Former contributors and producers of YouTube’s Channel Superior have alleged misconduct and ineptitude in opposition to its administration, together with CEO Mike Michaud, expertise Doug Walker (aka Nostalgia Critic and That Man With the Glasses), and his brother, Rob Walker.
On Monday, an intensive Google doc was printed on Twitter that incorporates greater than 20 accounts from former contributors, with accusations starting from poor communication and administration abilities to verbal abuse and bullying to sexual misconduct and harassment. The doc additionally consists of nameless accounts of misconduct in opposition to a former producer who was not named. A doc of fan interactions was printed as properly.
Throughout the accounts, a sample of neglect, bullying, and miscommunication emerges, as does a sample of putting blame and harassment on contributors, ladies particularly. Contributors and producers weren’t usually paid by Channel Superior (CA). “Our fee was publicity,” Allison Pregler, a producer from 2010-2015, informed the Every day Dot.
The doc’s creation stemmed from Twitter conversations in early March that grew deeper and wider, with extra individuals sharing tales and experiences. For the reason that doc was printed, not less than two extra contributors have left Channel Superior, and followers have distanced themselves as properly. The hashtag #ChangeTheChannel has additionally been circulating.
To be completely clear: I left CA as a result of I discovered new, despicable particulars about Allison’s remedy at CA by Rob and Mike Michaud (Particulars which might be within the paperwork I RTed yesterday). https://t.co/LYJA9LvI1G
— RC, aka da HipHop Antagoniza aka Bombo Genesis aka (@itstherapcritic) April three, 2018
Announcement: I’ve left Channel Superior. https://t.co/iBHKVP3uP4
— Mathew Buck (@FB_BMB) April three, 2018
I used to look at a whole lot of CA stuff as a child. Extra not too long ago I would sustain with Doug Walker’s content material to make enjoyable of the hacky shoddiness of it.
I am unable to watch it in good conscience anymore, even satirically. The Walkers and the upper ups at CA are abusive, delusional rip-off artists. https://t.co/yOfXiWDhNn
— Tyler Dewhirst (@TylerDewhirst) April three, 2018
Pregler started speaking publicly about her experiences at Channel Superior—a hub for movie, gaming, and popular culture movies—in 2015. “Many producers had grievances with the positioning over the last decade they’ve been going, however by now the positioning didn’t have the identical leverage for individuals to remain,” she informed the Every day Dot.
That waning affect dovetailed with the exit of a outstanding longtime contributor, Kaylyn Saucedo, in September 2017. Pregler says that when she began publicly talking about her experiences, the momentum picked up.
“Her feedback actually carried weight,” Pregler says, “together with feedback by Lewis Lovhaug, one of many web site’s hottest contributors, and inspired extra producers from the positioning, former or in any other case, to lastly say this stuff publicly.”
Saucedo contributed to Channel Superior from 2008 to 2017. She says she typically felt “misrepresented, forgotten, and underutilized by the administration, however I additionally felt like my pals have been typically handled loads worse.” She informed the Every day Dot that the doc serves as a “cautionary story” for individuals who work in on-line leisure generally: “There are such a lot of individuals on the market who don’t care about you as an individual or your properly being, and are very happy to make use of your presents, your skills, your good will, and your good nature to raised themselves slightly than serving to you obtain your personal objectives.”
The Illinois-based Channel Superior was launched in 2008 by Michaud, Mike Ellis, and Bhargav Dronamraju, and rose to recognition with flagship sequence like Nostalgia Critic, hosted by Doug Walker. The New York Occasions did a profile of Channel Superior in 2011 and detailed its efforts to create a profitable platform outdoors of YouTube. “My firm has a whole lot of rising as much as do,” Michaud informed the Occasions, “however I imagine that someday within the subsequent one to 2 years somebody will create that one sequence that will get everybody speaking.”
As movie criticism and fan-steeped evaluate websites have develop into extra in style over the previous few years, an underlying tradition of misogyny and entitlement has additionally come to mild. Final October, Display Junkies creator Andy Signore was fired after allegations of harassment surfaced from each followers and workers. Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse, which runs the favored Unbelievable Fest, confronted criticism final fall for protecting identified abusers on workers even after ladies voiced complaints about conduct. Whereas accusations of harassment in opposition to Channel Superior have come from women and men, most of the accounts paint an image of an organization with little regard for ladies’s artistic enter or opinions.
One broadly cited instance within the Google doc and on Twitter is the three-hour 2012 anniversary movie To Boldly Flee, written and helmed by Doug Walker and starring many CA contributors. Lindsay Ellis received a contest in 2008 to be Walker’s feminine counterpart, Nostalgia Chick, and canopy “girly” content material that he didn’t. She contributed to Channel Superior from 2008-2014 and recalled one scene in To Boldly Flee the place her character is seemingly sexually assaulted. She and scene accomplice Lewis Lovhaug voiced their issues. Walker apparently mentioned he would tone down the scene, however Ellis nonetheless needed to do voiceovers the place it appears like she’s being assaulted.
