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.

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James Charles’ underage sexting scandal lands makeup brand Morphe in hot water

James Charles
Influencer James Charles recently addressed allegations that he was having inappropriate conversations with minors on Snapchat.

  • James Charles recently addressed accusations that he had flirtatious conversations with minors on Snapchat.
  • He apologized for being ‘reckless’ and said he was unaware that they were underage when the interactions began.
  • Makeup brand Morphe is being criticized for not speaking out against Charles and continuing to promote his products.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Makeup brand Morphe is being called out by consumers and influencers for staying silent following a video from YouTube beauty guru James Charles, in which he addressed accusations that he’s had sexual interactions with underage fans over Snapchat.

On Thursday April 1, Charles – who is one of the biggest beauty influencers in the world, with more than 25 million YouTube subscribers and 36 million TikTok followers – posted a video acknowledging that he had sexually charged conversations with two 16-year-old boys who he added on Snapchat. He said that at the time he believed them to be 18 and that he blocked them once he became aware of their age.

A number of similar accusations against Charles have been made in recent weeks, primarily in the form of viral TikTok videos posted by the boys who say they had flirtatious or sexual conversations with Charles. In his apology video, Charles said he had been “reckless” and that he needed to “take accountability for my actions and most importantly apologize to the people that were affected by them.”

Now, pressure is mounting on brands that have previously aligned themselves with Charles to speak out and distance themselves from him. Followers are singling out Morphe, a makeup company that has been closely associated with Charles since it released a hugely successful eyeshadow palette in collaboration with him in November 2018. Morphe has since launched a mini version of the palette, as well as two brush sets in collaboration with Charles. One of the brush collections, which is priced at $149, is currently sold out in the US; the rest of the products are still available to purchase on Morphe’s website.

On Sunday, internet reporter Def Noodles, who has close to 100,000 Twitter followers and has amplified the accusers’ stories since they began to emerge, tagged Morphe in a tweet which laid out the accusations against Charles.

It has now been retweeted and quote-tweeted more than 300 times. People asked why Charles still has a platform and encouraged others to stop supporting him. A number of users also tagged Morphe, as well as Nickelodeon, which produces the Kids Choice Awards, which recognized Charles this year. Some added that they will no longer support Morphe as a result of its silence, and drama YouTuber Truth Sleuth, who has more than 50,000 subscribers, is among those who have made videos calling the brand out.

It follows similar criticism from Def Noodles over a post on Morphe’s Instagram on Saturday 3 April which promoted the James Charles palette. Fellow influencer Trisha Paytas, who has used her platform of 1.4 million YouTube subscribers and 5.6 million TikTok followers to frequently criticize Charles, also tweeted to denounce Morphe, calling its continued association with Charles “embarrassing.”

Morphe has yet to address the allegations against Charles or his statements in his apology video. On the brand’s website, a page entitled Morphe x James Charles says: “Step into the crazy-colorful world of our Morphe Babe, James Charles. It’s so, so good!”

“Morphe Babe” is the term used by the brand for loyal customers and influencers it works with. Morphe is known for being one of the first beauty brands to heavily work with online content creators, both in the form of product collaborations and also affiliate programs, which allow influencers to make a small percentage of the revenue of each sale which comes via their unique code. This form of monetization has been criticized for potentially encouraging influencers to promote brands they are affiliated with over other products.

This is not the first time Morphe has found itself facing criticism for its links to controversial influencers. Just last year the brand cut ties with YouTuber Jeffree Star, whose makeup brand was sold in Morphe’s stores, amid controversy following the release of his makeup collaboration with fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson. Dawson and Star – two of the biggest names on the platform with a combined YouTube following of more than 35 million people – became the focus of intense scrutiny last year, much of which focussed on Dawson’s past behavior in YouTube videos, which ranged from using blackface to making jokes about pedophilia.

Insider has reached out to Morphe for comment on its ties to James Charles and has yet to hear back.

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