Beauty over brains

CoverGirl’s new cover boy fires off racist tweet and bizarre apology

CoverGirls’ first ever “Cover Boy,” James Charles fired off a racist anti-Africa tweet yesterday and people are pissed. The tweet, which has since been deleted, joked about Africa being a disease-ridden place where he may catch Ebola:


Not only is the tweet not funny, but it’s factually inaccurate. Last month, the World Health Organization said the continent of Africa was now clear of Ebola.

After people got upset about the tweet, 17-year-old James fired off a hastily-written apology:

A short while later, he posted a longer apology, saying he “felt like sh*t” for what he had said. Then he referred to Africa and a “country” and that he looked forward to exploring it and “learning much more about the people and culture”:

When people pointed out to him that Africa is a continent not a country, James issued a response to his second apology:

He followed that up with a third apology:

At this point, we think it’s safe to assume James’ publicist must have finally stepped in because the tweeting stopped. His usually very active account hasn’t had a new post in nearly 24 hours.

James will be in South Africa for the next 10 days as part of this “educational” trip. Here’s hoping he learns a thing or two while he’s away.

Related: James Charles Announced As CoverGirl’s First Male Spokesmodel

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  • DCguy

    Honestly his first apology was better than the majority of politicians apologies. He took responsibility for it. Politicians just use that B.S. “I’m sorry if you were offended” crap.


    No words

  • MarionPaige

    con con controversy. where would we be without con con controversy?

    Fortunately, or, unfortunately …

    The media is currently too fixated on Pewdiepie to care about Cover Girl Guy.

  • ChrisK

    Damn. I came here expecting some real controversy. This? Meh.

  • sanfranderek

    Ignorant yes, but racist, that’s a stretch.
    He’s also 17, remember all the stupid things we said at 17 without thinking.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      Sarah Palin called Africa a “country” and she was a lot older than 17!

    • blinkn

      Trayvon Martin was 17 and nobody gave him the benefit of the doubt… but please keep telling black people how they need to be more understanding. Like how all those black people forgave the white who walked into a church and murdered 9 people… Y’all have so much nerve and no respect.

    • dean3000

      Blinkin. That’s the truth. These people pretend no one is racist as they don’t see themselves as racist even though they are. It’s pure ignorance, best to leave them to it

  • starkraver

    When in doubt, look it up next time … assuming there is a next time.

  • KaiserVonScheiss

    He did nothing wrong.

    • Giancarlo85

      Oh hey goosestepper… You would agree.

    • CaliKyle

      Goosestepper? Why? Because he has a Germanic surname? Using bigotry to fight bigotry is both hpocritical and ineffective. This cover boy kid did not post a racist tweet. He made a lame attempt at humor. Mentioning Africa and ebola in the same sentence does not a racist make. This knee jerk hypersensitivity serves no useful purpose.

    • Binary Void

      What he said may have not been for sure racist but what he did was still wrong and ignorant. Ebola virus disease (EVD) has claimed over 11,000 lives in mostly Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. This may not effect your personal life, assuming that you live in a developed country, but these are real tragedies that effect real people. He is visiting Africa and is a representative of Vogue. He’s still young but that doesn’t mean he’s free from responsibility. What was also ignorant is that he made this statement when Ebola was already declared no longer an emergency on March 29, 2016 by the International Health Regulations. A simple Google search of “ebola” would have enlightened him especially when it shows up in the first 5 link results. Educate yourself.

    • KaiserVonScheiss


      “Oh hey goosestepper… You would agree.”

      Nein, Ich bin ein Monarchist.

      This is what I’ve noticed about the left. They are weak-minded, oversensitive, and pusillanimous. They even think that being weak is a virtue. They truly disgust me. So many on the left would like nothing better than the destruction of the West and its liberal values.

  • Kieran

    Doesn’t he know he’s only allowed to make jokes about Trump as a gay man? Didn’t he get the memo?

    • DCguy

      Your derangement syndrome is showing.

      You have so embraced the right wing victim label that you can’t even read a posting about a make-up models comments without sobbing like a 5th grade princess about Trump being picked on.

      Seriously, if hate yourself so much that you can’t wait to drop your pants for somebody who stated clearly they would appoint judges to harm you, that is fine, but spare us your mismatched baggage.

    • blinkn

      Seriously… you are who would turn this mistake into thing trying to minimize it. Bravo on making yourself the victim instead of continent full of people who suffered through the ordeal and horrors of Ebola only to have to also endure the ignorance of privileged ass ignorant white person who happens to be gay spreading misinformation and fear about Africa like it’s one country constantly under siege of Ebola.

      Are black gay men allowed to take issue with this, did I miss your memo about that one?


    He’s clearly a nazi

    • CaliKyle

      Lol, snark.

  • Bob LaBlah

    It seems hard to believe anything this malnourished, Andrew Christian jockstrap wearing twink says could be taken serious. Sadly, it was by too many. Dear, I advise you to wear normal Fruit of the Loom undies (the style that covers your entire rear end) whilst over there. Once you go black, you won’t come back, Ebola be damned.

    • frankcar1965

      I don’t think a jockstrap is what he wants to wear. Maybe some pretty panties, but not a jockstrap.

    • Kangol

      White racist twink, who’d a thunk it? LOL

  • bbg372

    WHO said no such thing. The latest outbreak is over, and the most recently affected countries have no new infections, but that does not mean that the continent has been cleared of the disease. In fact, five of the six countries where Ebola is considered active are in West Africa. Of those, four have been considered clear four times in the last two years, only to experience flare ups again. So his joke was not factually incorrect.

    • SumSay

      Still a tasteless and tacky joke. Africa has 50+ countries, he didn’t mention any specific one until the apologies came in.


    There must be a middle way between the Milos and this nonsense, surely? Although I’m despairing as I sense the likely answer

  • Uppity

    If he’s on a 12-month contract, CoverGirl will quietly drop him at the end of it. Watch this space. He blew his 15 minutes of fame.

  • damon459

    Is this now the queer national enquirer? Seriously the stories to desperate and overblown.

    • Binary Void

      This is not a desperate story. This is pretty serious. He’s visiting Africa. He is not only a representative of Vogue but a representative of the United States. His presence may also carry influence in parts of the African LGBT community. Ebola has claimed over 11,000 lives in mostly Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Many of those deaths included LGBT people who lived in poor areas. He is young, but not young enough to understand what responsibility and self-control means.

    • Binary Void

      not understand*

  • brandon

    Damn. This author, Graham Gremore, is viscous.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      Viscous? Graham Gremore has been accused of many things, but does he fit this dictionary description?:

      “Viscous (adj.): having a thick, sticky consistency between solid and liquid.”

      Maybe after sex?

  • Giancarlo85

    He was very wrong, but he did admit he is young and ignorant. Maybe he will learn. Some older nutcases never learn (Trump voters).

  • dwes09

    1. He is a spokesperson for makeup (cleverness and a decent smile are much more valuable than intellect in his position).
    2.He is a kid, and likely a sheltered one.
    3.Though there was no Ebola epidemic in South Africa, there is nothing racist about the recognition that Africa is the source of the disease and where essentially everyone infected got it.

    • Binary Void

      It may have not been racist but it was for sure ignorant. He’s a kid but he’s old enough to take responsibility of his own actions and shouldn’t be coddled. He has family and friends for that. Ebola has claimed over 11,000 lives in mostly Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Many of those deaths included LGBT people who lived in poor areas. I could only imagine what trans activists in Africa thought about this. I’m sure they’re okay but I could safely guess that some were a little disappointed like some of us were in the states.

    • DarkZephyr

      @Binary Void

      “It may have not been racist but it was for sure ignorant. He’s a kid but he’s old enough to take responsibility of his own actions and shouldn’t be coddled.”

      And he did take responsibility. Ever plan on acknowledging that?

    • KaiserVonScheiss


      Mein Gott!

      We agree on something. Hath hell frozen over?

    • dean3000

      And gay people are full of aids. Nothing bigoted about recognising that all that bum sex and stuff.

      Why don’t you just say you hate brown people and leave it at that

  • Doughosier

    Those poor people traumatized by his first tweet. It will be years before they recover.

  • IDoNotHaveToAgreeWithYou

    That wasn’t a racist comment and Africa is full of diseases. And yes Ebola will come back. It’s been around for decades and it dies down and reappears. Those are facts. if you don’t like it you are as against science as the republicans are.

    • Binary Void

      I don’t think it was a racist comment either but Africa is full of diseases the same way any other developing or developed country is full of diseases. Let’s not pretend our shit doesn’t smell in the US too: heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, etc.

    • mhoffman953

      @BinaryVoid Those are non-communicable diseases. You can’t catch those from contact with other people

      The big question here should be why is a man the face of Cover Girl?

