This is a little different from the usual topics about games/anime, but I feel this is something that many of us content creators need to know about. Channel Awesome has been through the ringer over the past two weeks. For those that don’t know, Channel Awesome is network of content creators focus on reviews of various forms of media, with its most prominent member being the Nostalgia Critic. Doug Walker, The Nostalgia Critic, has been an internet icon for over a decade. He helped popularize video reviews on YouTube and gave a spot light to lesser known content creators. Awesome right? Apparently not so. Controversy has erupted, as Channel Awesome alumni have illuminated a dark side of CA that somehow went unnoticed by the public. Contributors have been leaving left and right for a few years. Even more have left since the release of a Google Doc penned by former CA contributors. I won’t get into the details as that would turn a simple blog post into a PhD thesis. Click here or watch the above video by Quinton Reviews for a more detailed account of what has happened behind the scenes at CA. It’s a doozy.
Where to begin with this? From what I’ve read, there’s a repeating pattern of poor communication, intimidation, misogyny, and all-around shadiness. Every thing comes back to CEO Mike Michaud being an immature, vindictive prick. He routinely uses intimidation tactics towards female contributors, holding them to a different standard than their male counterparts. Many instances of sexual misconduct being blatantly ignored by Michaud. Michaud consistently displayed many instances of poor communication and sheer incompetency. He can’t even be bothered to even watch the content imbedded on the site he owns.
While Michaud is the main antagonist of the Channel Awesome Downfall arc, the Walker brothers are certainly no angels. Doug comes across as a clueless idiot lacking empathy while Rob seems rather arrogant. Both seemed willfully ignorant of the hostile environment created by Mike Michaud. Both are unwilling to listen to criticism or feedback. The filming of anniversary specials were quite brutal to cast members. Doug and Rob put them through difficult working conditions, with actors passing out or getting hurt. Neither of them would listen to input from talent. This is a man who makes a living of making fun of incompetent filmmakers, yet Doug Walker is no different from Tommy Wiseau. He seems incapable of writing anything that doesn’t revolve around parodies or references. Not only that, he wrote in an implied rape scene between Lindsay Ellis (formerly the Nostalgia Chick) and Linkara. Both of them objected vehemently to it. Yet, Doug insisted to keep it in as he couldn’t understand why they were objecting. Wow, just wow. Then there was when Doug decided he was ending the Nostalgia Critic and didn’t tell anyone on CA about it. He just hands them the script of the final anniversary special and that’s how they find out.
This is disappointing on so many levels. While I hadn’t watched much Nostalgia Critic, since the end of its original run in 2012, Doug Walker was a big influence on me and my career path choices. Part of the reason I’m a content creator today is from watching the Nostalgia Critic back in the day. He always seemed like a nice guy, so this came as a shock to me. But he has been willingly compliant with Mike Michaud’s awful management style. I had a similar experience with Jontron last year when he said horrible, hateful things. I simply had to unsubscribe. I couldn’t watch his content anymore without thinking of those hate comments. Normally, I try to separate the art from the artist, but sometimes that’s simply impossible. I’ve done the same thing to the Nostalgia Critic. For someone who claims to hold progressive politics, he sure was compliant in a a lot of misogynistic behavior. Nothing but a hypocrite. All I can say is I’m disappointed, very disappointed.