The long drama of Channel Awesome, Doug and Rob Walker, and CEO Mike Michaud

Oct 25, 2017
5,858
The Noah/Spoony twitter account being passed around is supposedly a fake as are the rumors he's transitioning and using Patreon funds to do it. Please keep this in mind when you see it and before posting it.

Repeating: The Noah/Spoony twitter account being passed around is supposedly a fake as are the rumors he's transitioning and using Patreon funds to do it. Please keep this in mind when you see it and before posting it.

Helloooooo I'm not the Nostalgia Critic!

Channel Awesome, the parent company of That Guy With the Glasses and others, i.e. Nostalgia Critic, has had a long and sordid history in its 10 years of life. Lots of people have come and gone (Lindsay Ellis and Foldable Human and many many others), and there's been some real tragedies, like the suicide of JewWario and Spoony's very public meltdowns revolving around his apparent bipolar-ness. Recently, some former alumni have been on Twitter (basically the last 24 hours) recounting stories. It's all in various twitter threads and it is hard to follow, so I thought I would take the time to compile some of them here.

I used to follow the site quite a bit a long time ago. I really liked the goofy Nostalgia Critic videos before he started doing skits (every once in a while I will watch the Blank Check one for some reason), and Lindsay Ellis as the Nostalgia Chick was great and the launching point for her to be doing the amazing work she's done. Spoony was a favorite too when he did video game reviews like Phantasmagoria 2 and his odyssey through some of the Final Fantasy games. And, I knew of some drama before today, like some people really not liking Noah, the stuff involving the bad shows that were supposed to replace Nostalgia Critic after he retired the character, Doug Walker's "problematic" stuff involving LGBT and race issues, but there's a lot I didn't, and since I know some of you used to or still follow the site, here's the scoops.

Everything I'm going to type out should be started with the words "apparently" because I can't obviously fact-check this stuff, but these are all assertions from various people:

Doug Walker doesn't own the rights to Nostalgia Critic, the character and all other characters. Mike Michaud, the CEO and one of the original founders of Channel Awesome, does.
https://twitter.com/FoldableHuman/status/973801695494004739

Channel Awesome, you would think being a very small operated company, would be an LLC. Instead, it's a full-blown corporation, and they speculate it was done this way as a way to maybe offer people shares of the company. It's a tad on the odd side for it to be a corporation, but they may have their reasons.
https://twitter.com/CheapskateShow/status/974104388254908417

The sole owner of all of this, Mike Michaud, seems to not be the nicest of people to work with, particularly the women the site has employed over the years. He's also very difficult to get ahold of and isn't the best at communicating consistent policies to people. (there's a lot more links on this stuff you can find in the various twitter threads. While almost everyone seems to not like him, many are also ready to point out that he is not the sole problem and that the blame falls on Doug and Rob Walker as well.)
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/973710304457777152
https://twitter.com/FoldableHuman/status/974023024931258368
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974019689847427072

Contracts have been an issue, where they (meaning Michaud and the Walkers) will pressure people into signing stuff to avoid lawsuits related to firings or injuries.
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/973997097816117248
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/973997284429041666
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974206139368865792

The gaming website, Blistered Thumbs, didn't tell some of its people ahead of time the site was shutting down.
https://twitter.com/MarzGurl/status/973839128612794369

Sounds like payment was mostly about exposure on the site and free copy of the anniversary DVDs. Lots of broken promises, like the site was supposed to, in time, be less about Doug, but he kept wanting it to be mostly about him. Also, site enhancements and ways to better showcase people never materialized. There's lot of stuff about this, and a lot about Maker/Disney after the Blip apocalypse.
https://twitter.com/Linkara19/status/973819413324615682

There's a lot more, and most of it being directed at Michaud. However, people aren't the warmest about Doug Walker either. There's similar stuff of him bullying people into doing what he wants and being callous. The Walkers would call people children for complaints or asking for increase ads on videos so the creators could make more money.
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974192849255321600
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/973841823474036736
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/973988733933547520
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/973710567574790146

In To Boldly Flee, the final anniversary video, Doug didn't tell everyone he was retiring Nostalgia Critic. Some took the announcement as if Doug was basically doing away with all on screen commentary, something that would have affected almost every contributor to the site.
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974021284240740352

