Makeup lovers are boycotting Morphe as the brand stays silent on James Charles sexting allegations

James Charles attends his Morphe Meet & Greet at Roosevelt Field Mall on December 1, 2018 in Garden City, New York.
James Charles attends his Morphe Meet & Greet at Roosevelt Field Mall on December 1, 2018 in Garden City, New York.

  • Makeup brand Morphe is being bombarded by the “#BoycottMorphe” hashtag on social media.
  • The company is being criticized for its longtime sponsorship and collaboration with James Charles.
  • Charles has been accused by more than 15 men and boys of sexual harassment and sexting with minors.

Makeup brand Morphe may be facing a boycott over its continued association with James Charles, who has been accused by more than 15 men and boys of sexual harassment and sexting minors. He released a video addressing some of the allegations on April 1 and said “these conversations should have never happened.”

The makeup company, which is also known as Morphe Cosmetics and Morphe Brushes, has not responded to Insider’s inquiries about its longtime partnership with Charles, who appears in Morphe marketing campaigns, has cut ribbons at multiple Morphe store openings, and who is the face of the best-selling Morphe x James Charles Artistry Palette.

But a podcast host said on Twitter that they received an email from a Morphe representative saying that the brand “does not condone inappropriate online behavior of any form.” The purported email, which was screenshotted and shared widely online, continued: “We have been actively looking into the recent allegations against James Charles, and have suspended marketing of the Morphe X James Charles collaboration while we continue to evaluate and monitor the situation.”

The purported email circulated in the online beauty-drama community and led to Morphe’s social-media posts being overrun with negative comments. The hashtag “#BoycottMorphe” appeared in over 200 tweets and in dozens of Instagram comments on Morphe’s account since Charles’ video was posted on April 1.

One comment on a recent Morphe Instagram post asking the company to “remove” the palette from their store reached over 400 likes. “How about actually listening to fans and maybe you wouldn’t be losing money right now,” said another comment with over 300 likes.

The recent accusations against Charles include more than a dozen so-called “exposé” TikToks made by individuals who claim Charles used Snapchat to send or solicit sexually suggestive or explicit messages and photos. Several of these individuals say they were minors at the time. Insider was unable to independently corroborate all of the allegations.

Charles’ partnership with Morphe has been an integral part of his own online brand for years. He even previously sold a hoodie that said “Use code ‘JAMES’ for 10 percent off,” referencing his famous affiliate discount code for the website.

Morphe’s discount code ‘JAMES’ still works on its website

Morphe launched in 2008 as a beauty brand intended for collaborative partnerships with influencers and creators in the makeup and beauty space online, according to the company’s website. Those creators have included Manny Gutierrez (Manny MUA), Nikita Dragun, Jaclyn Hill, Bretman Rock, and Charles, among others. Collaborations typically include a signature Morphe X eyeshadow palette.

Charles’ rainbow-themed Artistry Palette is still listed on Morphe’s website under the “Best Sellers” tab, along with the miniature palette and Charles’ branded makeup-brush set.

James Charles

While Morphe hasn’t posted on Instagram about Charles’ products since March 25, Insider confirmed that his affiliate code still works on the website. Customers can use code “JAMES” for 10% off their purchase.

Morphe has separated from controversial creators in the past year

It wouldn’t be unprecedented for the company to part ways with one of its major featured creators.

In June 2020, Morphe stopped working with YouTubers Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star as the creators were embroiled in controversy. It “ceased all commercial activity” with Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Star’s brand that had previously been sold in brick-and-mortar Morphe stores. Morphe also stopped selling the popular Conspiracy makeup collection marketed by Star and Dawson.

The move came after YouTuber Tati Westbrook released a video accusing Star and Dawson of having “manipulated” her into accusing Charles of sexual misconduct with boys in 2019. Westbrook also claimed that Star had ownership in Morphe, which the company denied to Insider. At the same time, Dawson was being widely condemned by mainstream celebrities and online critics alike for his past offensive content.

