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"Channel Not So Awesome" - Ex-contributors of Channel Awesome detail a history of abuse (READ OP)

The Bear

of Love
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
2,051
Addressing the latest development, Holly Christine, former HR manager of CA, has confirmed the incident on Twitter:


Because this appears to be a reliable source it is fair game for discussion. HOWEVER this is not a license to play internet detective; the previous rules still apply. Please make sure any additional information you post is verified or comes from verified sources. Considering the scope of the scandal, there is bound to be a lot of misinformation going around on social media. It’s understandable that emotions are running high, but please respect the victims and also keep the family of the accused out of this.

This is a highly charged situation but we hope that the discussion can continue calmly within these guidelines.
What Channel Awesome is for those uninitiated:

Channel Awesome is a web video aggregator website that was originally launched as That Guy With the Glasses, built around its headline producer, Doug Walker, AKA the Nostalgia Critic. Over the past ten or so years, it's hosted videos from content creators like Angry Joe, Lindsay Ellis, Noah "Spoony" Antwiler and many, many others.

Basically, during the early years of Youtube, it was one of the central locations to find nerd-focused video content alongside sites like ScrewAttack. Its relevance has faded in recent years due to the rise of YouTube and the fact that most of its core contributors have split off, been fired, or left for reasons detailed in the above Google Doc.
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A group of ex-contributors from the website 'Channel Awesome' (A site most famous for 'Nostalgia Critic') have posted a nearly 70 pages long text document detailing lot of abuse and misconduct the site's management had levered at them throughout the years.



The whole text document is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WZFkR__B3Mk9EYQglvislMUx9HWvWhOaBP820UBa4dA/preview#heading=h.smmxroimnosh

The Summarized version (6 pages long) is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1d7UTXkL5HqywUqNMXwL5nVG4R84Hr1GX7Phagi15mUo/preview#

There is lot to unpack here, and lot of serious allegations about how the site was managed, and how some of the members in the site behaved, including bullying, harassment and grooming. The document deserves its own thread.

Warning: Channel Awesome Forums are currently compromised. It’s best to stay off of it for the time being. Info here
 
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PoppaBK

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,435
Mixing in petty power struggles and office politics with serious allegations was probably not the best idea.
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
31,805
Brief Snyopsis on Channel Awesome?
Channel Awesome is a web video aggregator website that was originally launched as That Guy With the Glasses, built around its headline producer, Doug Walker, AKA the Nostalgia Critic. Over the past ten or so years, it's hosted videos from content creators like Angry Joe, Lindsay Ellis, Noah "Spoony" Antwiler and many, many others.

Basically, during the early years of Youtube, it was one of the central locations to find nerd-focused video content alongside sites like ScrewAttack. Its relevance has faded in recent years due to the rise of YouTube and the fact that most of its core contributors have split off, been fired, or left for reasons detailed in the above Google Doc.
 

Big One

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,426
I'll be honest but outside of a few creators I never got the appeal of That Guy with the Glasses even back then. it always felt like a collection of lowrate content producers secluded onto this platform that was a bitch to navigate. Also Doug Walker has always been an aggressively annoying personality for me. Everything he does feels forced and try-hard especially those movies he did for the site.
 

Sibersk Esto

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,627
Think about how much pain could've been avoided if Doug Walker would've taken the time to borrow a book about filmmaking or running a small business from his library.
 

Robdraggoo

User requested ban
Banned
Oct 25, 2017
2,455
Does anybody know of any youtube channels that discuss this, thst not alt right or GG?

First video that pops up is from someone named social injustice warroir.
 

Aaronrules380

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
8,892
Honestly it sounds like it was a mess, though the situation did introduce me to some people who I still follow today (Mostly the pair who does the Weekly Manga Recap Podcast)
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,662
Eyeballing the document now. The Nostalgia Critic and Channel Awesome were always something that was just vaguely on my radar; I knew they were popular but I just couldn't work up the interest to check it out. I had always thought of it as a little indie operation that struck it big, so it feels weird looking at it as a business, with the capacities for abuse of other businesses.
 

