Budding makeup artist James Charles might have made history as Covergirl’s first spokesman, but the teen has ruffled feathers on social media after joking about the entire continent of Africa having the deadly Ebola virus.
The 17-year-old tweeted the joke on Wednesday (Feb. 15) just before heading on a school trip to South Africa. After fans had slammed the teen, Charles deleted the tweet and allegedly blocked his critics from seeing his page, Affinity Magazine reports.
In 2014, the Ebola virus resurfaced in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea after it was first discovered in 1976. There were approximately 28,616 suspected cases and over 11,00 deaths. The virus was cleared across Africa the year after, except a few cases in Libera. What makes Charles’ joke even more terrible is that Ebola hasn’t affected South Africa since 1996.
After the dragfest and callings for Covergirl to drop the teen as a brand ambassador, Charles issued an apology. He also pointed out that he was quoting a friend and recognized his white privilege in the incident.
— James Charles (@jamescharles) February 16, 2017
In a statement to The Cut, Covergirl made it clear they were bothered by Charles’ tweet but didn’t hint towards a firing. “James Charles’ tweet does not represent COVERGIRL’s perspective. We agree his statements were inappropriate but appreciate that he has issued an apology. We are an inclusive brand and respect all people and cultures,” the statement said.