James Charles is finding that no good deed goes unpunished.
Like many other public figures, the YouTuber took to Twitter on Thursday, Dec. 10 to speak out about the execution of Brandon Bernard, who was sentenced to death in 2000 for his involvement in the murders of Todd and Stacie Bagley. He wrote that his "heart hurts," adding, "Disappointed but not surprised by the SCOTUS petition rejection as well. We need a government that listens to our voices. This f--king sucks."
Charli D'Amelio similarly expressed remorse about Bernard's execution, writing on Twitter, "after not being on my phone all day i checked twitter to see what is going on with brandon bernard and i'm incredibly disgusted to see him be put to death... he does not deserve this and it breaks my heart that our outdated legal system is taking the life of an undeserving man."
However, one critic took issue with the way James and Charli addressed the situation. The Twitter user remarked, "Isn't kinda weird how the first sentence is 'After not being on my phone the whole day' like your a TikTok star. It's weird how
@jamescharles @iamlorengray @dixiedamelio weren't in their phones today? Brandon has been trending all over the internet. It's just f--king weird."
According to James, it isn't "weird" that he and Charli weren't on their phones that day. He explained to the person that he, Charli and other internet personalities had been "making content FOR our social media accounts" all day.
"I didn't hear about Brandon Bernard until tonight when I checked twitter during a few minute break in between videos, & after reading about his situation, I posted right away," he explained, adding, "It's impossible to speak about something going on if you don't KNOW about something going on, & it's also never wise to speak about a situation, especially to a large platform, before fully understanding it as well."
The 21-year-old also reflected on his past experience with publicly addressing social and political issues, saying, "You can't win. Ignore something, people are upset. Speak about something, people are still upset."
"Instead of focusing anger towards influencers, we should be directing our anger to our country's f--ked up legal system that unjustly took the life of Brandon Bernard today," he continued. "Justice will one day be served and it's important that we use our voices and platforms to hopefully make a change for the better."
As for those who think James' online presence requires a deeper understanding of what's going on in the world, the YouTuber said it's not practical. He stated, "There are some days I'm on my phone from the moment I wake up to the time I go to bed, but there are also some days where I barely pick it up because I'm busy doing other things. No one, not even influencers, can be aware of every single thing happening 24/7."
Kim Kardashian also brought attention to Brandon's case by tweeting in the hours preceding his death. She shared, "Just spoke to Brandon for what will likely be the last time. Hardest call I've ever had. Brandon, selfless as always, was focused on his family and making sure they are ok. He told me not to cry because our fight isn't over."
"When he told me he's claustrophobic and they offered to give him a shot of Sedative to calm him down before they put him in the chair and he just didn't want to panic, I literally lost it," the reality star wrote. "I had to mute my phone so he wouldn't hear me cry like that. We didn't say goodbye bc we wanted to be hopeful that we would talk again, we said talk to you soon!"
Brandon was put to death by lethal injection on Thursday evening, after the Supreme Court denied a final request to delay the execution. An accomplice, Christopher Vialva, was executed this September, while three other co-defendants received lesser sentences.
Kim, who is an advocate for criminal justice reform, later reflected on Brandon's death, writing on Twitter, "I'm so messed up right now. They killed Brandon. He was such a reformed person. So hopeful and positive until the end. More importantly he is sorry, so sorry for the hurt and pain he has caused others."