The lowdown on the beauty YouTuber drama in 2020 featuring Jeffree Star, Shane Dawson, Tati Westbrook...

The lowdown on the beauty YouTuber drama in 2020 featuring Jeffree Star, Shane Dawson, Tati Westbrook...

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Text: Emily Heng

We might joke about collectively forgetting the entirety of 2020 in its full, tragic, pandemic-hampered glory — but that's not to say we'd want to revisit 2019 either. And yet, that's exactly what happened this week, when Tati Westbrook dropped a 40-minute video reigniting one of the biggest scandals in the past year. The fallout of her exposé was paired with Shane Dawson's "self-inflicted" implosion, resulting in boycotts, YouTube demonetization, and #ShaneDawsonisover parties. Yowza. It's a lot to take in, but lucky for you guys, we're all about giving the people what they want. And so, we've provided in the form of a comprehensive guide as to the biggest scandals that rocked the community in 2020. Bust out that fancy china set, because we're going to be serving up some pipin' hot tea.

NikkieTutorials is outed as transgender.

Let's start things off on a positive note, shall we? Regarded as one of the most influential names within the beauty realm, Nikkie de Jager's coming out as transgender — despite the circumstances — was met with an overwhelmingly warm and positive reception. Fans showered her in love and support; fellow gurus commended her for her bravery; while the LGBTQI+ community found solace in Jager's words.

There is still outrage circulating around the fact that she was forced into telling her story as someone had threatened to "blackmail" her with the information, but it quickly died down after Jager called for a cease-fire. "I think we need to stop the witch-hunt I've been seeing going around," she stated. "I've been seeing so many videos saying 'this is Nikkie's blackmailer, we found the guy', and to be honest, I don't think that's your story to tell."


Shane Dawson is accused of racist, sexist, and all-around problematic behaviour.

On 21 June, Dawson took to Twitter to express his frustrations about key players of the beauty scene. In a now-deleted Tweet, he wrote, "The beauty gurus who are ALWAYS involved in scandals are ALL THE FU*KING SAME... They are all attention-seeking game playing egocentric narcissistic vengeful two-faced ticking time bombs ready to explode. And I'm OVER it."

Naturally, the Internet didn't take it well, and uncovered countless of instances where Dawson donned blackface; said the 'N' word; and sexualised Willow Smith, then a minor, where he "pretended" to masturbate to her image. Members of the Smith household took to Twitter to express their disapproval of Dawson's behaviour. This, coupled with his plunging follower count, then prompted Dawson to make an apology video on accountability.


YouTube demonetizes three of Shane Dawson's accounts.

And the punches keep coming. This effectively means Dawson won't be able to make any money off his work — a significant dent to his earnings, seeing how his channels 'Shane', 'ShaneDawsonTV' and 'ShaneGlossin'' boast more than 32 million monthly subscribers combined. Makeup empire, Morphe, also pulled all Jeffree Star x Shane Dawson products off their shelves.


Tati Westbrook makes an apology video for both James Charles and Jackie Aina.

The beauty veteran faults Dawson and Star of "manipulating" and "weaponising" her into making her "Bye Sister" video in 2019, where Westbrook accused Charles of predatory behaviour. She also said that she was fed "poisonous lies" about Charles, and theorises that Dawson and Star forced a rift between them so as to eliminate the competition in time for the release of their collaborative Conspiracy eye shadow palette.


Morphe continues to sell Jeffree Star products despite backlash, causing affiliate, Jackie Aina, to cut ties.

Star has been accused of racist behaviour on multiple counts, which makes the brand's refusal to remove his products — in light of the swift retaliation Dawson received — all the more suspicious. Speculation is rife that Star co-owns a large part of Morphe, though the company has stepped forward to deny the allegation. So far, other YouTubers in the vein of Alissa Ashley, Chloe Morello, and Amanda Ensing have joined in to protest Morphe.

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