by Emily Reuben
In the video aggregate site’s most recent response to controversies surrounding former content producers, Channel Awesome has seemingly revealed the identity of a sexual predator who used to work in association with the company.
Chatlogs shown in the company’s response indicated that former contributor Justin Carmical was grooming and assaulting other Channel Awesome content producers. These revelations are the product of a series of responses to a list of grievances levied against Channel Awesome by a number of people who used to make content that was hosted on the Channel Awesome website. The nature of the grievances levied against Channel Awesome’s present and past management include poor management, sexism, and even protecting sexual predators.
On April 2nd, former producers from the online video aggregate website came forward with a document compiling the complaints of around 21 ex-producers, titled “Not So Awesome”. Shortly following the document’s release, an updated version was shared to Twitter adding two additional accounts of mistreatment of Channel Awesome’s producers with the hashtag #NotSoAwesome.
Ex-producer Kaylyn Saucedo, better known as MarzGurl, writes in the forward, “One goal many contributors share is the hope that Channel Awesome would both acknowledge and apologize for their behaviors, both on a public and personal level with the former and current producers.”
In her section, Allison Pregler (Obscurus Lupa) writes, “The biggest of [Channel Awesome’s] numerous problems is Mike Michaud, the site’s CEO.” Allison’s claims are supplemented by other producers similar accounts of producer favoritism, sexism, disrespect towards producers, and poor communication on the part of Channel Awesome CEO Mike Michaud, Robert Walker, and Doug Walker (The Nostalgia Critic).
In response to the allegations, Channel Awesome released a statement on social media addressing the controversy. The response was promptly met with criticism, with many fans labeling their statement as a “non-apology”.
— Channel Awesome (@ChannelAwesome) April 2, 2018
Days went by with segments of the Channel Awesome audience unsatisfied with the official apology. As the channel continued to lose YouTube subscribers, Channel Awesome decided to respond to the criticisms levied against them in a more direct manner.
On April 11th, Channel Awesome posted the article “Our Response” to their website. The post begins with the following:
“Channel Awesome has always tried to keep our dealings with our content partners out of the public eye and despite any differences or disagreements we have never publicly spoken negatively about any of them, but a response to the accusations leveled against us must happen.”
Channel Awesome then chose select complaints to address through the use of screenshots, providing contracts, and video. Fans and ex-producers criticized their response for ignoring bigger issues, twisting words, and general lack of professionalism. Various ex-producers note that the document disproportionately focuses on complaints made by women or victims of sexual harassment.
The most controversial aspect of the response, however, is the section that refutes mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations. In the “Not So Awesome” document, an anonymous contributor referred to as Jane Doe, alleged she had been groomed by a Channel Awesome producer and no significant action was taken by Channel Awesome for a full year despite being aware of the situation. Channel Awesome asserts that they responded in three weeks and provides a screenshot confirming management was planning on firing the accused.
While the offender’s name was whited out, the first letter of their name could be read, identifying the person as having a first name beginning with the letter “J”. Additionally, time stamps allowed readers to compare which producers had exited Channel Awesome during the time the chat had taken place. With the context provided by Channel Awesome, it was quickly determined that Justin Carmical (JewWario), a popular ex-producer who had taken his own life in early 2014, was the ex-producer accused of sexual misconduct.
Shortly after Channel Awesome’s response was released, reddit user throawayimscared came forward stating that she is the Jane Doe being talked about in the Channel Awesome chat log, specifying that her case is completely separate from the Jane Doe in the “Not So Awesome Document”. She claims that Carmical sexually assaulted her while she was passed out.
Holly Christine who had worked as Channel Awesome’s HR representative, confirms that the Reddit user is a separate Jane Doe that had approached her about her situation, resulting in the release of JewWario from Channel Awesome.
In an effort to protect the identity of Jane Doe and keep her out of any public backlash, the “Not so Awesome” document organizers opted to keep the name of the accused anonymous. In her video commenting on the situation, Marzgurl, who had been close to Justin before his death and was unaware of the allegations before the document was created, states that following Channel Awesome’s response post, people had begun to identify and harass Carmical’s victims, including his widowed wife who was unaware of the situation.
Channel Awesome’s response resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of followers. While the company has remained silent since posting “Our Response”, the Channel Awesome forums and store have been closed, their partners have been reduced to only Brad Jones, and only two producers remain on the website after the other 39 severed ties with the company. Many users speculate that Doug Walker has stepped away from Channel Awesome because his personal Facebook account lists Channel Awesome as a previous workplace. However, at this time new Nostalgia Critic videos have been published with nothing to confirm the suspicion.
Emily is a Telecommunications (Film and Media Studies) major minoring in Japanese and Professional Writing in Emerging Media. Emily writes film and gaming reviews.