They also released a condensed version, boiling the 73+ page document down to eleven main points: docs.google.com/document/d/1d7…
And if reading isn't much your style, the entire main document was read on livestream by Fredrick Kundsen, who does a series of videos called "down the rabbit hole" in which he talks about concepts and stories that seem to get bigger and bigger the more you uncover: [link]
I was reluctant to add to this conversation for several reasons. The first and most prominent one is one that I still think does kind of apply - I don't know how much that I could contribute to this conversation. I don't know if I could offer a new perspective or new information. But beyond that, I was waiting for Doug Walker's or Channel Awesome's response to this. Something more premeditated that that stupid twitter statement (which we will talk about). I waited until Tuesday when they usually posted their new video on their website... and it was just a typical episode. Then on Wednesday, they didn't even post it to their YouTube channel. But later that night, on the website, they posted essentially a blog post: channelawesome.com/our-respons… which was kind of... a final straw with me. It was a final straw with a lot of people. The third reason that I didn't want to contribute to this conversation is some fading hope that the people involved would perhaps make the right decision.
People keep asking me what I feel about this situation. I'm still trying to wrangle that. There are the common emotions - anger, sadness, broken pedestal, etc. But there are other things too, a fleeting hope that the people behind this will make the right decision but the knowledge that even if they did it at this point it would be too little too late. Let me state under no uncertain terms, and with full disclosure that Doug Walker, and by extension, Channel Awesome has been a monumental inspiration to me throughout my entire career. I can fully guarantee that I would not be doing what I am doing today without his influence.
This is one of the most pathetic rebuttals that I have ever seen. Even if all 73 pages of that document are bunk, this rebuttal is so poorly put together in the flimsiest attempt at anything that I've ever seen. My favorite part of this entire blog post is this:
"ACCUSATION – Holly Brown makes numerous accusations throughout the document.
FACT – Holly Brown is a former employee and shareholder who was allowed to resign. Unfortunately her accusations are not true and are vindictive in nature."
That's... really what you're going with? You're going with the "fake news" defense. Really? Like... really? Ignoring anger or annoyance or whatever, I'm just... baffled. She was allowed to resign... Okay, that's good, she was not a slave by the technical definition. All employees, by definition, are allowed to resign. That doesn't make it okay to treat them like shit. I mean, wasn't the website founded during the Great Recession, when it was painfully difficult to find even a low paying job?
"Unfortunately her accusations are not true and are vindictive in nature" Okay... why should I believe you over her? Can you prove some kind of malice or falsehood. It really is pathetic. Maybe you're right and these aren't true and vindictive. You don't give me any reason to believe you. She provided more details, and events that have been corroborated.
"ACCUSATION – Holly Brown alleges CEO Michael Michaud, is sole owner of the Nostalgia Critic IP.
FACT – The IP is owned by Channel Awesome, Inc. The partnership is owned by four individuals with a 5th person joining ownership by the end of the year."
Is this what you told Doug to get the IP from him, Mike? The IP is owned by Channel Awesome. Michael Michaud is the CEO of Channel Awesome. It's interesting, at no point do you say that Doug owns the IP. The document, if you read it, states that Doug is seen only as talent. Is he one of the four individuals? If he is, it should be an easy thing to prove. Maybe a document showcasing the current ownership of the IP.
"ACCUSATION – A few content partners alleged a misogynistic work atmosphere by Channel Awesome.
FACT – 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. We are always trying to improve ourselves both personally and professionally and moving forward we will implement mandatory sensitivity training for all staff to ensure we maintain a culture of respect for all employees."
You know what they did here, right? They played the "I'm not racist because I have black friends" card. Okay, so these women had different experiences. How does that negate the experiences of the other ones? I want to point out that the beginning of this response said that they could only reply to the most egregious accusations. You'd think that if these accusations were so "egregious", they'd have more to say in their own defense. Also, for a site with no misogynistic work atmosphere, they do spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to "debunk" their female accusers.
FACT – While we did have an initial drop after the switch to Demo Reel, the real hit to the site’s traffic came from our growing presence on YouTube. When we relaunched the Nostalgia Critic show in January of 2013, Blip.tv decided to start placing the full episode up on the LeagueofSuperCritics channel a week after we launched it on Thatguywiththeglasses.com.