Mewshuji

Member
Nov 11, 2017
3,338
That other topic on this was something else but now there's A WHOLE DOCUMENT?! Woah. Some stuff's been going on.

Edit: ... 'sold'? wtf phone don't do that to me. Something else is not 'sold'...
 
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PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
31,805
Eyeballing the document now. The Nostalgia Critic and Channel Awesome were always something that was just vaguely on my radar; I knew they were popular but I just couldn't work up the interest to check it out. I had always thought of it as a little indie operation that struck it big, so it feels weird looking at it as a business, with the capacities for abuse of other businesses.
Honestly, I think this is part of the problem. That's exactly what it was. It was a little indie thing that just kept growing and growing, and the weasel who managed to install himself at the top of the pile (Michaud) turned out to be an absolute scumbag of the highest order.
 

Mr-Joker

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,824
The greatest sense of irony is that Doug doesn't own the Nostalgia Critic IP so he's pretty much screwed should his relationship with Mike goes sour, as he lacks the talent without the character.
 

Wogan

Member
Oct 28, 2017
548
I'll be honest but outside of a few creators I never got the appeal of That Guy with the Glasses even back then. it always felt like a collection of lowrate content producers secluded onto this platform that was a bitch to navigate. Also Doug Walker has always been an aggressively annoying personality for me. Everything he does feels forced and try-hard especially those movies he did for the site.
This. Content was scarce, something seemed better than nothing. Now you have the opportunity to be more discerning. And the reality of the organisation is surprisingly unsurprising.
 

caliph95

Member
Oct 25, 2017
21,217
The greatest sense of irony is that Doug doesn't own the Nostalgia Critic IP so he's pretty much screwed should his relationship with Mike goes sour, as he lacks the talent without the character.
That's the dumbest thing how the he'll did you not even own your own persona you made for YouTube
 

Sibersk Esto

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,627
I'll be honest but outside of a few creators I never got the appeal of That Guy with the Glasses even back then. it always felt like a collection of lowrate content producers secluded onto this platform that was a bitch to navigate. Also Doug Walker has always been an aggressively annoying personality for me. Everything he does feels forced and try-hard especially those movies he did for the site.
It was the wild wild west man. Anybody who seemed to present an inkling of competence was glommed onto.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,662
The greatest sense of irony is that Doug doesn't own the Nostalgia Critic IP so he's pretty much screwed should his relationship with Mike goes sour, as he lacks the talent without the character.
Didn't he can the character for a little while, then came back because he couldn't find success otherwise?
 

Mr-Joker

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,824
That's the dumbest thing how the he'll did you not even own your own persona you made for YouTube
Because Doug Walker has no idea what he's doing, which is further backed up in the document, and the only reason he found success was because he was able to ride on the tail of the AVGN success and that Youtube was still in its early days so there weren't that many people putting up high quality contents.

This is why the whole Nostalgia Critic gimmick got old fast as time went on.
 

Watchtower

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,170
The basic gist, from what I get from the doc, is that the whole company's run by incompetent arrogant egotistical jackasses. Doug in particular comes off as a lemming-grade imbecile who can't even manage his own show, and the man up top, Michaud, comes off as a callous sociopath who only wants to be involved if he gets to give other people shit.

As a long-time fan of CA, I had heard a fair amount of this before (especially during the whole Spoony incident), but the sheer degree of ineptitude and lack of care is both baffling and infuriating.

Honestly, I think this is part of the problem. That's exactly what it was. It was a little indie thing that just kept growing and growing, and the weasel who managed to install himself at the top of the pile (Michaud) turned out to be an absolute scumbag of the highest order.
The "indie" part of it should also be stressed. They really seem to run it as if they were just a couple guys managing a Youtube channel, even as they started growing dramatically. It's weird to treat it like a business because they themselves certainly don't.

