As many of you may or may not have heard, Channel Awesome (formerly That Guy With the Glasses), home of the Nostalgia Critic and many other fairly well-known internet reviewers past and present, has been under some serious critical fire after a damning collaborative 73-page tell-all was released by several of the site’s former content producers last week (though it seems to have been updated yesterday).
Rumors have flown for years about misconduct, abuse, and truly staggering levels of managerial and filmmaking incompetence, but the cat seems to be relatively well out of the bag now.
•Mike Michaud is the lazy, yet short-tempered (not to mention short-sighted) and demanding CEO of the channel responsible for a large part of the harassment including, but not limited to:
- The unceremonious firing of Alison Pregler (Obscurus Lupa) after she was away from her computer for 15 minutes and missed a Skype call with Michaud and subsequent persona non grata removal of her content from the site within the same hour.
- A prior occasion where he cornered and yelled at her for the slight increase in ad breaks on her videos which resulted in her crying in a bathroom.
- Telling one of the more small-time producers that his desire to create/participate in a tribute video to the then recently-deceased Justin Carmichael (JewWario) wasn’t warranted because the producer wasn’t a big enough name for anyone to care about.
- Taking anywhere between days to months to respond to emails from producers, though sometimes not at all.
- Firing the channel’s long-time HR person one day after major surgery and then withholding her severance pay unless she signed ANOTHER contract saying she would not work in the field of internet-based media and/or entertainment for 5 years. She declined.
- Creators were discouraged from appearing at conventions (particularly MAGfest) allegedly after Doug had a bad experience at one...once.
• Complaints of all kinds from harrassment to difficulties with the site layout and everything in between went unaddressed 90% of the time; Men were simply ignored, women were labeled "troublemakers" and "difficult."
• Countless promises were made to reorganize the notoriously outdated and difficult-to-navigate main site, including profiles of each creator and trailers for their shows. These things were created, but never implemented.
• The site's eventual redesign was very Nostalgia Critic-centric, despite the name change from "That Guy With The Glasses" to the more general "Channel Awesome" and despite the promises of equal attention being given to what creators remained on the site.
• The $90,000 Indigogo scandal was largely Michaud’s doing because he wanted a game show on the channel but had absolutely no ideas on exactly how to run one, what the theme or gimmicks were to be, and whether or not to pay those involved.
• The Blistered Thumbs crew were not notified that they had been fired, instead found out via tweet.
• Doug Walker (The Nostalgia Critic)'s filmmaking skills haven't seemed to progress beyond being fairly amateur, despite being in the game for over a decade.
• Does not even own the rights to his own characters, including the Nostalgia Critic (Michaud does)
• Uses the camera's on-board microphone instead of purchasing boom mikes, had to be taught how to record things directly to mp3 after trying to use extremely convoluted way of recording/transferring sound over several platforms and devices
• Films his reviews in small office space in warehouse the channel purchased to use as a major studio because the building not at all sound-proofed or intended for film
• Walker holds oddly narrow views of the very nature of comedy (that literally all humor stems from misfortune) and won't hear any other ideas on the matter
• Genuinely did not seem to understand why or how the rape scene he wrote between Linkara and The Nostalgia Chick in one of the anniversary movies could have possibly been offensive; instead of removing it, he removed about 2 lines and forced them to film it anyway
• Scripts for the anniversary movies were never more than half-completed before actors were flown in and filming began; on-the-fly rewrites were abundant and often the actors had less than 5 minutes to try and memorize large swaths of new dialogue
• Refused input from the creators during the filming of the anniversary movies about their own characters, ending up with them being poorly written at best and wildly out of character at worst.
• Could not grasp basic shot composition, continuity, or proper sound mixing on the anniversary movies
• While not a complete asshole, definitely comes across as a "small name, big ego" type and is too naïve for his own good
• The actors in the anniversary films were not paid for their time. Travel costs were compensated, but that's it.
• Doug's brother Rob is an asshole and the two would often get into arguments on set
• Seemingly intended for To Boldly Flee to not just be the end for The Nostalgia Critic, but everyone else on the site, as the farewell speech he gave to the cast and crew seemed to indicate.
• The Walker brothers had to be told to provide food and water on the set of the movies, even for the one they filmed in the Nevada desert.
I feel like this is too long already. There's so much more to unpack there and I highly encourage you to read the Google Doc and no longer give CA any of your time or money. If there's a creator from the site you're particular to, I suggest you go directly to that person's Youtube channel and enjoy from there.
Dear Channel Awesome: