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YouTube’s Beauty Wars Are About More Than Makeup

Beauty product reviews on YouTube aren’t just about beauty products and internet capitalism. They’re a conduit for drama, loyalty politics, and “cancel culture," as WIRED’s Emma Grey Ellis has learned throughout her reporting on some of YouTube’s biggest names. This week’s drama is on James Charles, a hugely popular 19-year-old beauty influencer, and Tati Westbrook, an OG YouTube beauty guru and a mentor of Charles. Coachella and hair vitamins were involved. Charles was cancelled (again).

But as Ellis writes, “The real victims of cancel culture might be the rest of us, perpetually required to join the angry mob lest ye be taken for a collaborator.” We talk about this and more on this week’s Gadget Lab podcast.

Show Notes: Read Emma’s story here. Read all about the WhatsApp vulnerability here. Read Casey Newton’s newsletter here on the White House’s call for supposedly politically biased social media content.

Recommendations:Emma recommends the Canadian television series Schitt’s Creek, which is available on Netflix. Arielle recommends a Tamagotchi. Yes, that Tamagotchi. Lauren recommends Knock Down the House, also streaming on Netflix. Mike recommends this New York Times profile of Evan Dando, and has the audacity to recommend you listen to the Lemonheads.

Arielle Pardes can be found at @pardesoteric. Lauren Goode is @laurengoode. Emma Ellis is @emmagreyellis. Michael Calore is on vacation this week, but can be found at @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.

How to ListenYou can always listen to this week's podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here's how:

If you're on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Play Music app just by tapping here. You can also download an app like Pocket Casts or Radio Public, and search for Gadget Lab. And in case you really need it, here's the RSS feed.https://www.wired.com/feed/podcast/gadget-lab

We're also on Soundcloud, and every episode gets posted to WIRED.com as soon as it's released. If you still can't figure it out, or there's another platform you use that we're not on, let us know.

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