I love how you try to obscure what the complaint was about. The complaint was that the NC was killed off without telling any of the contributors until it actually happened, leaving contributors afraid of their future security now that the flagship series was over. "Blip.tv decided to start placing the full episodes..." Blip.tv, did that, huh? Something they've done for no one off of ThatGuyWithTheGlasses that I've heard of. I guess it's okay if you lie about something if they're dead and can't argue against your version of events.
However, "Blip.tv decided to start plaving the full episode up on the LeagueofSuperCritics channel a week after we launched it on Thatguywiththeglasses.com". First of all, they uploaded truncated versions of the episodes. For example, the Pearl Harbor review was uploaded without many of the Michael Bay skits. Secondly... nowadays you upload videos on YouTube only one day after you upload them on your site. How is that... better for failing traffic? You do understand that getting people views was your main purpose for existing, right? That's why people wanted to be a part of you.
At times I have to wonder if this is a joke, a tongue-in-cheek "we don't give a shit" message, because whoever wrote this clearly does not give the slightest bit of shit. If you're not sorry then don't say you're sorry. Saying nothing would have been a better move. Maybe you would have known this if you didn't fire your PR person. Instead, by not owning up to anything, you're essentially saying that you did not make a mistake for ten years. That is fucking insane. Everyone fucks up in a ten year time span. I can't think of a content producer who has been around for ten years that hasn't made a single mistake. I've fucked up in a five year time span.
Take James Rolfe. There's a reason that the Cheetahman II scandal didn't kill him off. His apology for the situation is here: cinemassacre.com/2012/08/12/ch…. He actually admits that he made a mistake and didn't fully understand the situation. It's understandable. Angry Joe has made plenty of mistakes in his career, but there's a reason that no one is seeing him as hypocrite for his departure from the website.
One thing that people look for in a statement like this is some semblance that you've learned from your mistakes. And your mistakes boil down to one key flaw - pride. That you see yourself as the top of the hill and you can do anything. This response comes from someone who sees themselves as the top of the hill and that should be able to get away with anything.
"Have we made mistakes? Yes, we have. We even discuss some of our challenges in our behind the scenes videos. We’ve always focused on trying to entertain our viewers, shine spotlights on unknown talent and share our attention with various charities – and we hope to continue to do so moving forward."
Okay... which mistakes did you make. Which flaw, even the tiniest little flaw, did you have that you are learning from going forward. Anything. Anything at all. Saying "we have made mistakes" doesn't work unless you make some kind of admission. It just looks like you're trying to get the praise of "learning from your mistakes" without the cost of having made those mistakes. It doesn't work that way.
But you gave them nothing.
Once upon a time, you stood for something to people. It gets harder and harder each day to see what that was, as your actions now taint those of the past. People have been telling you to let go of the shovel, and yet you just keeping deeper and deeper and deeper, like you're going to get somewhere. Where do you think that this is going to end? You're hemorrhaging your audience, your web traffic continues to fail, and now you're even losing advertisers. Tell me, where does it end?
"We’ve always focused on trying to entertain our viewers, shine spotlights on unknown talent and share our attention with various charities – and we hope to continue to do so moving forward"
Shining a spotlight on unknown talent? Yeah, maybe if they get a crossover with the Nostalgia Critic, never. Share you attention with various charities? I don't think that now is the best time for that.
After all, the reason that this response is the straw that broke the Camel's back is that Doug has been posting this to his social media. I don't know what would be worse, if he did read it or if he still had such blind faith in Michaud that he didn't. The post was very clearly not written by Doug. Even though it was credited by "Channel Awesome" it doesn't use any of the word choices or the tone that Doug does, even when he is very serious. However, by linking to it on his own personal media, I can only assume that he agrees with it.
Up until that moment, I was willing to see Doug has someone trapped in an unwinnable situation. I was willing to see Mike as one of those con jobs who tricks niave up-and-comers into signing over their creations. When you start getting big, you get all of these emails and messages from unscrupulous people trying to sign you just to take advantage of you. And who knows, Mike Michaud might still be one of those people. Sees that Doug was rising up in fame back in 2008, get him to hand over everything on promises.
