Some readers might be aware of the independent American media website, Channel Awesome, and its eponymous profile on YouTube. Over the last decade the company has grown into a popular movie, television and games review platform, many of its videos featuring founding member, Doug Walker, better known as “That Guy with the Glasses” or “The Nostalgia Critic”. Before its current incarnation, the brand had a typically complex internet history, passing through several phases, led by Walker, his brother Rob and the present CEO, Mike Michaud. From 2010 to 2015, the site featured a significant number of contributions from people who would go on to become YouTube stars in their own right, including Andrew Dickman (of Electronic Heroes), Kyle Kallgren (Oancitizen), Allison Pregler (of Obscurus Lupa Presents and latterly Movie Nights), Phelan Porteus (of Perlous) and Lindsay Ellis (The Nostalgia Chick).
Unfortunately, this seems to have been a particularly fractious time for the nominally cooperative business, with a series of historical claims of misconduct against its management now emerging through a file published on Google Docs. This has been attributed to many of its former presenters, notably Allison Pregler. As with any complaint of this nature, the whole thing is quite messy and given to a certain level of in-group presumption. In other words, there is an unwarranted expectation that others are largely familiar with the names and incidences being referred to. Which is not always the case (for instance, I hadn’t a clue that Lindsay Ellis began her online career with Doug Walker back in 2008).
Former Channel Awesome fan Quinton Reviews gives a good overview of the allegations, teasing out the tangled strands that form the background to the story. As might be expected, the controversy has generated considerable commentary among YouTube users and content-makers, with opposing sides emerging with quite strong views. And willing to act on those views.