In Doug's original draft that Lindsay Ellis had to fight him on repeatedly, he had her character sexually assaulted. She got some of it fixed, but she still had to do "being assaulted" noises for VO in reshoots. Her original character was going to be called 60 of 9. They also didn't want to do a fight scene where she is slapped and called a bitch repeatedly.
https://twitter.com/thelindsayellis/status/974048280798777345
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/973842907613532160
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974027772715782144

Doug Walker also had to be told basic things, like make sure the set had food/water. Everyone was cooped up in a hot attic waiting to shoot their scenes, and Doug gave everyone very little notice on what was being filmed. People had to explain to him basic filmmaking techniques/rules, to have a second camera, and to backup footage so it wouldn't be lost (some was anyway).
https://twitter.com/FoldableHuman/status/973848908601352192
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974213561496100865
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974216590848921601
https://twitter.com/Linkara19/status/973853186019688449

Also, To Boldly Flee, originally to be titled "STAR SPACE: THE SEARCH FOR PLOT", is three and a half hours long, or about as long as Lawrence of Arabia.

Really, the making of To Boldly Flee sounds like something akin to The Disaster Artist.

Doug's comedic ideas/theories is that "comedy comes from misery,"all comedy comes from misery - so he'll make everybody jerks or do stupid, nonsensical things to serve the story. " and the people should be in costumes.
https://twitter.com/Linkara19/status/973844973337677824
https://twitter.com/Linkara19/status/973843458434764800

They never had time to learn their lines because the script was always changing.
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/973846677034618880
https://twitter.com/Linkara19/status/973847350673330176

He's bad at scheduling, having people make costumes in less than two weeks time, forgetting about camera crews needing to leave and things shutting down, and so on.
https://twitter.com/MarzGurl/status/973843534347456513
https://twitter.com/Linkara19/status/973847563399872512
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974214584897802241

Oh, and in one of the previous movies, Suburban Knights, someone was duct taped to a wall and fainted. I mentioned the contracts, but this is one of the reasons why they had them for the anniversary movies.
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974434006094753792
https://twitter.com/MarzGurl/status/973996015165489152

There's a hell of a lot more, but if this document is correct, I'm over 1000 words on this. You're all welcome to go explore the threads yourselves. I limited my searching/reading to just a few individuals, that of Obscurus_Lupa, Linkara, FoldableHuman, and Lindsay Ellis. But, again, more were discussing it.

Other random stuff I didn't know. Foldable Human was on the site briefly. Never knew that. He, and here I'll explicitly use the word apparently, apparently made anti-GamerGate videos that made people angry and got him fired.
https://twitter.com/FoldableHuman/status/973825825303924739
https://twitter.com/FoldableHuman/status/974418746428112896

They had to film the game show pilot over a dozen times. Also, their massive studio/warehouse isn't used for shooting because they never sound-dampened it, and that's why so much of current Nostalgia Critic is done in the front office hallway/room.
https://twitter.com/FoldableHuman/status/974079990391218176

Here's a link to a long group Skype call where various contributors to the site aired their grievances. Apparently very little of this came to fruition. Only two newsletters came out, one of which was to announce the cancellation of all further anniversary specials for the site because of... weather.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FJO-DYK7inMmsB0YAslv8cys9-tp-IbX/view


There's a lot more, like stuff about Demo Reel, the game show they tried, the Facebook killer that was... barfiesta. And so on. There's even some stuff that others hint at that sound like big things, but that no one wants to come out and outright say; in other words, this is the stuff they're willing to talk about publicly and there might be worse stuff. It's hard parsing this stuff, so if I missed anything let me know as well as if I messed up some links. If anyone has other stuff, please feel free to post it. I know Lupa got a lot of crap, and stuff with Noah has been a saga. (Also, as a heads up, someone posted on the old site some videos a guy was making about Channel Awesome and the first video was about Noah. Turned out the guy who was making those videos is a GamerGator so if those get posted and you don't want to give him clicks/views, give a warning).

And, one last thing. Some are going to be upset by all this stuff coming out. That's to be expected. But, while you may go "I wish I never gave them any clicks/views" some of the people I've quoted who were hurt by all of this have expressed on twitter that it's ok, you didn't know, and they're somewhat grateful that they gained a following even after all of it. However...


I've spent about two hours reading and trying to compile all this crap.... so you don't have to!

*shoots gun wildly and screams*

Updates:

Their PR person, Holly Christine, and one of the very few paid people at Channel Awesome had to be escorted home by people with a baseball bat and a sword.

