Updated November 9th, 2020
Tati Westbrook might be in some hot water.
The beauty guru and business owner is allegedly being sued for fraudulent activity and breach of contract, amongst other offenses, by her Halo Beauty partner, Clark Swanson.
According to public court documents obtained by Katie Joy of YouTube commentary channel Without a Crystal Ball, Swanson is suing Tati and her husband James Westbrook for launching Tati Beauty— Tati’s makeup brand which launched in late 2019 with her Textured Neutrals Vol 1 palette followed by the controversial Blendiful sponge.
Swanson, who is apparently James Westbrook’s longtime colleague and friend, claims that he and the Westbrooks initially had a 50/50 split of Halo Beauty. However, they eventually approached him with a deal for two-thirds of the business and in exchange, Tati would commit to launching her cosmetics line under the Halo Beauty umbrella. This agreement was allegedly drawn up in their contract.
When Halo Beauty was preparing to launch, Swanson claims that Tati sat down with YouTube’s biggest gurus— Jeffree Star, Manny MUA, Laura Lee, and James Charles— and asked them not to promote SugarBearHair. Swanson alleges Tati “touted her clique” as sources of promotion for Halo Beauty and used this influence to convince Swanson to give up equity in the business.
Fast forward a year, and Swanson alleges that the Westbrooks cut a separate deal with a cosmetics manufacturer and launched Tati Beauty without him.
Tati’s Textured Neutrals Vol 1 palette is estimated to have made $16 million USD.
The lawsuit also claims James Westbrook liquidated “hundreds of thousands of dollars” of Halo Beauty assets on October 10th, 2020 when the Westbrooks learned of the lawsuit to decrease the company’s value.
So why does this matter?
While a major public figure being sued is hardly news, some now believe that Swanson’s claims indicate why Tati made her ‘BYE SISTER’ video in the first place.
As noted by Katie Joy, Tati said she was hurt by James Charles for promoting SugarBearHair. “You know what happened,” she said to James in ‘BYE SISTER.’ “You know about the coordinated event that happened. You were with me. You know what I went through to bring everything to life, the risk involved.”
This new evidence combined with Tati’s former statements in ‘BYE SISTER’ have now led both YouTube news channels and fans alike to speculate that perhaps James Charles was privy to the deal Tati and her husband made with Swanson. Therefore, when James promoted SugarBearHair to his millions of followers, this put Tati in a very bad position with her business partner and their contract.
If that was Tati’s true motivation for making ‘BYE SISTER,’ many now wonder if Tati wasn’t actually “manipulated” and “gaslit” by Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star to take down James Charles as she claimed in her follow up video, ‘BREAKING MY SILENCE…‘
Tati responds…and the lawsuit is likely not all that seems
There are two sides to every story. And now, Tati is ready to defend hers.
In a 188-page document obtained by YouTube commentary lawyer Emily D. Baker via the Westbrooks’ legal team, Tati and husband James provide a detailed account of their business relations with Clark Swanson, including screenshots, photos, and emails as evidence.
According to the Westbrooks’ lawyers, many of Swanson’s allegations are “false and contradicted” by documents they have provided.
Amongst the alleged false allegations, they claim that Swanson was to provide half of the necessary capital to build Halo Beauty as well as oversee the day-to-day operations in exchange for 50% equity. The Westbrooks allege that the partnership restructured because Swanson repeatedly failed to perform his responsibilities. They claim he borrowed half of the initial $200K investment behind the Westbrooks back.
They also allege that Swanson did multiple shady things with their business accounts which led them to question if he had a secret business partner involved. They say he lied to them about his success as an entrepreneur and frequently cut corners.
In a very bizarre claim, the Westbrooks allege that Swanson’s brother emailed them, “asserting that Mr. Swanson had created a fictitious online persona impersonating the Westbrooks’ personal assistant.”
They detail interactions Swanson had with Jeffree Star which “embarrassed” Tati and claim he was condescending to and inappropriate with the Westbrooks female staff.
Finally, the document addresses Swanson’s claim that Tati promised to use Halo Beauty as the umbrella for all her beauty launches. “The August 15, 2017 Resolutions make clear that the Westbrooks can conduct business outside of Halo Beauty as long as it does not compete with nutraceuticals,” their statement reads.
Despite the legal battle, we don’t expect to hear from Tati any time soon. The 38-year-old retreated from the internet after her June 30th upload and recently listed her L.A. home as she finalises the move back to her native Seattle.