2) We get to make mistakes in private
We all make mistakes. We have all fallen out with friends, said stuff we didn’t mean, done things we regret. The thing is, we all get to do this in private. With this playing out in the public arena, mostly on YouTube, every little mistake made in the history of his social media career is up for grabs by the entire world. We are pretty lucky that we can make similar mistakes in our own lives and only have to answer to a handful of people we might have hurt, not 16 million. This is true of pretty much every famous person, so have a think about the mistakes you have made and resolved in your own life before writing a negative comment to them online – we are all as likely to make mistakes as each other, famous or not.
3) You cannot change someone’s sexuality
So, one of the things Tati mentioned was that James would always go after straight guys, even try and ‘change’ their sexuality. Whether someone is gay, straight, bisexual or anything else, their sexuality is their business and it isn’t for you to change. It is completely possible for your sexuality to be fluid throughout your life, but you can’t change someone else’s. After all, it’s theirs.
4) It is ok to experiment with your sexuality
Although, she also called him out for ‘playing with other people’s sexuality, before they knew who they were yet’. This might make it seem like it is not ok to experiment with and explore your own sexuality. Of course, manipulating other people is not good, but the other guys involved in this might have simply been experimenting with their own sexuality without fully knowing who they were, and that’s ok. Your sexuality is yours to explore however you choose to, and you don’t have to be 100% certain what it is before you start to explore it.
5) It is not ok to make someone feel uncomfortable
But, it’s also pretty important to remember that some people have said that he made them feel pretty awkward and uncomfortable. Whilst it is absolutely fine, and normal, to experiment with and explore your sexuality, it is not ok to make someone else feel uncomfortable when you are doing so. If you feel like you might be making someone feel like this, maybe try and take a step back and have a think about the situation. It might be worth giving them some space and spending time with a few other people.
6) Cancel culture can ruin lives
Social media is awesome – there is no denying it. It’s fun, free, totally addictive and has actually been really helpful for people all over the world to deal with their issues, be accountable, even fight injustice. The thing is though, when someone does something wrong, it can be really easy to cancel them. We’re not saying that some people didn’t need to be cancelled (Harvey Weinstein comes to mind), but when it happens over small spats, feuds and mistakes that can easily be sorted out off screen, it’s important to remember it can really ruin someone else’s life, even end it. Plus – it can literally happen to any of us, famous or not.
7) Put yourself in someone else’s shoes
Remember when you were a kid and you fell out with someone and before you knew it, everyone in the playground was on their side? It’s pretty much happened to every single one of us at some point – and it felt rubbish right? Especially because most of those people barely knew you, your friend, or anything about the situation. Well imagine that, multiplied a million times.
We’ve all been in the position at least once in our lives when it has felt like the world is against us, and it’s really important to try to remember that before jumping into the comments section with negativity. We all know how the person on the receiving end feels.
8) Some things are better discussed in private
There’s a time and a place for airing out your drama or disagreements with friends, and the internet is not often the place to do it. By dragging people publicly who have upset you, it can put you and them and everyone else who knows both of you in a really difficult position – one where battle lines are going to get drawn. With James and Tati, what started as a small disagreement about product promotion now has the potential to ruin a career, a life.
This drama with James and Tati is a pretty extreme example, as the audience is so massive. But making a private issue public when there are much easier ways to solve it can cause much more trouble in the long run. If you have fallen out with a friend over something, why not try private messaging them first? Or possibly popping around their house for a cup of tea and a chat. Even if the outcome is that you need time apart or that you can no longer be friends, doing it like this will be much more likely to give you the closure you both deserve, instead of making it bitter and resentful.
9) 1 Tweet can ruin a life
If there is one thing we can all learn from vitamingate (copyright us), it’s that we all need to be pretty careful how we behave on the internet. Whether that is thinking before we start subtweeting about someone who has upset us, comments we leave on videos and posts, or almost anything else – it’s important to remember that what you put out there is not going to go anywhere unless YOU take it down. Even if you take steps to make yourself anonymous in order to write some of it – there is absolutely no guarantee it is going to stay anonymous.
If you feel the need to write something mean to someone online, have a think about why you feel that way. Why not try writing down all the logical reasons you can think of why you want to do it, and alongside it write all the possible consequences of your actions. Taking a step away from the keyboard can be tough when we feel fired up, but writing out how our actions could affect us and others makes it way more real than how hammering on our keyboards feels.
10) Just because someone is famous, it does not make online abuse ok
Famous people may be famous, but they are also people with human emotions. Fame and money does not buy them out of feeling bad when they see nasty comments or rude messages or even death threats.
A really common thing to say in response to this is to say that ‘they know what they are getting themselves into when they pursue fame, so it’s fine’. Well, a lot of social media stars don’t actually start out their channels to become famous, and just do it for fun! When it becomes something that can make money, they carry on with it because let’s face it – who wouldn’t want to do something you enjoy for money?! But just because they have achieved fame doesn’t mean everything in their lives is fair game for nasty comments, and it definitely doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the negativity.
If you have been affected by any of these issues and need someone to talk to, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here