"Oh, hey, and who can forget the time Mike Ellis got fired and CA put me in a safe house for a few days because they were concerned he would come after me? Nothing was more strange than being escorted to my house with a group of guys with baseball bats and a sword so I could pack"
https://twitter.com/gookygox/status/974871593414545408?ref_src=twsrc^tfw&ref_url=https://s9e.github.io/iframe/twitter.min.html#974871593414545408

"To inject a bit of humor in the horror, I wish I could remember who carried the sword. I WANT to say Doug, but I’m pretty sure it belonged to Rob. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure it was Doug who tested the pepper spray by spraying it into the kitchen sink."
https://twitter.com/gookygox/status/974879076610727936

Another compilation of stuff:
http://marzgurl.tumblr.com/post/172243441932/things-that-channel-awesomes-management-has

Also, a google document is being compiled with contributions from a lot of people. I’ll post it when it goes live.
 
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BKatastrophe

Member
Oct 28, 2017
6,317
So they have a big warehouse that they never sound-dampened? But is for the purpose of shooting scenes?

Also jesus christ that’s an essay.
 

SecretCharacter

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
739
Colorado Springs, CO
I was an extremely close friend of JewWario's and heard stories. Lots of people I know love Doug's NC character, but I'd be hard pressed to enjoy any of the stuff he put out without having very negative feelings towards it.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,125
Well that's sad to hear. I loved NC back in the day but it sounds like this is all one big clusterfuck.

Lindsay is the best tho. Glad she went out on her own.
 

KalBalboa

Member
Oct 30, 2017
2,417
Massachusetts
Yeah... as someone who has worked in the industry with humble YouTube roots, The Channel Awesome work environment and final products always wreaked of unprofessionalism and poor management.

The game show crowd funding versus final product is jaw dropping. Where in Earth did that money go?
 

AniHawk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,035
kinda not surprised that doug, who kinda stumbled into success after riding rolfe's coattails, isn't the best sort of person to deal/understand other people. i never gelled with his idea of what humor comes from, and i don't think he actually grew in the decade+ that he's been doing this.

that said, it's kind of surprising how much talent did come from there. didn't know about dan olson! i watched him outside of channel awesome, but never knew it was where he got his start. still watch phelous occasionally, and i think lindsay ellis is a gem. i always liked nostalgia chick, but seeing her go from that to loose canon to her current longform video essays has been inspiring.
 

Flame Lord

Member
Oct 26, 2017
897
I feel like I've been reading stories for years about how shitty stuff is in the background of that site, but it was all mostly from anonymous posters on 4chan. For instance the part about Doug not knowing what he's doing during the recording of one of the anniversary videos I remember reading a long ass time ago. Nice to hear it all from more credible sources.
 

KalBalboa

Member
Oct 30, 2017
2,417
Massachusetts
I remember getting chewed out by some CA fanatics years back on the old forum when I mentioned that Nostalgia Critic videos still didn't have proper white balancing after 6-7 years of being at it.

That fanbase... Oy.
 
OP
OP
Brian McDoogle
Oct 25, 2017
5,858
I remember getting chewed out by some CA fanatics years back on the old forum when I mentioned that Nostalgia Critic videos still didn't have proper white balancing after 6-7 years of being at it.

That fanbase... Oy.
I felt like Doug actually finally addressed this in an intro to one of his Nostalgia Critic videos years after the fact in that he and the background were actually colorized properly.

Meanwhile, Lindsay would tweet out an apology if her color balance was wrong (as I think she did in a video with Mara Wilson, who she apparently had a falling out with).
 

OrangeAtlas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,404
I used to be a big Nostalgia Critic and Channel Awesome fan, I don't think I ever ended up watching To Boldly Flee because it was so damn long. I think I dropped off when Doug started getting into more skits and a lot of the other talent dropped away.

I've heard some inklings of these stories before but never anything this in depth. Twitter's a pain to sift though but I appreciate you putting in the effort to compile and summarize a bit. Some of these stories are just nuts, I think everyone knows what it's like to be an amateur but if you've been doing it this long and have this many people on the line you'd think you'd figure it out better or at least bring someone in who can. Real shame what some of these people had to go through but they seem to have come out the other side all right.
 
Oct 27, 2017
10,223
I felt like Doug actually finally addressed this in an intro to one of his Nostalgia Critic videos years after the fact in that he and the background were actually colorized properly.

Meanwhile, Lindsay would tweet out an apology if her color balance was wrong (as I think she did in a video with Mara Wilson, who she apparently had a falling out with).
Oh yeah, I remember her from her old videos. The chick who was Matilda. Does anyone know what happened between her and that other girl who was in a bunch of her videos?
 
