James Charles sparks backlash after pretending to be pregnant

James Charles has sparked social media backlash for his most recent Instagram post and YouTube video.

The 21-year-old beauty YouTuber took to his socials to promote his new video titled “24 Hours Being PREGNANT!!” which he created as a challenge after his friend Laura Mellado, who is pregnant, said that he couldn’t last more than 24 hours being pregnant. The video followed Charles through a day of tasks and challenges, including a contraction simulator, while he wore a fake pregnant belly.

James Charles.Amy Sussman

In the video, the YouTuber offered a disclaimer before the challenges began, saying, “This video is not being made in any way, shape, or form to make fun of, to make light of pregnancies and the sensitivities and the complications that come around it.”

“It’s obviously such a beautiful, beautiful thing that women go through with their bodies and it takes a whole lot of strength as well,” he continued. “I know firsthand from watching Laura do it twice now. This is just a lighthearted video to see if I can last for 24 hours experiencing some of the ‘challenges’ that are even possible for me to actually experience today.”

Charles, who has 25.5 million followers on YouTube and 26.8 million on Instagram, also noted that a portion of the proceeds from the video to different charities that help women through pregnancy complications.

One of the challenges was to participate in a faux maternity shoot. He took to Instagram to share one of the snaps from the shoot, captioning the post, “Surprise… 🤰🏻💕 new video out now.”

There were mixed thoughts from fans on social media with some calling Charles out for the “very insensitive” post in his comments.

“I love you James,” a fan wrote. “But be ready to expect backlash. This wasn’t a good move. It’s very insensitive & I’m generally not a sensitive person. Sorry bud. This ain’t right.”

Another fan wrote, “Umm this is not a joke?..this is not ok?..are you guys seriously allowing this to be okay..?”

“This is a big ✨NO✨ very insensitive and any backlash you get you deserve,” a commenter added.

A Twitter user shared a short clip from the video where someone behind the camera tells Charles that his faux maternity shoot is “very Halsey,” writing, “halsey literally had endometriosis. for him or his team to say ‘very halsey’ while he’s taking FAKE pregnancy photos is f–king disgusting and it mocks everything that she’s been through.”

The “Without Me” singer announced last month that she was pregnant. Halsey has been open in the past about her previous miscarriage as well as her endometriosis diagnosis.

Some fans defended Charles in the comments of his video, with one user writing, “I’ve been pregnant twice and trying for a third. Not offended at all. I would love to hook my husband up to a contraction machine.”

Charles seemingly addressed the backlash on his stories, simply sharing a screenshot of one of the positive comments left bya fan on his YouTube videos.

“As a woman who was never able to havechildren, I wanted to see the video everyone was flipping out about,” the comment read. “I did not start watching it with any expectations of feeling angry. And after watching the video I still did not feel any anger or see any disrespect on, James’, part. James, used the gear exactly for the same reason it is available for anyone to use. And that is to feel what it would be like to be pregnant.”

They continued, adding, “People really need to find more important things to protest & be angry about. How about becoming angry about all those children born in the US that go without food? We are not living in a Country with any food shortages even in the slightest.”

“That is something very real that you should become angry about and protest,” they concluded the comment. “Something else to note: At the end of the video, James, says a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Charities for women who have trouble with their pregnancies. I think that’s pretty freaking decent.”