If you're wondering, in my eyes, the... moral thing would have been to drop the Nostalgia Critic then and there and try something new. (It probably would have been a bad business decision, but... considering how the "correct business decision" is turning for them, well...) I would have given anything a chance, because I wanted to believe that Doug was sheltered from any and all of this. I still do want to believe that, but that's just denial. Mike Michaud, according to the ThatGuyWithTheGlasses wiki, has been a part of this since 2008. It's been 10 years exactly. Ten years is a very long time to not see that someone is a problem.
On one level, I can respect sticking up for your friends. On the other hand, Mike Michaud is a kind of person that no one should consider their friend. If you surround yourself with people made of shit, sooner or later, you are going to get covered in shit. Doug, you might think that Mike is a loyal friend and someone who has your best interest at heart, but all I can really say is that I'm sorry you feel that way.
As a creator:
Try your best to do your best. At some point you're going to make mistakes. It inevitable, but you need to know how to address them and how to learn from them, and pretending that you're infallible and that you don't make mistakes doesn't do either. You need to know that as you grow, you're going to need to constantly change and evolve. And that's not just with the quality of your content. As you start hiring people, who need to begin to understand the give and take of that relationship. You need to understand the new needs that come up as you grow larger, more than just reaching to new advertisers. You need to do research into what is required, or hire someone who has.
There is always a better person that you can be, a better creator that you can be. Not striving for that is a choice, and it is a choice that will be your downfall. The end of a reputation always has one common denominator, the thought that they were untouchable. You're not. You will never be untouchable. It's not a spire that you can achieve. It's not a spire worth achieving. As a creator, especially an entertainer, it is your job to make people's day-to-day lives just a little bit easier, more enjoyable, if only for a brief moment. That responsibility does not stop at your audience.
As the inspired:
One question that often comes up in a situation like this is "how could I like that guy, what he made, or what he stood for?" These are often mixed in with feelings of guilt or betrayal. I'm not going to deny you your feelings, but I don't think that these are useful emotions for this endeavor. The person may have been a lie, act, or illusion, but the values that they espoused, and what they meant to you personally, that was real. Those are values you can still hold, those you can still try to achieve. Don't let a liar or a charlatan take them away from you.
As the audience:
Another feeling of guilt may be the guilt of liking something made by someone who has done something wrong. You should never feel guilt for what you truly earnestly like. It's not in your control. You have to remember that bad art can be made by good people, and good art can be made by bad people. Many of your favorite books, movies, or music was probably made by someone with a checkered past. There's nothing immoral about enjoying the creations made by even the worst person.
Supporting them is a bit more of a difficult question, and there's no objective answer. I know that there are many people who will keep watching the Nostalgia Critic and not care about any of this drama. And, I think that that's fine. I don't find it immoral or whatever. Once again, you can't change what you like. And with a ten year span of work, I'm sure that a lot of people have a lot of great memories watching and enjoying the Nostalgia Critic or anything else coming from Channel Awesome. It's not my right to deny people that.
All I really ask for those in that camp is not to deny reality. Bad things happened behind the scenes. That is objective fact at that point. It's opinion on whether or not that affects what happened in front of the scenes. If it's bad enough to tarnish your view of what happened in front of the scenes, I understand. If you're going to the site every Tuesday, no matter what happens, I understand that too. And I understand everything in the middle, if you find a way to watch the content without supporting the administration.
I would ask a couple of favors though on both sides. If you do keep watching the content, please don't go telling the other content creators. I'm okay with writing the previous paragraph because I Channel Awesome's management did not affect me at all.
If those who refuse to support Channel Awesome, don't harass the few remaining contributors on the website. You don't know why they're still holding out, and it's not really in your business as to why they do so. And don't harass the people who still choose to watch. Enough people are leaving of their own volition to do serious damage to the website and their reputation. Their website's traffic is tanking, they're losing their sponsors, they continually lose subscribers and they'll lose even more with their next half-assed attempt at an apology, they're too afraid to upload to their YouTube page, and when they finally do, it's not like YouTube is going to promote them for very long. A couple of commenters still enjoying the episodes coming out isn't going to change anything in the grand scheme.
P.S. Also, you guys really couldn't afford an HTTPS server? Come on, my website has an HTTPS server. It's not hard to get one, or even that expensive. If you could buy a website like Channel Awesome, you can get a goddamn HTTPS