James Charles exchanged sexually explicit messages with underage fans.
Jeffree Star made racist and transphobic comments and was accused of sexual assault.
Tana Mongeau was racist toward Black creators.
For that they were all canceled, presumably never to be heard from again. But not so fast because these disgraced YouTubers are rising in popularity all over again. It begs the question, is being "canceled" even a real thing? Or just the rallying cry from those facing a modicum of consequence for their own behavior?
In the 2010s when YouTube influencers were living large with tens of millions of subscribers and a constant stream of brand deals, Charles, Star, and Mongeau were some of the most successful. So when accusations of misconduct started flying many thought it would be career-ending, but even though some of these YouTube juggernauts have been canceled multiple times over, they keep rising from the grave, proving that facing backlash from fans doesn’t mean you can’t win them over again on a new platform.
Before becoming embroiled in controversy Star and Charles were both successful beauty gurus and Mongeau drew fans because of her drama-filled “Storytimes.” Now after retreating from the limelight for a short period, all three have resurfaced and are already skyrocketing to fame once again.
Star is spending his time livestreaming on TikTok where he has 5.5 million followers, Charles has over 38 million followers on TikTok where he is creating makeup content and he just recently launched an independent makeup line called “Painted,” and in 2021 Mongeau launched a podcast called “Cancelled” that has millions of listeners and is currently touring the country.
“If you’re being talked about and remembered, that is important, especially now that the industry has become so saturated. If people know you by name, that is a good thing,” Crystal Abidin, a professor of internet studies at Curtin University in Australia, told NBC News.
The repeated success of these three former-YouTubers highlights the fact that your actions have very few consequences in an era when stars seem to be able to bounce back even if they’ve been accused of racism or sexual assault.