Teenage makeup artist James Charles made history when he was recently announced as beauty brand CoverGirl's first-ever male spokesmodel. But now, the star is in some hot water with fans and the brand itself after he tweeted out an insensitive joke about ebola in Africa.
In a now-deleted tweet, James said, "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’…."
I will no longer support your company as long as he's on the campaign. This was stereotypical & degrading to Africa. @COVERGIRL @COVERGIRL pic.twitter.com/RpgMp1lqfg— IG/SC: ParisHeelton (@ImTheBombDotCom) February 16, 2017
I will no longer support your company as long as he's on the campaign. This was stereotypical & degrading to Africa. @COVERGIRL @COVERGIRL pic.twitter.com/RpgMp1lqfg
Many Twitter users expressed their thoughts saying that James' tweet was not only offensively stereotypical and racist, but ignorant and inaccurate because, as The Cut notes, he was headed to the country of South Africa where there hasn't been an ebola outbreak since 1996 (compared to the United States' last case in 2014.)
Affinity Magazine reported screenshots that James first responded to the controversy by blocking users who challenged him and tweeting "block and move on James," before deleting these messages as well.
When James realized that people were upset, he took to Twitter to issue an apology. But may fans were further disappointed when he continued to refer to Africa as a "country," and not a continent.
CoverGirl issued a series of tweets saying that James' actions don't reflect the views of the brand, and followed up by sharing an official press statement that echoed the sentiments.
James Charles' tweet does not represent COVERGIRL’s perspective.— COVERGIRL (@COVERGIRL) February 16, 2017
James Charles' tweet does not represent COVERGIRL’s perspective.
"James Charles’ tweet does not represent COVERGIRL’s perspective," the full statement reads. "We agree his statements were inappropriate but appreciate that he has issued an apology. We are an inclusive brand and respect all people and cultures."
It looks like James has realized his mistake, and hopefully he'll think twice about the messages he posts to his huge social media following in the future.
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