Beauty YouTuber James Charles is in hot water after participating in TikTok’s viral “mugshot challenge,” in which users create makeup looks that simulate what their police mugshots might look like.
Charles’ grisly entry — which he initially shared on both Twitter and Instagram, but deleted following the backlash — featured the 20-year-old vlogger shirtless, having used cosmetics to create the look of a black eye and bloody nose.
It wasn’t long until the social media star’s followers called him out for his participation in the tone-deaf and triggering trend.
“You know I had to have two nose surgeries due to domestic violence. My nose is still crooked. I am reminded of those moments every day,” one woman tweeted. “This is not a subject matter to take lightly. You should know better. You need to apologize to everyone. This is triggering and offensive.”
Added another, “I don’t understand why this would be a trend. I love James but it’s not fun having your face bruised and not being able to cover them up. Maybe I’m being too sensitive but this made me feel really uncomfortable because I couldn’t take mine off. It made me feel so dehumanized.”
Charles responded to the latter commenter, explaining that he hadn’t meant to offend. “hi babe, I’m so sorry that you went through something so awful and traumatic,” he wrote. “It’s a tik tok trend going around where people post their ‘mugshots’ and has nothing to do with domestic violence whatsoever. love you.”
He doubled down on his stance in another reply, tweeting that “this dumb trend has nothing to do with domestic abuse. what about action movies? halloween? special effects? simple bloody noses? this is nothing new.”