It was the wild wild west man. Anybody who seemed to present an inkling of competence was glommed onto.
See: Darksydephil. :P /offtopic
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
31,805
The "indie" part of it should also be stressed. They really seem to run it as if they were just a couple guys managing a Youtube channel, even as they started growing dramatically. It's weird to treat it like a business because they themselves certainly don't.
Michaud wants it both ways. He runs it like a tyrant but also seems to not care at the same time. It'd be fascinating if it wasn't so destructive.
 

mreddie

Member
Oct 26, 2017
12,411
And the sad thing is this likely won't hurt CA, the NC reviews still get enough views and they are still getting noticed.

The fucking ego on these main 3 is amazing
 

Uzumaki Goku

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,403
Because Doug Walker has no idea what he's doing, which is further backed up in the document, and the only reason he found success was because he was able to ride on the tail of the AVGN success and that Youtube was still in its early days so there weren't that many people putting up high quality contents.

This is why the whole Nostalgia Critic gimmick got old fast as time went on.
It’s amazing how James has avoided so much of this drama and bullshit.
 

Hierophant

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,638
Sydney
How the fuck do you not even pay for your staffs meals for the final wrap party where you intend to dump all your contributors off to the side?
 

ObiWan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,994
Los Angeles
I don't know if a second thread is needed but this one does seem focused more on the actual doc which is must read because it's a literal testament to a corporation using and abusing people.

There's some awfulness in the stories and also some downright criminal activity. They took advantage of mostly young people in a time when the "video series" was still being built - people just trying to do something fun and build a community - and shit all over it. It's only a matter of time where CA will cease to exist.
 
Oct 25, 2017
648
This is definitely worth reading if you have an interest in weird and/or horrifyingly fucked up productions. It's a lesson in what not to do. Shame it took so long for such a document to be made.
 

caliph95

Member
Oct 25, 2017
21,217
How the fuck do you not even pay for your staffs meals for the final wrap party where you intend to dump all your contributors off to the side?
I love them laughing off Lindsey for daring to say that you need to feed your crew before Noah pointed out that even film students feed their crew
 

Merc_

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,155
I really wonder how much time CA even has left when you look at the massive gap in views between NC and the rest of their content. Even their sub count is pretty low for how long they've been around.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,662
See: Darksydephil. :P /offtopic
Hah, I was just thinking the same thing and resisting the urge to post. I'm pretty sure I only heard of him with the first wave of This is How You Don't Play videos, so I figured that he was just some random bad Let's Player who managed to get an ironic fandom. Then I saw the Through the Down the Rabbit Hole video and learned that he was actually being pushed early in the YouTube days.

Maybe in the future the standard for internet videos will again climb further? Hopefully.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,604
Are you talking about Mike's alleged racist past?
There's the racist comics he made in his twenties, his friendly association with gamergators, his attitude/behavior to some of the cinemassacre audience, and him posting pictures of his penis unsolicited to people online.

If someone wants a few bullet points of all of this, the OP of my thread on this was made before the document compiled everything and was based on some of the twitter chattering.

https://www.resetera.com/threads/the-long-drama-of-channel-awesome-doug-and-rob-walker-and-ceo-mike-michaud.29873/
 

Jiggy

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,529
wherever
The Walkers being stuck with Michaud because they couldn't be bothered to create their own website is fucking hilarious.

it always felt like a collection of lowrate content producers secluded onto this platform that was a bitch to navigate.
It basically was. Spoony was legitimately hilarious and his early stuff still holds up remarkably well, Lindsay Ellis came onto her own after leaving the trash heap that was Channel Awesome and she makes a lot of great content. I think that's about it as far as the genuinely talented contributors fostered on the site.
 

