WARNING: This article contains material about grooming and pedophilia that may be upsetting to some readers.
James Charles is shutting down claims from Twitter and TikTok that he groomed a 16-year-old boy.
The YouTube star, 21, took to Twitter to share a statement regarding the online rumours. According to Charles, he started talking to someone who told him that he was 18 but after some flirtation, it was revealed he was only 16. Charles says he cut off all communication after learning of his real age.
“There’s a video going around about me on TikTok and Twitter of a guy calling me a groomer and I want to address it right away. The accusation that I have groomed this person is completely false,” Charles wrote. “Last week, I came across someone on my Instagram explore page, saw he followed me, and added him on Snapchat. The next morning, I woke up to several snaps from this person being excited I added him back, saying he loved me, and also lewd photos of himself in the shower. I asked how old he was right away and he told me he was 18 so I started flirting back.”
— James Charles (@jamescharles) February 26, 2021
He continued, “In the excitement of meeting someone I thought could be potentially great, I didn’t ask for a copy of his ID or passport. It’s now clear, based on the video he uploaded, he was taking photos of me with another device, and had an ulterior motive from the beginning. Later in the day, he said a few things that made me question the validity of his original age answer and when I asked him to confirm his age once again, he admitted he was 16. I told him I was really uncomfortable and apologized for flirting, but he insisted on continuing talking, saying it could be our little secret, he’s a fan of mine and would never tell anyone. I told him I wasn’t okay with this, he started getting upset, and at this point, I unfriended him. We haven’t spoken since.”
In his conclusion, Charles promised he was “not victim-blaming him or victimizing myself either,” he was “simply sharing what happened, and what happened was not okay. After false allegations like this in the past, I would never knowingly engage with anyone underage and put my life on the line for a few snapchats. Because of situations like this, instead of taking someone’s word for it, I now will ask to see the ID or passport of every guy I have a conversation with.”