OP
OP
Brian McDoogle
Oct 25, 2017
5,858
Oh yeah, I remember her from her old videos. The chick who was Matilda. Does anyone know what happened between her and that other girl who was in a bunch of her videos?
Are you thinking of Nelli? They're still friends, I think, just different places. Same with the other lady who does vampire reviews whose name I can't recall. Here's a recent picture of them together going to New Zealand for an upcoming video on LotR/Hobbit.

https://twitter.com/thelindsayellis/status/972633083437559808
 
Oct 27, 2017
10,223

Jazzem

Member
Feb 2, 2018
1,606
Amazing work OP on chronicling this horrendous ordeal. What a sordid tale of mismanagement, incompetence and complicity :/ If nothing else, it's sweet how many of these producers became close friends and are doing better than ever with their work.

Meanwhile, Lindsay would tweet out an apology if her color balance was wrong (as I think she did in a video with Mara Wilson, who she apparently had a falling out with).
Aww no, really? :(
 

Nairume

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,396
Doug being like that is really no surprise after the hissyfit he threw over people hating his awful attempt at transitioning to lets plays. That was pretty much the moment I really stopped paying him any attention, though I had already been losing interest after his gimmick started wearing thin and it became incredibly apparent he wasn't nearly as insightful as he thought he was.

Like, I get Hook isn't the best film, but it takes a certain kind of being stuck up your own ass to so thoroughly miss the point of the film with his analysis of the third act.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,357
Florida
Doug Walker also had to be told basic things, like make sure the set had food/water. Everyone was cooped up in a hot attic waiting to shoot their scenes, and Doug gave everyone very little notice on what was being filmed. People had to explain to him basic filmmaking techniques/rules, to have a second camera, and to backup footage so it wouldn't be lost (some was anyway).
https://twitter.com/FoldableHuman/status/973848908601352192
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974213561496100865
https://twitter.com/Obscurus_Lupa/status/974216590848921601
https://twitter.com/Linkara19/status/973853186019688449
Ironic how Tommy Wasseuish that comes off as. :P
 
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OP
OP
Brian McDoogle
Oct 25, 2017
5,858
Also, I can't find them now, but I swear I read when compiling all of this that someone said Doug considered himself as a "next Spielberg" and that his reviews were insightful and on par with Roger Ebert. But, I can't find them readily, and I don't want to do an exhaustive search, so maybe I'm just hallucinating all of it after reading all the tweet threads.
Ironic how Tommy Wasseuish that comes off ass. :P
When I started reading it, a lot just sounded sad/bad. Then the stuff about Doug Walker trying to make To Boldly Flee popped up and it sounded so clownish and on par with The Disaster Artist. Like, there's a scene where they don't have water and are in heat and someone faints in The Disaster Artist, and then....
She mentioned it in a Contrapoints stream that they are no longer friends and had a falling out, but wouldn't elaborate on it. Best to not speculate.
 

SteadFast

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
5,208
I've said it before, but the best thing that ever happened to Lindsay is getting as much distance between herself and that mess of a channel. Well done OP, there's a bunch in there that I had no idea about, like Doug's utter ineptitude when it comes to back film-making etiquette, which, considering the overall results of those films (granted I only saw 2) and how hard he's ran in on other film-makers as NC, I have to find beautifully ironic.
 

Mobu

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
3,113
Also, I can't find them now, but I swear I read when compiling all of this that someone said Doug considered himself as a "next Spielberg" and that his reviews were insightful and on par with Roger Ebert. But, I can't find them readily, and I don't want to do an exhaustive search, so maybe I'm just hallucinating all of it after reading all the tweet threads.
thats from an old /tv/ thread

I dont know if it was legit but the whole thing is an hilarious read
 

Mechanized

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,436
Drama is drama. I mean you can tell from Doug and Rob's real reviews that they might be hard to work with, they have that kind of personality. But Doug does so much fan and charity work I just can't hate him over this stuff.

People make shitty choices, some people are hard to work with. Nothing sounds really insidious here.
 
OP
OP
Brian McDoogle
Oct 25, 2017
5,858
Drama is drama. I mean you can tell from Doug and Rob's real reviews that they might be hard to work with, they have that kind of personality. But Doug does so much fan and charity work I just can't hate him over this stuff.