Meatwad

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,537
USA
I used to love That Guy With the Glasses and visiting the site became a daily ritual for me. Of course Doug's videos especially Nostalgia Critic was the main draw for me but over time I discovered the other creators that I came to love as well such as Phelous, Lupa, Todd in the Shadows Nostalgia Chick, the list goes on. Watching the anniversary specials it seemed like the website was one big group of friends who found each other through producing videos and I even thought it would be so great to make a video series and have it featured on TGWTG. So it's a bit sobering and sad to learn that behind the scenes things weren't so rosy and that people whose work I loved were mistreated by Channel Awesome management. I stopped visitng the site in 2014 for mostly personal reasons but checking it now and there's nobody still there besides Doug and Brad Jones whose videos I regularly watched. It's pretty sad
 

Watchtower

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,170
I watched it when it was uploaded in the other thread. Overall hits all the good points, though in trying to keep to a consistent narrative (that Spoony was brought down by his own personality) it paints a couple things a bit weird. Most notably, it actually portrays his fanbase in a fairly positive light, when it was notorious (especially back in the day) for its toxicity.
 

deepFlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,984
Gonna quote myself from the other thread here, because I continue to be annoyed that I wasted time watching/thinking about this video.

So I did end up watching this, and I have to say I think if it’s meant to be a documentary covering Spoony and his downfall, it isn’t a very good one? I don’t think it does a good job actually explaining parts of what happened and it largely does not try to provide any context, narrative, or framework around what’s being shown, at least not till the end... and I have some big issues with what it implies during that part.

I honestly spent way too much time thinking/writing about it (and also watching it, because it also really did not need to be 40 minutes long), so I kinda regret wasting a couple hours today on it as a result. But I did that, so I’m spoiler tagging my thoughts, if anyone’s considering watching it, as to not drop a ton of words on this page.

So there’s a bit where he says that people on Spoony’s forums went after Spoony’s girlfriend because she was the one administering forum bans on Spoony’s request, and then seems like he’s segueing away from it to talk about Spoony winning an award. He then suddenly reads most of a long blog post Spoony wrote after winning it when he had to take down a video about the award, and... then doesn’t comment on it at all to explain why he read all that, or mention that the reason Spoony wrote any of that was literally because his girlfriend was in the video and her appearance was being attacked. There’s a clear connection there between directly sequential events in the video and it’s just weirdly unexplained when it’s relevant to other things he includes, and without mentioning that connection there’s no value in even including the post. He both reads the part of the post that’s clearly about fans attacking other people and talked about people going at his girlfriend like I mentioned, so it’s not like I think he was trying to cover that up or anything. I’d seen someone mention it in the comments beforehand but it was still pretty jarring to see it skipped over, particularly as I remember reading that post myself back in the day and it being very clear what had happened. I don’t know if he was trying to tie it directly to the forums but in that case his segueing was weird and the connection still wasn’t explained. In retrospect I think he might have been using it as an example of Spoony’s ego, which would be pretty off if so, but it’s completely unclear.

He also dedicated several minutes to just playing LordKat’s comments on Spoony after his suspension, including lots of irrelevant rambling whining before LK actually brings up the “betrayal!” thing. He doesn’t really comment on any of this and it sticks out as a bizarre waste of time. It’s not like he necessarily portrays LK in a sympathetic light, if only because he doesn’t even say anything about him, but it’s weird to give him so much uncritical screentime. You could just quickly explain that LK had issues with him over “betrayal!” thing (and actually explain that incident in chronological order beforehand instead of suddenly only mentioning it then) without playing more than the relevant clip. Especially as he, uh, also never mentions LK going on to graphically tell Spoony to kill himself, which you’d think would be more relevant there than him whining about Spoony being a waste of talent or whatever. It also calls LK a “creator at Channel Awesome” despite him having been gone by that point, and the implication of Spoony attacking a fan of his while representing Channel Awesome is different as a result.