Jeffree Star, Manny Gutierrez and James Charles celebrate The Launch Of KKW Beauty on June 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Jeffree Star, Manny Gutierrez and James Charles celebrate The Launch Of KKW Beauty on June 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

When customers asked about Morphe’s ties to Star and Dawson at the end of June 2020, the company initially wrote in similar purported emails to customers that it did not “condone or agree with the actions and behavior of Shane Dawson.” Before officially separating from Star, the company also wrote that “Jeffree Star has acknowledged mistakes made in the past and has apologized, taken accountability, and worked hard to make amends within the community.”

Facing mounting pressure from customers, it’s unclear whether Charles’ future with Morphe will follow a similar trajectory to Star and Dawson.

Neither Charles nor Morphe have responded to Insider’s multiple requests for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 creators and a lawyer share how social media bans work, and the best way to safeguard your account

fitness influencer
Accidentally playing copyrighted music in the background of your video can put your account at risk.

  • When influencers or creators are banned for known or unknown reasons, it can impact their income.
  • Three creators and a lawyer shared their experiences with social media bans.
  • They advised avoiding using third-party content and being cautious while livestreaming.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Getting banned on social media isn’t just a nuisance for influencers and creators. Oftentimes these platforms are a huge part of their livelihood – and the longer they’re unable to create content and share it with their audience, the more money they lose out on.

Bans are often instituted by a platform for reasons including harassment, bullying, or copyright or policy violations, but they can also happen for unknown reasons or by accident.

They’re also surprisingly common: Twitter suspended roughly 925,000 accounts during the first half of 2020 alone, and, in June 2019, Instagram conducted a “meme page purge,” removing accounts with a combined reach of 30 million followers. Those pages’ creators lost out on tens of thousands of dollars in placements, sponsorships, and advertising income.

Three creators and a lawyer shared how to avoid getting removed from a platform.

Know the risks of using third-party materials

A 30-year-old influencer who goes by the name Produced By Blanco has been making music professionally since 2018. He’s worked with artists signed to major labels including Atlantic, Roc Nation, Sony, Columbia, Republic, and Universal, has 12,500 followers on Instagram, and has driven millions of views on YouTube.

© Produced By Blanco
Produced By Blanco.

Blanco told Insider he avoids terms-of-use violations, like sharing unauthorized content, by only sharing his own content or content made by artists he’s worked with.

“It’s the safest route,” Eric Lauritsen, a Los Angeles-based music industry attorney who’s represented clients who’ve been banned from platforms like Twitch and TikTok, told Insider. But creators don’t have to follow Blanco’s all-or-nothing approach as long as they understand the risks.

“To be safe, make it a policy not to use material owned by third parties,” he said. “But, if you intend to use third-party material anyway, you may be OK doing it, but at a minimum, accept the fact that a third-party will claim the revenue or your content is at risk of removal. Some parties may go further though and may want to pursue a claim against you for statutory damages,” he added, citing the landmark Napster case in 2000, where Metallica sued for $100,000 in damages per song illegally downloaded on the site.

Most social media platforms treat the use of copyrighted material the same, whether it’s by accident (for example, someone else’s song playing in the background of your livestream) or on purpose (like blatantly stealing it). And saying “no copyright infringement” won’t protect you, either.

Control as much of your content as possible

Matthew Pettito, 18, has 3.8 million followers on TikTok, 192,000 followers on Instagram, 26,000 followers on Twitch, and is sponsored by energy-drink company Bang Energy. He first downloaded TikTok in July 2019 and said he had one million followers by June 2020.

© Matthew Petitto
Matthew Petitto.

He began livestreaming on TikTok to start making money through the TikTok Creator Program (per the Creator terms, you need at least 1,000 followers to be eligible to monetize your livestream). While hosting a TikTok livestream one night, Pettito was also on Omegle, a free app that facilitates chats with strangers online.

“There are no community guidelines, so it’s not uncommon for people on the website to be saying or doing vulgar things,” Pettito told Insider. “I was on track to make $1,000 that night, and all of a sudden, I was removed from the app and banned for 48 hours.” He lost the $1,000 due to the vulgar comment being picked up on his livestream.

Pettito recommended other influencers use caution while streaming live “because you can’t edit or take back anything,” he said. Some users even record livestream content and upload it to other platforms, so whatever you say or do can take on a life of its own – for better or worse.

