Channel Awesome has found itself mired in massive controversy, after multiple complaints by now former employees. What does this mean for the brand?
Channel Awesome has a problem and I honestly have no idea where to start – that’s how serious this problem is. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest controversies I’ve ever seen; in a way it’s a lot bigger than the Logan Paul controversy from earlier this year. Why? Because it involves more than one person and it could seriously affect other content creators.
So, what’s happened? Basically a whole lot of content creators left the Channel Awesome network and released a file that outlined some serious issues that they had with the company. This promptly cost the channel a lot of subscribers as well as content creators. The company’s response to the situation has only made things much, much worse.
Let’s go back to the beginning: The ‘Not So Awesome’ document
Okay, so let’s retrace our steps and go back to the starting point of this whole thing: the ‘Not So Awesome’ document.
On April 2nd, 2018, a group of former content creators created a Google Doc titled: Not So Awesome.
In this document, now 73 pages long and counting, these former content creators outline their various grievances with the Channel Awesome network. And it’s pretty damning stuff.
There are allegations of mismanagement, bullying, mistreatment, lack of communication, lack of payment, misogyny, sexism and sexual harassment, among other things.
Does it get worse? Yes, yes it does. since the release of the Not So Awesome document there has been a ton of backlash against the Channel Awesome platform.
The Channel Awesome Responses
Now, there were actually two different responses to this whole controversy and they’re both equally bad.
Response 1: We’re sorry we hurt your feelings.
The first response was posted to the official twitter feed for the Channel Awesome network, and, well…
As you can imagine, this did not go over well with anyone. Many of the people who read the response, me included, were left decidedly angry at the Channel Awesome network. The whole statement is just… wrong. It’s wrong on so many levels that it’s just not funny. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of this statement, shall we?
“For those who have spoken out about past instances they deemed hurtful, or unprofessional, we sincerely regret you felt that way.”
This is probably the line that brought tempers to their boiling points because if you read the document, there are numerous instances listed where concerns/issues were brought to the attention of the network’s management, and they were ignored.
The other problem is that – and many of the people who’ve covered the story online have pointed this out – they’re basically saying that they’re sorry that they hurt these people’s feelings.
Response 2: They’re Lying
The second response released by Channel Awesome came out on April 11, and, oh boy, if you were angry before then you may need a cuppa or two before we continue. No? You’re good? Okay then, here we go.
The new response is a full blog post which couldn’t possibly sound pettier than it already does. It starts off – and this is %100 real – by this quote:
“Since the release of the ‘Not so Awesome’ document on Monday, April 2, 2018, we have been exploring all our options of how to address the lies that have been alleged by multiple disgruntled individuals with vindictive intentions.”
Do I even need to explain the problem here?
First of all, these ‘disgruntled individuals’ have every reason to be frustrated and infuriated by you.
Secondly, what possible motivation could they have for lying to the world about your business practices? Seriously, what do they get for it? A Noddy badge? A box of Swiss/Belgian chocolates? What’s in it for them?
The piece continues by stating that they won’t address all 73 pages but they’ll address what they think are the biggest allegations. before listing accusations and ‘facts’.
If it’s all the same to you guys I’m not going to go into details on this second response because I don’t have the patience (or control over my temper). Plus, we’d be here for a long time if I did. Instead, if you’d like to, you can read the response for yourselves here and draw your own conclusions and opinions.
Worsening the Backlash: Bleeding SubscribersNot looking good for Channel Awesome – Source: Social Blade
As expected, these responses made many people very, very angry, and, following the first of the two responses, a number of content creators left the site, including: Chris Stuckmann (Stuckmann Reviews), Dominic Smith (the Dom), Matthew Buck (Film Brain) and others.
The departure of these contributors took out a massive chunk of the Channel Awesome fan base as the people who’ve been subscribed to those who left CA went with them. To put this into perspective, Chris Stuckmann has 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube and Dominic Smith has just hit 105 thousand subscribers.
At last count, Channel Awesome had lost just over 50 thousand subscribers.
This sent Channel Awesome into full recovery mode, which actually saw them make things worse instead of better with that second response. Since then their subscriber count has continued to fall. They are, as one YouTuber covering the story put it, bleeding subscribers.
So, what are the major effects here, if any?
Other than the producers in the Google Doc, who else may be affected?
When I first heard of this story last week, it was purely by chance; I spotted a video which included #changethechannel in the title and that raised a red flag or two because whenever I see something like that it’s never a good thing. The more I followed up on the story on YouTube, the more I started wondering about something: Who else is going to be affected and how?
Much of the coverage is on Channel Awesome and the former creators – and rightly so. But how will this controversy affect other platforms and smaller content creators, if at all?
In terms of other platforms, I believe YouTube is the only place of significance for CA and as much as I’d like to think it’ll affect them, I doubt it. YouTube is a massive platform with thousands (or more) creators punching out content on a daily basis, so if Channel Awesome were to disappear, I doubt that it’d have a serious impact on YouTube statistically-speaking.
To a point, the same can be said about smaller content creators. Many smaller content creators may have doubts about joining larger networks and large networks like Channel Awesome may have trouble convincing them to join up in the first place. This means that they won’t do as well as they normally would.
Still, that doesn’t mean Channel Awesome is finished, does it? Well, not really.
Recent developments indicate that Channel Awesome could be doomed…
When I was researching this article, I came upon a post with a photo of the Channel Awesome team with certain faces marked with a red X, indicating (potentially) that those people are no longer with CA. With the exception of four people, every single person was marked with the red X.
If Channel Awesome wasn’t doomed at the start of this whole thing, it looks like they are now because there are rumours flying around that Doug Walker (the Nostalgia Critic), who was arguably the network’s cash cow, may have left Channel Awesome. This is significant because many of the people who subscribed to CA were there for the Nostalgia Critic series.
There isn’t much in the way of evidence that confirms or denies that Doug Walker has left CA (it is a rumour after all). Most of the evidence – if you can call it that – is circumstantial at best.Eveyone’s left – Source: Social Blade
The Nostalgia Critic show is no longer listed on the CA website’s show’s tab and in fact, if you go to the network’s website you’ll find that they have only two shows listed (Cinema Snob and Guru Larry) and from what I understand Larry is there for a laugh to see if he can win the”first and last Channel Awesome Hunger Games” – I’m not kidding about that either, it’s all over Twitter.
Final Thoughts: What’s Next?
Well, that’s anyone’s guess at this point. The story is still developing at the moment and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. In terms of effects, thus far it’s largely been Channel Awesome to suffer the backlash and it doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.
One thing seems pretty clear, however. Channel Awesome is losing this chess game; they’re in check and it’s their move.