As a side note, he only mentions Spoony’s “already present heart troubles” when talking briefly about Spoony’s bipolar disorder diagnosis, but unless I missed something quickly stated I don’t think he ever brought that up previously even though Spoony’s heart issues were a factor in his video output. Maybe he cut an earlier mention, he said in the comments that he couldn’t include everything, but it’s just another example of something actually pretty important to all of this being skipped over and only mentioned later while giving lots of time to irrelevant contextless things. Honestly, that and Spoony’s mental health are barely talked about beyond some very vague comments, and they’re probably the most important things to talk about if you’re talking about him not making more videos! In general it honestly felt like he didn’t really acknowledge Spoony’s mental health at all beyond saying that it was deteriorating, but only that, not that it deteriorating was causing or affected by anything shown.

There’s more examples, but the first two thirds felt very disjointed as a documentary or explanation because consistent issues like these means there’s no real narrative through-line given. I get wanting to seem impartial (though that’s inherently impossible when you’re still choosing what to show and how to present it) or something like that, but that beyond the occasional comment about Spoony gaining an ego very little about the overall context of the events is actually connected or explained. He just spends a lot of time (generally way too much per event, in my opinion, especially when video/audio is played) showing that these events happened, and only that they happened, before moving on. Which is fine at the start when he’s just explaining how Spoony’s reviews worked and all that, I guess, but as soon as you start talking about how things changed for him you need to actually provide that narrative or you might as well just post raw clips and hope people figure things out for themselves.

And then the last third of the video happened, and it certainly gained a narrative then, just a pretty insulting one. He’s suddenly weirdly unsympathetic towards Spoony, when he is clearly overwhelmed by his Patreon succeeding beyond expectations and not knowing how to deal with it, heavily editing the video of him talking about this to make him seem more incompetent. He just starts reading harassment Spoony got without comment or criticism, just reading it as if it’s important and valid in itself. Before this point I was a little annoyed that he kept including Spoony reacting to harassment without actually including any of the harassment, as it made it made it harder to tell how he was characterizing the reactions (which was already hard due to the lack of commentary), but this definitely wasn’t what I wanted. Then “he became known for feuding with others, including content creators” is dryly read over an image of Spoony being angry at fucking Milo, of all people, specifically over the harassment of Leslie Jones and just... wow, sure, that’s a way to mischaracterize that. As he continues to talk about Spoony’s tweets and eventual suspension, he makes a special mention of Spoony’s site being broken but having working Patreon and Amazon links. It all just leans heavily into “he wants your money so he can waste it tweeting about Trump instead of making videos” garbage I saw in the comments without actually daring to say as much, rather than actually saying anything at all about how Spoony was clearly suffering due to his mental illness and pressure from fans that he should have stepped away from. It becomes a lot clearer right at the end that it’s entirely framing things around his “hopeful viewers” and “answering fan’s questions”. The documentary’s perspective is that of his so called fans who still feel entitled to him creating content for them, because they decided to give him some amount of money per month when he was already clearly updating very sporadically and then didn’t cancel their monthly payment for whatever reason. These people care more about Spoony making more videos, which they’d probably only complain about the quality of anyway, than what he clearly needs to do: stay away from the internet to improve his mental health.

It ends on: “He now serves as an example to other content creators, about how fame and viewership on the internet can be so powerful, but also how the goodwill of that viewership must not be taken for granted if one chooses to linger in the online space.” And just... no. If anything you could say his attitude fostered the kind of fan that has no goodwill at all. But the issue at hand really isn’t just someone who grew too big of an ego and then didn’t appreciate their fans.
I watched it when it was uploaded in the other thread. Overall hits all the good points, though in trying to keep to a consistent narrative (that Spoony was brought down by his own personality) it paints a couple things a bit weird. Most notably, it actually portrays his fanbase in a fairly positive light, when it was notorious (especially back in the day) for its toxicity.
The way it tries to show the fanbase as positive is definitely one of the weirdest parts, but it really doesn’t have much of a “narrative” before it leans hard into that anyway. It’s just not a very good documentary and when it does try to be one it pushes that angle in a kinda gross way.