  • alanballs

    An adorable and sexy young man. I personally wish him well in life. Anyone who purports to have never misspoke, or made an error is lying. Much ado about nothing…..

    • Binary Void

      Because everyone has lied once before, what he did is no big deal? I wish him well too but he needs to be held accountable for his actions. Ebola has claimed over 11,000 lives. Many of them included LGBT Africans. He is not only a representative of Vogue but a representative of the United States. His presence may also carry influence in parts of the African LGBT community.

  • ph123

    Poor taste? Absolutely. Racist? Hardly. Frankly the only racist thing I see is labeling this behavior as racist simply because the guy said he might get Ebola in Africa. And he’s 17. Jeez.

  • blinkn

    The thing is a lot of people would probably let this go, much like myself UNTIL you read the comments section from what are clearly other white gay guys try TOO hard to minimize this start to piss me off.

    Y’all turn a mistake into a thing that folks start to focus on and associate with this kid, James.

    • DarkZephyr

      His comment was ignorant but not racist, so the fact that you are making it an issue about his defenders’ race is a little weird.

    • blinkn

      I didn’t say whether they are racist or not BUT the fact that mostly white men insist on deciding on what is or is not racist that is directed at black people does matter. Especially when those same white men would be pissed off if a bunch of straight people tried to defend what is and is not homophobic.

      The fact that he was traveling to Africa makes all this “ignorance” talk feel like bullshit.

  • caguy60

    Lol what a freak. Honestly, is this what men look like nowadays?

  • OzJosh

    This says more about the standard of education in the US than anything else. How does anyone get to 17 and not know that Africa is a continent? I once told and American colleague I’d worked in Indonesia. Her response: “Oh, I’ve always wanted to go to Africa!”

  • Ken A.

    Well, his career as cover boy is short lived. People do not forgive easily, I’m sure they’re writing letters of outrage to P&G and demanding his termination.

  • Captain Obvious

    I love how people are always calling black people homophobic across the board and blaming the entirety of homophobic violence on black people. Yet any time someone white does anything on the same level it’s immediately to be covered up, forgiven, and whitewashed away.

    You people make me sick.

  • Bryguyf69

    I had never heard of him but the headline made be ready to respond hatefully and forcefully. Then I read the story. As many people have stated, i see ignorance but where is the racism or hatred? I know plenty of people, including African-Americans, who’d make the same quip as well as the same factual mistake. And that’s saying a lot because I do medical research, partly in ID (Infectious Diseases). I can definitely see some of our nurses and support staff saying something along those lines. Indeed, when I started out in HIV research, many of my gay and African/Haitian-American colleagues and patients made morbid gay/racial (as opposed to racist) comments much worse than this. And many of them were quite funny.

    The bottom line is that he expressed a fear that was valid not too long ago. He did not denigrate a race, culture or even a region. It’s no different than the CDC telling pregnant women to avoid certain areas because of Zika. I see no need for an apology other than stating that Africa’s it’s not a country and Ebola is now under control.

  • Neonegro

    Actually black Africa and many parts of the developing world is full of communicable diseases.

    And he is visiting South Africa with its incredibly high rate of HIV infection.

    The kid is correct.

    • Xzamilloh

      No, he’s not correct. Ebola has been eradicated from Africa for over a year now. There’s no need for the witch hunt (which I equate to sheer jealousy), but no, there’s no truth behind that “joke”

    • Neonegro

      Read my post again.

      Ebola has not been eradicated, it is just under control for now.

    • Xzamilloh

      I read your post… he said nothing about HIV, he was talking about Ebola which he has no real chance of catching. You jumped to HIV, not him or anyone else.

  • inbama

    The only difference in this child’s associating Africa with disease from the bashers who once joked “GAY” stood for “Got AIDS yet?” is intention.

    Given our gender-nonconforming hero doesn’t know a country from a continent, I will have to give “them” the benefit of the doubt.

  • dean3000

    Omg I’m going to a gay club I hope I don’t get aids.

    Not funny is it?

    • Xzamilloh

      Actually, it is. Jimmy Carr had a funny, yet really offensive joke about Africa. “If only Africa had more mosquito nets, every year we could save millions of mosquitoes from dying needlessly of AIDS.”

      I’m sorry, but the kid was obviously joking, and even though it wasn’t funny (in the sense that I didn’t laugh), intent definitely matters. Twitter isn’t the machine you go on to test jokes though, because SJWs are there ready to be offended over something and browbeat you into apologizing and taking your livelihood away.

