James Charles apologizes for flirting with 16-year-olds on Snapchat after 'grooming' accusation: 'I f**ked up'
While Charles initially denied he had 'groomed' anyone, he has now admitted, 'My actions were wrong and I don't make any excuse for them'
Controversial YouTuber James Charles, who was accused of "grooming" a 16-year-old boy he met on Snapchat in February, and once again, accused of sending flirtatious messages to another 16-year-old boy earlier this week, has broken his silence on the matter and even admitted that it was "reckless".
Jake Cherry, the minor in question, took to social media recently to post a video with alleged screenshots of his conversation with Charles, 21. Cherry took to TikTok to talk about how the social media influencer flirted with him, despite him being underage, and attached screenshots of their alleged conversation in the same. In Snapchat screenshots, Charles was seen getting enraged at the fact that his chats were being shared by the boy in his private story.
But following enormous backlash on social media, Charles has said in a new video on YouTube that the conversations "shouldn't have happened".
While Charles initially vehemently denied that he had "groomed" anyone, he has now admitted: "This is a very serious topic, but today's video is going to be from the heart. First and foremost I need to say sorry, I owe a massive apology to anyone I've hurt by my actions. I also want to say I'm sorry to my family, and my fans, who have to watch another one of these videos because you shouldn't have to, and it's very embarrassing. My actions were wrong and I don't make any excuse for them ... With all that said, I think it's time that we talked ..."
Charles said, "For anyone who isn't aware of what is going on, within the past couple of weeks two different people both under the age of 18 came forward and said they had inappropriate messages from me on social media. In both of these cases, I added them on social media, asked how old they were straight away, was told they were 18. I believed them, engaged in a flirty conversation, and then, later on, was told they were actually 16. Upon finding out I was immediately embarrassed and blocked both people.”
"When I saw them making videos about it, my immediate reaction was to be really upset and I wanted to get on video and tell another 'No More Lies' video where I gathered all my receipts and screenshots and told my side of the story, but looking back that was so stupid,” he said. "Because as I did more research on this topic and self-reflected, I realized the specific details of the interaction really don't matter because I f***ed up. And I need to take accountability for my actions and apologize to the people that were affected by them. These conversations shouldn't have happened, point-blank, period. There's no excuse for it, no 'ifs or buts' and I take full responsibility for that."
Charles acknowledged that he should have verified who he was talking to and their real ages before exchanging messages. He also addressed the teenagers who came forward directly. "To the guys involved in this situation, I want to say I'm sorry,” he said. "I'm sorry that I added you, I'm sorry that I flirted with you, and I'm really sorry if I ever made you feel uncomfortable. It is completely unacceptable."
He said, "I was being reckless. And after looking back and finally realizing that this was my own fault, I did a lot of thinking and reflecting," adding with considerable candor, that he was "desperate" to find love, and to be in a relationship, admitting it's the one area of his life that he can't fix.
"My hope has always been to be in a relationship with someone around my age or older that I can relate to and can make me laugh,” he said. “But the idea of being a relationship became so important to me that I was willing to trust too quickly and miss out on red flags and not take the precautionary measures that anyone should be taking especially those with a public platform… I had the mentality that I could reach out to anyone but that's just not how dating happens at all. That's gross, it's weird and it's desperation." Charles further said that he had since sought professional help to deal with his actions and to "fully understand the situation".