Jeffree Star is one of YouTube’s biggest stars. However, his time on the social media platform has not been without controversy. Star has faced accusations of racism and misconduct in the past, but a new report by Business Insider suggests that Star may have engaged in far more malicious behavior in the past. Several accusers have come forward alleging that Star sexually assaulted, physically assaulted, and bribed people over the years.
Who Are Star’s Accusers?
Star carefully crafted a persona in the late 00’s that included being edgy, offensive, and shocking. However, according to a report by Insider, those portrayals are less persona and more fatal personality flaw.
Several people who knew Star during his days as a MySpace maven and Warped Tour peers have come forward with new accusations that paint a picture of a predator who uses his position and wealth to cause harm to others, and try to avoid the consequences of his behavior.
One of the accusers is then-17-year-old homeless teenager Gage Arthur. Arthur initially rejected Star’s advances, but said Star didn’t exactly take no for an answer.
What Are the Sexual Assault Allegations?
Aside from the more-well-known stories of Star grabbing men’s crotches without permission, Arthur makes even more sinister allegations.
Insider writes, “In 2008, Gage Arthur was a 17-year-old in Austin, Texas, with dreams of becoming famous on the internet. He began building a fanbase on Myspace and Stickam. That year Arthur’s roommate, also a Stickam entertainer, invited a friend from LA to visit their apartment in Austin: Jeffree Star.
Over the course of four interviews with Insider that took place during this summer, Arthur said Star sexually pursued him soon after meeting him, starting at that Austin apartment, even though Arthur identifies as straight.
In 2009, Arthur moved to Los Angeles to join his more-internet-famous peers. Once he arrived, he struggled with homelessness and spent time couch-surfing with friends. In November 2009, a little over a year after their first meeting, Arthur said Star invited him to stay at his apartment and the two shared Star’s bed.
On November 11, 2009 — the first night that Arthur was to crash at Star’s place, according to public social-media posts — Arthur and Star went to see a movie with two friends. During the film, Arthur said, Star tried to hold his hand, but Arthur resisted. According to Arthur, Star attacked him with a taser in the theater parking lot after the movie in retaliation. That night, Arthur told Insider, Star gave him Ambien pills until he was intoxicated, then performed nonconsensual oral sex on him.”
The report continues, “…Insider spoke with other people who reported that Star had groped them or that they had seen Star grope others without permission.
On May 19, 2007, Star performed at a venue called Bitoz Pizzeria, in Anchorage, Alaska. There, Britain Strah, who’d just turned 18, said Star groped him before his performance began.
Strah, who worked sound and other production roles at Bitoz, said he was wearing Spandex shorts that night. Strah said the venue’s owner introduced him to Star and made a comment to Star about the shorts that Strah was wearing, after which Strah said Star reached down and groped his genitals.
‘I was just kind of shocked,’ Strah told Insider. ‘After a while it dawned on me that it was pretty f—ed up. When the ‘Me Too’ stuff started happening, all these things that seemed to be smaller transgressions were coming out, and I was like ‘Woah, wait a second, I was assaulted.’ It had never really clicked.'”
What Are the Physical Assault Allegations?
Aside from using a taser on Arthur in a clear case of physical assault, Star has a history of being violent. In one incident, he struck out at a teenage girl who touched his crotch, yanking her arm violently and threatening her.
Star Used Bribery to Silence Critics and Accusers
According to his accusers, Star has a history of using his wealth to bribe people into staying silent about him. Before Arthur spoke with Insider about his accusations, he approached a gay-rights advocate, Chris Avery Bennett, who had experienced harassment and bullying at the hands of Star.
Shortly after Insider reached out to Star’s lawyer looking for a response to Arthur’s accusations, Arthur began recanting his account. He sent a message to Bennett that read, “The events I discussed with Business Insider were from many years ago. I am not sure I am remembering things correctly, and I may have misinterpreted things. I’ve decided to retract my communications to Business Insider and told them they don’t have authority to publish anything I discussed with them. To resolve all of this, Jeffree Star has agreed to pay you $10,000 if you choose to do the same.