People make shitty choices, some people are hard to work with. Nothing sounds really insidious here.
In some of the stuff I sifted through, sounds like they (the Walkers) weren't really big on fan interaction and conventions. Descibed as a big waste of time. I don't know their charity work outside of the SOPA which directly affected them so I understand why they focused on it.

I was an extremely close friend of JewWario's and heard stories. Lots of people I know love Doug's NC character, but I'd be hard pressed to enjoy any of the stuff he put out without having very negative feelings towards it.
I missed this post. I didn't know JewWario and never really followed him or his stuff, but the details surround his death sounded awful and I'm sorry for your loss.
 
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Meffer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,391
JewWario's passing was really sad. Good guy that made great videos showing niche games that should be appreciated.
 

mreddie

Member
Oct 26, 2017
13,356
I was a follower of them since I saw the site in 2010 and I gained friends from there and I fell off around Flee and I have heard how Allison and Phlean left (Dropped because she left a Skype call for 15 minutes)

It seems it was a big clusterfuck since 2010. Yeah everything went to hell after Justin's passing, Spoony's meltdown and Gamergate. And man, that fucking Game show.

They funded that shit but told their own producers they couldn't promote their Paterons
 

SecretCharacter

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
739
Colorado Springs, CO
JewWario's passing was really sad. Good guy that made great videos showing niche games that should be appreciated.
I was considering making a You Can Play This video, just as an homage, but I literally can't bring myself to do it.
He really did a lot for exposure of the import market in the US, but the Blistered Thumbs years weren't great. It was a good platform for him to grow on, but the behind the scenes drama and gradual slowing of ad revenue was what caused him to move away from it all.
What's interesting is that Doug is scheduled to be a guest at a local convention this summer. I was considering talking to him, but it's probably not a great idea.
 

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
7,554
That vid that foldable got "fired" for,
I think it was the vid that circulated at the old site during the height of GG.
It's also when I started following his stuffs.
I kind of wish he would do more stuffs on youtube these days...
 

mreddie

Member
Oct 26, 2017
13,356
Remember when they allowed the the amazing atheist on the site?
Think Marz explains that he got in because one of the former founders was his friend. Both him and AA left after AA did GAYEST VIDEOS and AA complained he was never pushed on the site.

This was even before he because a bigger shit. Back then, he was just a shit.
 

Rmagnus

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,923
Was a fan many years back but stop watching for some reason, kinda thankful for the channel since it enable me to discover Lindsay and cinema snob.
 

louisacommie

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,209
New Jersey
lol, seriously?

Same. Didn't know how complicit he was in a lot of this.
TheDistressedWatcher was his name, didn't remember when he came on but I do remember the drama with his "humorous" homophobic video that got him kicked off.

Brad Jones is kinda fine, though I remember some of his friends making jokes that are uncomfortable in hindsight. Specifically one of his friends joked that since he was being forced to see a Madea movie that he should watch it with black face on.
 
Oct 26, 2017
794
Didn't know about Michaud.im grateful for NC because it led me to Lindsay Ellis. I still watch it from time to time as background noise.
 

Gundam

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,231
Doug Walker always rubbed me the wrong way, and I dropped him pretty quickly after discovering him through that AVGN thing.
 

Deffers

Member
Mar 4, 2018
1,535
Gosh, this is fucking weird to read about. I remember loving Suburban Knights! I didn't even know Dan Olson was on Channel Awesome. And if you read the replies it could be that it wasn't about his Gamergate video at all-- it was about his 8chan article, for those of you who remember that. I'm, uh... not gonna post that but if you don't know what I'm talking about and you want to know, send me a PM. That's some heavy, heavy shit.

Honestly, I feel so sad for Lindsay, given what she shared about her experiences in Hollywood late last year. It feels like she *really* hasn't caught a break and I'm glad she's in a better position now.

Yunno, it fascinates me. When I was watching early Nostalgia Critic vids, I was thinking to myself that the low-tier production values were emblematic of a new wave in media that would have a lo-fi, low-budget feel. Now that I realize that ninety thousand dollars got us... that, uh... gameshow, and now that I know the kind of production values that Lindsay and Dan and them all are capable of on their own, it makes me realize that a lot of the production just looked crappy because it was crappy. And it was crappy because CA was mismanaged.

It's weird to have gone from really thinking the Nostalgia Critic was a great guy to just slowly feeling more and more alienated too, as a person who drifted away from the channel for no real reason. It just stopped feeling like it was as good after Demo Reel, right? Peeling back the curtain and finding all this bullshit is leaving me skeeved out.