It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that I have left Channel Awesome.

This was not a decision made lightly, but it has been a decision that has been building for some time. Because this is my show’s tenth anniversary, I think it’s important to talk about my history with the site and why I have been so reluctant to depart despite the growing number of difficulties in working with it and grievances made by other former producers.

I began Atop the Fourth Wall as text reviews because as far as I knew, that was the way to do recaps and reviews of media – particularly BAD media. If you didn’t have your own TV show, the only way to get your opinions and quips about awful movies, television shows, and indeed comic books was to write out lengthy essays about them. Then one day on a forum I discovered the Nostalgia Critic. I learned of this fantastic place called ThatGuyWithTheGlasses where others did their own videos about the media they hated or enjoyed, with videos uploaded to Youtube, Revver, and eventually Blip. There was just tons and tons of content waiting to be enjoyed by an eager, hungry audience.

Inspired by this (in particular the Nostalgia Critic videos), I set about turning my rantings about comic books into videos. At the time, ThatGuyWithTheGlasses (TGWTG) had an open submission policy if you wanted to join. Within only a few days, I was accepted and became a part of a larger family. As soon as my videos went up (alongside Phelous and Ed Glaser’s Press Start Adventures cartoon), my views increased in massive numbers. I suddenly had an audience – one that grew larger and larger over time. The videos were popular enough within a year or so that I was able to quit my job at Barnes and Noble and go full time in making them. Being a video producer has been my vocation and career ever since.

I owe my success to being picked up on TGWTG. Sure, talent is one part of it – people wouldn’t still be watching the show if there wasn’t SOMETHING about it that they enjoyed, but in a world with hundreds if not thousands of channels and shows vying for attention from the public, getting that exposure got me a foot in the door that, it is entirely likely, I never would have enjoyed otherwise. I have been incredibly privileged and lucky since then to have this opportunity.

Furthermore, joining TGWTG allowed me to meet a plethora of friendly, smart, creative individuals whom I am still proud to call my friends. Despite the problems that have occurred in making them, I still enjoy all of the anniversary movies – as their own works and just for the opportunity they gave me on an annual basis to meet with these people I am still in awe of. They have expanded my interests and my own skills simply by the use of their own – helping me make videos that I hope are not only entertaining but informative about the comic industry and my other passions. In essence, if I have reached wondrous heights, it is only because I stand on the shoulders of giants. I have met incredible fans with wonderful stories of their own, been told that our videos helped them when it seemed like nothing else could. I met my wife thanks to being a part of TGWTG and that is most especially something to be happy about.

And that has been a thing that has nagged at me over the last several years. In case you are not aware, there has been growing discontentment towards the leadership of Channel Awesome and its CEO Mike Michaud. It is not unfounded. The full list of grievances has been compiled into a Google doc for reference – which you can read HERE, but if you would like a summary – abusive behavior, lies to the contributors, a focus on only the Nostalgia Critic as opposed to the community of talent that was promised, and many, MANY other offenses. A few years ago, a group of contributors left the site at the same time – some leaving for their own reasons, but some left in particular because of those actions. At the time, while I was outraged by what had occurred, I wanted to remain optimistic. I believed I could improve things from within, lend my voice to the higher-ups of the company to inspire them to recapture what had made the site so beloved before. In addition, several new contributors had also then-recently joined – just as eager and enthusiastic about being a part of the site as I had been several years before. They wanted to be a part of this community and work alongside us and I felt that leaving then would have crushed their happiness and even potentially their own chances for success.

And so I stayed and I tried to do what I could to improve things. I failed. Over time, as I grew more and more dejected by this experience I resolved to simply put out my content, converse with the others on the site to help them directly whenever I could, and collect revenue for my show. Recently, however, it has come to light not just the offenses I was aware of, but even more that I had never been privy to. So many, in fact, that a twitter thread detailing them went on for two days straight of people asking questions and discovering new terrible things that had occurred that had happened even at the earliest days of my presence on the site that I had been completely oblivious of.

I have struggled since then about how best to handle my presence on Channel Awesome. I originally elected to leave much later, but at some point during this year – especially after a major milestone in order to give things a “clean start” feel, but in talking with other producers who have decided to leave, I feel it’s best to just do it and get it out of the way.

And so here we are. Perhaps I should have left sooner, but these are the choices I have made and will have to live with. Regardless of anything else, I am still happy for the friendships I have made, the work I have done, and proud of being a part of the site for as long as I have. I simply wish that things could have been better. While many have scoffed about an aggregate site like Channel Awesome working these days, I do still think there is potential there – a community of reviewers working together to promote one another and have plenty of pop culture videos and analyses, in my opinion at least, still holds sway – especially if it promotes the brand as a whole and not just an individual.

Given my reasons for leaving, please do not take my and others’ departures as a sign that you should harass or question those who do remain. The simple fact is that I have been incredibly fortunate in that I do not require Channel Awesome to survive. Others may not be as fortunate and rely upon the views they get from the site or they may just have their own reasons for staying that they do not wish to share. It is their prerogative. All I will say is that you should support the content you love. Much like with the comics industry itself, it’s a matter of voting with your wallet – or in this case, with your eyeballs.

Thank you all for your continued support. I couldn’t do this without you all.

Back Issues!

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