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CoverGirl’s Male Ambassador, James Charles, Slammed for Racist Joke: See How Twitter Is Reacting

James Charles
James Charles celebrates the launch of Dior Addict Lacquer Stick at Delilah on Feb. 8, 2017, in West Hollywood. Donato Sardella/Getty Images

Not so beautiful. Heading to Africa on a school trip, James Charles, CoverGirl’s first male ambassador, jokingly tweeted about possibly contracting Ebola. The resounding response four days later? “Cancelled.”

The 17-year-old vlogger turned billboard star tweeted this conversation to his massive fan base: “‘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…'” He added an upside-down smiley face, presumably to let people know that he was joking, but hundreds of Twitter commenters don’t find the exchange amusing.

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Outraged, one commenter wrote, “cancelled your merchandise order, bye,” while another added, “as a public figure with 181k followers did you not think before you tweeted? Hard to learn a lesson like this so publicly smh.” Yet another spoke out directly to CoverGirl saying, “He is ur spokes model. Whatever he says is a reflection of ur brand. Plenty of male make up artists. Cut him.” And dozens sent gifs like this one:

While some Twitter users claimed that Charles had blocked them following their blasts, the teen soon issued an apology on the platform. He wrote, “I am extremely sorry. Regardless of my intentions, words have consequences. I take full responsibility and will learn and do better.” He followed it up with a screenshot of a longer apology that finished, “I feel awful for posting what I said. I understand why what I said was offensive and ignorant. I look forward to exploring the country and learning much more about the people and the culture, because clearly I know very little and have a lot to learn.”

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A large number of commenters refused to accept his apology — and called him out again for calling Africa a “country” (he later said he was referencing South Africa, where he just landed) — but a few were willing to give him another chance. “We are human and we make errors,” one wrote. “You seem like a Sweet young adult that wouldn’t intentionally try to be mean. You apologized. You don’t seem like a mean spirited person so don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy your educational trip. <3.”

CoverGirl also backed their newest star — though with a note: “James Charles’ tweet does not represent COVERGIRL’s perspective. 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.”

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