Send a # and I’ll send it over if you want.”
According to Insider, “Bennet told Insider she refused the ‘attempt to pay 10 grand for my silence.’ Two other sources who had previously told Insider on the record that they had witnessed physical violence by Star subsequently changed their stories after Arthur changed his.
Four hours before sending an email attempting to retract his allegations, one of those people sent text messages to an Insider reporter that said: ‘Gage approached me at midnight with some sort of explanation and deal that I didn’t see until this morning.’
The person then wrote: ‘I’m sure you won’t hear from him again’ and added ‘$.'”
What Accusations Has Star Faced in the Past?
Star has been accused in the past of groping people, although Star claims it was always a consensual joke. The YouTube giant has also faced accusations of racism.
Yahoo! News summarizes his checkered past with racism; “Other clips from his Myspace-era show Star mocking Black women during comedic skits, at one point suggesting that he’d pour battery acid on a Black woman to lighten her skin. Star often instigated public fights on camera, confronting strangers with racist and sexist slurs. He acknowledged some of the language he used in a 2017 apology video and denied being racist.”
Star Uses His Fame to Bully Accusers
Bennett, mentioned previously, experienced merciless bullying at the hands of Star which drove her to attempt suicide. According to Insider, “Chris Avery Bennet, who ran a gay-rights Myspace page and blog as a teenager, told Insider that her first adverse experience with Star was receiving an anonymous email with a picture of a penis, which Bennet believes was Star’s. Later, she said, he unleashed a campaign of digital abuse that had real-world consequences for her.
Bennet, who is transgender and used male pronouns at the time, said she had interacted with Star through an online circle of largely LGBTQ Myspace users. Bennet said she was 15 when she received an email to her now deleted AOL account that contained the nude photo, and she noticed an ice-cream-cone tattoo that seemed to be the same one that Star has on his finger.
Chris Avery Bennet turned down Star’s offer of $10,000 to retract her statements.
Chris Avery Bennet says she turned down Star’s offer of $10,000 to retract her statements. Chris Avery Bennet
Bennet told Insider she never responded to the email, but later, in 2009, reached out on a public Myspace wall to ask Star to share a story of empowerment on her gay-rights page.
‘He replied saying ‘You are f—ing disgusting and nobody will ever take you seriously, stop calling yourself fierce,’ Bennet said. ‘And it turned into an all-out war. Like an absolute all-out war.’
Bennet said that Star’s tirade — which was publicly visible on Myspace — ended up flooding her social-media profiles with harassment from Star’s fans. She said the online abuse contributed to a suicide attempt and subsequent in-patient psychiatric treatment. Insider reviewed medical documentation from Bennet’s in-patient therapy program in 2010.”
What Happens Next?
Insider reports that, “Star’s attorney denied allegations of physical and sexual violence and questioned the reliability of Insider’s sources. After Insider detailed the allegations to Star and his attorney, several people who had made on-the-record claims about Star’s conduct contacted Insider to change their stories.
Insider obtained text messages showing two of the on-the-record sources for this article discussing what they said was a $10,000 offer from Star to recant their allegations. One accuser and two claimed witnesses — all of whom had provided on-the-record accounts to Insider in which they said they saw or experienced Star engaging in violence — ultimately did change their stories.”
Since Star seems very good at intimidating or bribing his accusers, it’s unlikely that any of these allegations will see the inside of a court. Star is infamous for his poor behavior on the internet, but this takes it to another level. If racism, sexual assault, and bullying aren’t enough to turn people away from being Jeffree Star fans, what is?
Hard to say, since the YouTube mega-star’s popularity hasn’t seemed to wane. Eventually Star will have to address these new accusations, and if that happens we will bring you any updates. For now, with any luck, Star will realize that these things are in the open now and he can’t avoid responsibility any longer.