After Channel Awesome’s initial statement responding to the 70 something page google doc accusing the site’s management of all manner of things from general incompetance, to mysoginy, to allegations of sexual abuse, there was an outpouring of anger from commentators and the Channel Awesome fanbase. It was clear that this halfhearted apology was not enough. In this post I will outline what happened after that, the last few days events have turned the Channel Awesome scandal into something much darker. I would advise you to read the first part of this story which discusses the original Google Doc and Channel Awesome’s first response.
Channel Awesome’s Second Rebuttal
In the days following the publication of Channel Awesome’s first response was far from accepted and so, only a few days later, Channel Awesome posted this, a far longer document which tackled thirteen of the points raised. There is a multitude of issues with Channel Awesome’s second response:
- The document states that its sole purpose is to “address the lies that have been alledged by multiple disgruntled individuals with vindictive purposes” This serves only to alienate the site further as it is the furthest possible thing from an actual apology and fails utterly in the face of the fact that these allegations are being made by a large group of credible individuals. It is far less painful to let the waves wash over you rather than fight the tides.
- “Obviously we cannot address all 73 plus pages of accusations against us in this forum” There is no reason why they shouldn’t simply publish a google doc addressing the accusations one by one. This is simply an excuse to cover for the fact Channel Awesome are cherry picking what they deem to be the weakest arguments.
- In response to accusations of a misygonistic work environment at Channel Awesome, the document claims “Channel Awesome’s current and former female staff, including Tamara Chambers, Rachel Tietz, Aiyanna Wade, and Heather Reusz, have had vastly different experiences than the ones described.” This is not a legitimate response, the experiances of one individual may differ greatly from that of another but neither delegitimises the other.
- The document names Lindsay Ellis as the producer who complained the most about the perceived rape joke in To Boldly Flee whereas in actuality Louis Lovhaug brought the scene to Ellis’s attention first and was equally as vocal about it to Walker. This focus on Ellis does not help Channel Awesome’s case that they do not suffer from a culture of mysoginism.
These are only a few of the many criticisms that can be made about Channel Awesome’s second response. It failed to resolve the situation and in fact only served to increase fan dissatisfaction. However, there is one issue brought about by the document that warrants a lengthier discussion.
Justin Carmicheal AKA JewWario: The Channel Awesome Rapist
One of the most shocking allegations made in the original #ChangeTheChannel Google Doc was that a former Channel Awesome producer had been sexually abusing and grooming fans and that management did nothing in response to this. This was one of the few points Channel Awesome tackled in their second response, and what followed was one of the most shocking moments in this entire saga. The document itself unintentionally revealed the identity of the accused producer. The following image was included in the document and is a screenshot of the conversation management had about removing Justin:
As you can see, an attempt has been made to redact the name of the individual in question, however, enterprising individuals on the internet realised very quickly that it was possibly to deduce the identity of the groomer by searching for producers who left the site around this time and only one person fitted the bill: Justin Carmichael. This conclusion was further supported by the fact that a J is clearly visible despite the name Justin being redacted, and was later confirmed when one of the accusers named him on Reddit and other producers began to speak openly about it.
While we can discuss the fact that someone who appeared so innocent and was the furthest thing from a groomer and rapist as can be envisioned was guilty of such heinous crimes, there are two things to take away from this:
- Channel Awesome management, specifically Mike Michaud, Doug Walker and Rob Walker knew about Justin’s actions and allegedly ignored them for a year, failed to report him in any way to prevent him from doing something like this again, and then released gushing tributes once he had taken his own life.
- Justin was exposed by Channel Awesome themselves, either by sheer incompetence or through a deliberate attempt to divert attention from themselves by throwing the internet a juicier story.
I never watched any of Justin’s videos and my only exposure to him was through the Anniversary videos. I instantly liked him, he seemed like a decent, funny, goofy person. One of the many tragedies about this is that the real fans of his work and his admirers are now having to come to terms with the fact that he was a monster. The Channel Awesome team always felt like a family to me, that feeling has gone and the good memories are forever tainted.
Channel Awesome Bleeds Producers
The second response pleased nobody and over the next day or so producers fled the site in their droves. Where once there were close to forty members of the site there are now only two outside of Doug Walker himself. Brad Jones (The Cinema Snob) an individual speculated by many to have the next member of the management team, is a close friend of both the Walkers and Alison Pregler, one of the major voices behind #ChangeTheChannel. For these reasons it is debatable whether Jones will leave the site although rumours have been circling that he already has, with the Channel Awesome tags no longer being present on his Twitter. The second producer left on the site is Larry Bundy Jr (Guru Larry) who is very open about remaining on the site solely because he thinks it will be amusing if the only producer Channel Awesome has outside of Doug is a guy nobody has ever heard of. Frankly, I’m glad, we could all do with a bit of a chuckle and apparently Guru Larry is the one to provide it.
The Future Response Video
According to Malcolm Ray and Tamara Lynn Chambers, actors who work with Doug Walker, a video concerning #changethechannel is set to be released in the near future. It is unclear what the subject of this video may be, it is possible it will be another pseudo-apology, but I am of the opinion it will be nothing more than an announcement that Channel Awesome is set to shut down, thanking their loyal fans and maybe throwing a couple of far from subtle insults at their hordes of detractors. In my humble opinion, its over. Channel Awesome is dead, all that’s left to do now is wait for the official statement and begin the autopsy.