A YouTube rep confirmed that Charles won’t be returning to the show but declined to provide a reason. Previously, the video platform had announced that he would be hosting a second season.
“We can confirm Season 2 of the YouTube originals series ‘Instant Influencer’ will take a new creative direction, including a new host,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. “We thank James for a great first season, and look forward to building on the show’s success by expanding the opportunity to showcase a diversity of creators across the YouTube platform in our upcoming season.”
YouTube’s decision comes about a month after a TikTok user who claimed to be 16 claimed he was being “groomed” by Charles. The accuser said Charles, 21, sent unsolicited nude photos via Snapchat and that Charles urged him to send nude selfies in return. In a statement, Charles said, “The accusation that I have groomed this person is completely false.” According to Charles, the individual initially claimed he was 18; after he “admitted he was 16,” Charles cut off all contact with the teen. “After false allegations like this in the past, I would never knowingly engage with someone underage and put my life on the line for a few Snapchats,” Charles said.
A second season of “Instant Influencer” is still a go at YouTube. That will feature a new host and creators from a different category (not beauty or makeup). The YouTube rep said the new host and additional details for Season 2 will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Instant Influencer With James Charles” garnered over 53 million views in its first month alone after debuting in April 2020, and it won the 2020 Streamy Awards trophy for show of the year. The “Project Runway”-style show picked one emerging beauty artist as the winner of a $50,000 cash prize. Of the six contestants, the winner of “Instant Influencer” was Ashley Strong, whose Instagram following has grown to more than 740,000 since the show.
The four-part series was produced by Brian Graden Media and featured celebrity guest judges Instagram beauty influencer Norvina, Paris Hilton and Trixie Mattel.
James Charles gained widespread notice in 2016 as CoverGirl’s first male spokesperson. His YouTube channel currently has more than 25 million subscribers and more than 3.3 billion views to date.
In 2019, Charles was embroiled in a controversy after beauty vlogger Tati Westbrook accused him of betraying their friendship (by posting an endorsement of a vitamin supplement that competed with her own company’s products) and trying to “trick a straight man into thinking he’s gay.” Charles subsequently apologized to Westbrook (and his fans) and uploaded a lengthy video about the situation that went viral.