      And before the usual suspects come in with their “Uncle Tom” and “Coon” remarks, my responses about free speech and comedy have been consistent…. so sorry I don’t see color in everything and feel the need to play the identity politics game with a bunch of crybullies.

    • Johnathan

      Oh please not even the same thing. Ebola can be air born, they don’t know for sure how it’s contracted. Even the doctors got it. So it is scary. You have to exchange bodily fluids to get HIV. So being in a gay bar & catching HIV is ludarcris.

    • SumSay


      The more you know right? The concept is the same, the more you know about something the less you make preconceived notions about it. Everyone thought AIDS was a “gay” disease until years of study and research proved otherwise AND that it could be controlled. The same is becoming true with ebola.

  • Xzamilloh

    These constant cries of racism do a terrible disservice to those of us who have actually experienced it and do experience it. It wasn’t [email protected]… it was a stupid joke that harmed no one. Walter Scott was gunned down by a white police officer in broad daylight on camera, and STILL walked… those are the real racial injustices, but of course since those are real, no one gives a damn about those. No, let’s go after some twink with painted on freckles and way too much foundation on who looks like he literally couldn’t harm a fly because it’s half his weight. Not to mention, he apologized, and people are STILL calling for him to be fired, hence why I am a “stand by what you say and mean it” kind of girl.

    • Bryguyf69

      Xzamilloh wrote: “It wasn’t [email protected]…”

      FYI, Queerty finally came to its senses and removed “racist” from its list of automatically-censored words. No need to use, “[email protected]” unless it’s some sort of avant garde linguistic statement…

    • Heywood Jablowme

      @Bryguy69: Glad to hear it! I’ll try it out.

      @Xzamilloh: I’ve learned to trust your opinion on stuff like this. He’s an easy target, while the REAL racists get away. Similarly – going a bit out on a limb here – a lot of gay etc millennials have never been physically beat up for being gay. Maybe that’s why they’re so quick to take offense at extremely minor points of verbal and online terminology. Older gay men like me, who remember being physically assaulted on a regular basis, in school and often later, tend to be mystified by this. (I was bashed almost to DEATH once in my 20s. So yeah, if I get called a bad word online, I’m unlikely to faint over it. Maybe in person, lol.) I’m not saying that gay millennials deserve a beating, just that they could put this stuff in perspective. After all it’s not like gay-bashings – or even lynchings – are totally a thing of the past.

  • Johnathan

    This millennial witch hunt has to stop. Every MF thing is racist. Or politically incorrect! Who gives a S**T … it was just statement about EBOLA for gods sake. And it lives, breeds , in AFRICA… HELLO DUH ? STFU about racism. Sick of hearing it. We had a African American president for 8 years we’re not a racist country. We are entitled to our opinion and fre speech.

    • mhoffman953

      I agree. If we keep citing everything and everyone as racist, then when something truly is racist, the general public will just roll their eyes. I was watching a video on Youtube the other day and there was a commercial from the Truth campaign about cigarette smoke. The ad tried saying that tobacco companies are racist because they advertise to black people.

      The conversation on race can never progress if it immediately devolves into “you’re a racist”. Identity politics will collapse on itself as we’re already seeing

  • jonasalden

    I meant “too” many people. Damned auto-correct.

  • Chris

    The kid fired off a tweet that, at best, was ignorant and, at worst, was racist. But then, he owned what he did and apologized. End of that story.

    Now in a related story: he called Africa a country. Maybe he meant to write South Africa (where he actually IS going) but left out the word South; or maybe, he got confused because the term “America” refers to both a country and a couple of continents; or maybe, he really could use a basic geography course. But at worst, what he did strikes me as ignorance without malicious intent.

    As Xzamilloh points out, real Black people are getting shot and killed. Could the ire being expressed here could be directed at those situations????

  • Terrycloth

    Who can take a kid at 17 who puts his eyebrows on with a magic marker seriously?
    Did he float through school ? Dosent he have a manager or a PR person to guide him ? ..stay off social media with your texts or tweets it will cost you your job….otherwise .next werid response from him in 3….2….1

  • tham

    Making a joke about maybe getting Ebola going to Africa is childish hodophobia.

    If he tweeted out that he’s doesn’t want to sit next to a black person cause he’s afraid he’d get Ebola, that would be rasicts.

    There’s a difference.

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