YouTube and Instagram star James Charles has denied allegations of "grooming" an underage fan. The controversy began when a young man using the name Isaiyah posted videos on TikTok, claiming Charles, 31, sent him unsolicited nude photos even after he learned Isaiyah was only 16 years old. Charles called the story "completely false."
On Friday afternoon, Charles shared his side of the story, claiming he began a conversation with Isaiyah after he came up on his Instagram Explore page. Isaiyah followed him on Instagram and Charles added him on Snapchat. Charles claims he received "several snaps from this person" who told Charles "he loved me" and sent "lewd photos of himself in the shower." The person told Charles he was 18, and Charles continued communicating with him because he thought the person "could be potentially great." He did not ask Isaiyah for an ID or passport to prove his age.
"It is 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," Charles wrote. Isaiyah also made comments that made Charles wonder if he really was 18, and Isaiyah eventually 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," Charles wrote. At this point, Charles claims he unfriended Isaiyah and they have not spoken since.
"After false allegations like this in the past, I would never knowingly engage with anyone underage and ut my life on the line for a few Snapchats," Charles wrote. "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."
This is not the first time Charles has been accused of sending unsolicited nude photos. In January, a straight man accused Charles of sending him nude photos he never asked for and pressuring him, reports Vulture. "You are so weird for this," Charles wrote in response to the person's now-deleted TikTok. “An ‘exposé’ video because you’re mad I un-friended you after months of not talking after you told me you were straight… okay."
Charles, who recently made headlines for going bald, also came at the center of a controversy earlier this month when he replicated Halsey's pregnancy photo because he pretended to be pregnant for 24 hours. Halsey's fans accused him of making light of the pop star's pregnancy, which came after health struggles and a miscarriage.