Consider hiring an attorney if you have a significant amount of money at stake

Dakota Elder, 27, had his YouTube account banned in 2019 and his TikTok account banned in 2020. At the time, he said he had 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and 500,000 followers on TikTok.

© Dakota Elder
Dakota Elder.

He told Insider he still doesn’t know why either account was banned and didn’t hear back from either platform when he asked why. Elder was on track to make about $2,500 in revenue the following month from both accounts.

“There’s going to be a lot of variation depending on the terms of use of the site and the user’s activity before the ban,” Lauritsen said about why platforms may not reveal the reason behind the ban. “The site may not even be obligated to provide a reason.”

Elder now has over 4.4 million followers on his new TikTok profile but chose not to recreate his YouTube channel. Despite being permanently banned from both, he created the new TikTok account by just signing up again.

“Making the new account was smooth as butter,” he said. “I had no problems, and I haven’t had an issue since the first video on the new account.” It was easy to sign back up again, he said, although he couldn’t access the old account, followers, or content.

Taking the revenue hit was likely the most cost-effective option for Elder, but for creators with a significant amount of money at stake, consulting an attorney could be worth it.

“I have seen scenarios where clients had music taken down from streaming services, reached out, did not receive a response, then hired me to follow up and I was able to get information,” Lauritsen said. “There is an extra air of legitimacy using an attorney to at least help get you more information.

Read the original article on Business Insider

YouTube is testing hiding dislike counts to stop ‘targeted campaigns’ against creators and protect their well-being

YouTube
  • YouTube is experimenting with removing public “dislike” counts on some videos.
  • The aim is to protect creator well-being by heading off “targeted dislike campaigns.”
  • The company called it a “small experiment” and did not say how many creators were involved.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

YouTube is testing hiding “dislike” counts on videos as a way of stopping users from ganging up on creators.

“In response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns, we’re testing a few new designs that don’t show the public dislike count,” YouTube said in a statement.

It said some creators would see the design change over the next few weeks as part of “this small experiment.”

The change is targeted at preventing a phenomenon known as “dislike mobs,” when an online group deliberately target a video with dislikes en masse.

In 2019, YouTube’s then-director of product management Tom Leung said options for preventing dislike mobs were being “lightly discussed” inside the company.

Creators will still be able to see how many dislikes they’ve had on a video by using in-house analytics.

YouTube did not say how how many creators would be trialling its new design, and did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

YouTube is temporarily demonetizing David Dobrik’s channels following a rape allegation against his former Vlog Squad cohort Dom Durte

david dobrik
David Dobrik speaks onstage during Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards on March 13, 2021.

YouTube has temporarily blocked David Dobrik and now former Vlog Squad member Dominykas Zeglaitis, also known as Durte Dom, from making money off ads on its platform following a rape allegation against Zeglaitis.

“We have strict policies that prohibit sexual harassment on YouTube and take allegations of sexual assault very seriously. We have temporarily suspended monetization on David Dobrik and Durte Dom channels for violating our Creator Responsibility policy,” a YouTube spokesperson told Insider.

YouTube said it had suspended monetization for three channels operated by Dobrik – David Dobrik, David Dobrik Too, and “Views,” a video podcast co-hosted by Dobrik and Jason Nash – as well as Zeglaitis’ personal channel.

On March 16, Insider’s Kat Tenbarge reported that a woman who had appeared in a 2018 video about group sex with members of the Vlog Squad said she was raped by Zeglaitis and that the video’s portrayal of the sex as consensual was inaccurate.

After Dobrik initially sought to distance himself from the allegations in a video last week, he then posted a second video on Monday apologizing for not originally taking the allegations seriously and saying “I fully believe the woman.”

Zeglaitis has not commented publicly on the allegations and declined to comment when Insider contacted him in early March.

The fallout has been swift, with a wave of advertisers, sponsors, and investors, distancing themselves from the group.

Dobrik’s podcast “Views” has lost sponsors including Honey, DoorDash, and HelloFresh, while EA Sports, which once gave Dobrik a Lamborghini, said it has no future plans to work with him, and SeatGeek is also “reviewing” its sponsorship. Dispo, a photo-sharing app cofounded by Dobrik, has also lost investors including Lime CEO Wayne Ting and venture capital firm Spark Capital.

Read the original article on Business Insider