“His compromise was to change it barely, but it surely’s nonetheless very a lot a rape joke within the remaining product,” says Pregler, who additionally starred within the movie. “Doug didn’t perceive that it was offensive. He noticed it as extra of a intercourse joke and didn’t get the way it would possibly come off as rape.”
— Allison Pregler (@Obscurus_Lupa) March 14, 2018
the unhappy factor is the ultimate model is not a lot better. he nonetheless made me make “being assaulted” noises – and this throughout a reshoot he needed to fly me out solo for as a result of he deleted a few of the footage with me in it
— Lindsay Ellis (@thelindsayellis) March 14, 2018
Yeah. We complained about it as quickly as we learn it and our issues have been dismissed. Regularly.
— Linkara (@Linkara19) March 14, 2018
Ellis says Gamergate introduced contributors extra harassment however provides that even earlier than 2014, ladies on the positioning confronted harassment from followers in addition to different contributors and producers. A number of contributors reportedly needed to take care of threats and stalkers, and some even went to the police.
“I don’t recall them ever providing help, and even acknowledging that the harassment was occurring,” says Ellis. “Then got here Gamergate. Most ladies stayed quiet out of concern, however harassment ranges have been on a gradual improve since then. In my view, it’s worse now than it’s ever been.”
A contributor that Ellis vouched for, Dan Olson, was reportedly fired after making anti-Gamergate movies.
After the GamerGate video went up on CA and the slavering hordes discovered it (regardless of my advisory that feedback ought to merely be closed on the video outright from the get go) Mike referred to as different producers to yell about me earlier than calling me.
— Dan Olson would completely obtain a automobile (@FoldableHuman) March 14, 2018
Former COO Mike Ellis has additionally been accused of sexual harassment. He pursued a relationship with Holly Brown, who dealt with HR for Channel Superior from 2010-2013, which was not reciprocated. Ellis was let go in summer time 2010 for harassment and mismanagement, and Channel Superior put Brown in a secure home for just a few days in case he threatened her with bodily violence. Brown mentioned producers would typically carry up complaints together with her.
“It’s straightforward to make heroes out of people that seem on YouTube, and if we’ve realized something in the previous few months, it’s that being well-known doesn’t imply that somebody is an efficient individual,” she informed the Every day Dot. “The sorts of issues that we endured smash lives. We’re shifting to a gig financial system, and extra individuals must be conscious that not everybody out there’s a good man. There are individuals who will use you and abuse you at each flip—even individuals you think about pals. I’d wish to see some accountability. And a few apologies. CA’s historical past of silence has left many former producers to endure harassment by the hands of their so-called followers, and that isn’t acceptable.”
On Monday night time, Channel Superior posted an announcement to Twitter, hoping to “clear the air” concerning the flood of accusations. “For the individuals who have spoken out about previous cases they deemed hurtful, or unprofessional, we sincerely remorse you felt that manner,” it reads.
— Channel Superior (@ChannelAwesome) April 2, 2018
The assertion additionally expresses a need to maneuver “ahead” with its “fantastic group,” however doesn’t immediately tackle any of the grievances, or cite who wrote it. Doug and his brother Rob nonetheless do movies for the positioning.
Many followers and former contributors felt the apology rang hole, and that it shifted the blame to the victims.
An excellent non-responsive, victim-blaming response from Channel Superior. Take a look at that final sentence within the second paragraph. pic.twitter.com/2rL0UNjIqn
— Holly Christine (@gookygox) April three, 2018
Impressively unhealthy non-apology! “Clear the air” = make one thing go away, a la unhealthy fart odor. “Remorse you felt that manner” = even WORSE than “sorry if”! “When the necessity arose, we’ve distanced ourselves” = wow, resounding renouncing of abuse! ” https://t.co/nGg4NaTIU1
— Sorry Watch (@SorryWatch) April three, 2018
I’ve longer ideas however principally, Channel Superior’s non-apology is hilariously off the mark and backfired on them spectacularly. I am watching their subscribers fall in actual time. #ChangeTheChannel pic.twitter.com/yon7f4Kdin
— Allison Pregler (@Obscurus_Lupa) April three, 2018
A request for remark was not answered.
“The hope right here is to make clear the narrative,” Ellis says. “We aren’t out to ‘destroy’ them, however they’ve, till now, managed the narrative. The objective right here is solely to let it’s identified the extent of unprofessionalism and unfair remedy at play. On the very least, make it clear why we now not want to be related, both professionally or in individuals’s minds, with this firm.”
Saucedo provides: “For their very own sake, I hope that they notice that they haven’t harm simply the previous Channel Superior producers, but in addition their fanbase who cherished them and seemed as much as them for thus a few years. Hurting the followers hurts them. I don’t know after they’ll ever notice it.”
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