- 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.
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.
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.