Many YouTubers have been talking about this Google Doc. There’s a lot to say about it, but I will summarize the accusations being made against Channel Awesome.
In short, Channel Awesome is a company of internet critics and YouTube entertainers, originally starting with the Nostalgia Critic, that makes comedic reviews of various forms of media.
About two weeks ago, a large group of former Channel Awesome reviewers came together to form a Google Document detailing their individual grievances and abusive treatment at the hands of the company’s CEO, Michael Michaud, and the inaction of Doug and Rob Walker.
The document begins with a foreword by Kaylyn Saucedo, aka MarzGurl, who states that the goals for many of the document’s contributors are “to get this information off their chest,” to be hopefully acknowledged for their grievances, and “to protect other innocent people from having to experience anything like this in the future,” specifically that “other people considering partnering with an entertainment group will take [their] stories as a cautionary tale…to protect themselves as they join the vast world of content creation.”
After the foreword, there is a table of contents listing the former Channel Awesome contributors. The contributors are: Allison Pregler (Obscurus Lupa), Kaylyn Saucedo (Marzgurl), Holly Brown (administrator), Lewis Lovhaug (Linkara), Williams DuFresne (Suede), Jacob Chapman (JesuOtaku), Benjamin Daniel (Benzaie), Jon Burkhardt (ChaosD1), Dr. Gonzo (Nerd to the Third Power), Leon Thomas (Renegade Cut), Sean Fausz (Epic Fail), Beth Elderkin, Cferra (Wiki), Topher Ames (Fool Fantastic), Animerica, Tom White, Lindsey Ellis (Nostalgia Chick), Iron Liz, Leslie Rice, and a few others who wished to remain anonymous.
The full description of grievances can be found on the original Google Doc which is 73 pages long, but fortunately, the contributors have made a condensed version that can be read here.
To save you the trip, I will describe the grievances here.
Primarily, the accusations center around Michael Michaud, the current CEO of Channel Awesome, who has a history of “being unprofessional, aggressive, immature, difficult and misogynistic.” I’ll break these down into parts.
Unprofessionally, Channel Awesome’s website management was “of poor quality, organization, rule consistency, payment and transparency.” Many attempts made to bring serious concerns to management were met with few and minimal attempts at repair.
In 2013, when many producers brought forward a document to fix the company’s problem with communication and address the possible concerns that came with the loss of Nostalgia Critic’s videos, their points were ignored, laughed off, or given minimal attention.
This mismanagement extended to their crowdfunding campaign, which was evidently so mismanaged that Indiegogo threatened an investigation, their crossovers, and their projects.
Aggressively, Channel Awesome would often threaten to “drop producers” who said things “they felt would make them look bad” on social media and in videos, even when “no rules were broken and they weren’t mentioned.”
In addition, management would have a “contentious” relationship with producers who tried to increase their revenue through increasing ads or starting a Patreon.
Immaturely, in the words of the contributors, “there has been a pervasive feeling amongst the long-term producers that they are no longer valued or appreciated, and that Channel Awesome cares only for their in-house development.” Channel Awesome has exacerbated this feeling by “purging” from the site any producer who asks to leave without announcement, whereas before there were “heartfelt posts or even goodbye videos.”
Difficultly, Holly Brown, a former administrator, was asked to work every day with no breaks for holidays or weekends. Then when she was terminated for no given reason, Brown was forced to sign an exclusivity contract which barred her from working in the industry for three years at the risk of losing her severance pay.
Misogynistically, Michaud was known within the company for dealing for aggressively with women than with men when they made requests.
In addition, and perhaps most seriously of all, the management of Channel Awesome was aware of then CFO, Mike Ellis’ sexual misconduct and abuse but did not take any disciplinary action for another year. Years later, they were made aware of an unnamed producer’s sexual conduct, but again, Channel Awesome did not act for about another year.
Rob and Doug Walker were part of the reason that the anniversary specials were as difficult on producers as they were. But as for the other problems, as far as is known, they knew about the problems and did nothing.
In addition, Doug Walker, aka the Nostalgia Critic, made decisions regarding the website that had the potential to drastically affect many producers’ incomes without consulting any of them. For example, he did not tell the other producers when he planned on retiring the Nostalgia Critic back in 2012.
In conclusion, these allegations have been overshadowing Channel Awesome’s work since the beginning of April. Channel Awesome has acknowledged the document, but the Nostalgia Critic has continued making videos without acknowledging the Google Doc. The total fallout of this scandal has yet to be seen, but things are not looking good for Channel Awesome.
Edit: I had said in a previous version that Channel Awesome had not really acknowledged the document. They have on their website. I regret the error.