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YouTube star James Charles brought this city to a complete standstill
There was so much traffic people had to abandon their cars overnight.
James Charles doesn’t want fans showing up unannounced at his house. But when the YouTube star ventures out into the real world, the beauty vlogger maintains the power to shut down a major city.
That was the scene on Saturday in Birmingham, England—population of more than 1.1 million people—when Charles was supposed to make a 30-second appearance at a Morphe cosmetics store, according to the Guardian. Instead, as the newspaper reported, Birmingham “was brought to a standstill” as “motorists abandoning cars and the city gridlocked for hours after thousands of teenagers” invaded a shopping mall in the middle of the city.
It sounded awfully chaotic.
I can’t believe this is my life pic.twitter.com/TOvGjNsk5d
— James Charles (@jamescharles) January 26, 2019
According to the BBC, the city council didn’t know about the event beforehand, but if it would have been informed of Charles’ visit, the council would have created a traffic management plan, similar to what the city might produce for Chinese New Year and Pride festivals. The BBC wrote that some people grew so frustrated with the traffic jam that they abandoned their cars overnight.
Charles—who has 13.8 million subscribers on his YouTube page—has become a mainstream superstar. At a meet-and-greet event in Toronto earlier this month, he said 10,000 fans showed up, and his recent collaboration with Kylie Jenner drew more than 25 million views to his vlog. On Saturday, he was in town to cut the ribbon on the new cosmetics store before participating in a meet-and-greet with 250 fans.
Those who didn’t get the chance to meet him apparently wanted to connect with him anyway by screaming their appreciation.
— James Charles (@jamescharles) January 28, 2019
But Charles would prefer you say hello when you’re not on his property in Los Angeles. In a recent video, he lambasted fans who visited him at his house.
“Please stop showing up at my house,” he wrote in December. “I will not hug you, I will not take a photo with you, and I absolutely will not sign your palette. It is extremely disrespectful & makes me feel very unsafe in my own home. Respect people’s privacy, it’s really not that hard. … This is my home. If I see you in public, I would love to give you a hug, I would love to take a selfie with you.”
Turns out trying to get to him in public isn’t so easy either.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.