Connect with us

Industry

Andy Signore Responds to Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Published

on

  • Andy Signore released a video on Monday addressing sexual misconduct allegations against him that surfaced nearly two years ago.
  • In the video, he apologized for making inappropriate comments to fans, but denied ever assaulting anyone.
  • He argued that his relationship with one of his accusers, April Dawn, was consensual.
  • Dawn later tweeted a response to the video and defended her previous claims.

Signore Accused of Misconduct

Screen Junkies creator Andy Signore has responded to sexual misconduct allegations and is maintaining that the assault claims against him are false. 

In 2017, Signore, who was at the time the Vice President of Content at Defy Media, which owned Screen Junkies before its collapse, was accused of sexual harassment and assault. One allegation came from a former employee named Emma Bowers. She identified herself as an intern working for copy credit and said that Signore sent her inappropriate messages complimenting her physical appearance.

 “Lol jacking it to you in your undies,” one message read. 

Another major allegation came from April O’Donnell who goes by April Dawn. Dawn was a fan of Signore and the Screen Junkies who said that Signore sexually assaulted her multiple times. She alleged that he tried to force a sex toy inside of her, took photos of her without her permission, and promised her a position at Screen Junkies for sexual favors. 

When she tried to report this to HR at Screen Junkies, she says they did nothing to help her. This claim was backed up in a statement by her boyfriend, who worked at Screen Junkies, as well as another Defy employee named Dani Fernandez.

Dawn said that Signore threatened her boyfriend’s job over the matter. She also found other women online who said they had received inappropriate messages from Signore in the past. 

These allegations resulted in Signore losing his job at Defy. In August 2018, he sued to the organization for claiming he was wrongfully fired. The lawsuit was settled in June. 

After the accusations came out, other stories brought to the surface painted a similar picture of Signore. In a 2018 interview, Roxy Striar, who worked at Defy under Signore, said that while she was never assaulted, she found his behavior crossed lines. 

“There were things that would happen through the years that I spoke about and was really, I didn’t speak about it publicly,” Striar said in an interview with Kristian Harloff.

“Uncomfortable,” Harloff asked.

“More than uncomfortable, really inappropriate,” she answered.

“He was a super, super inappropriate guy,” she later added.

Signore has denied ever harassing Striar. 

Signore Responds to Claims

On Monday, Signore posted a video titled “#MeToo Misfire – An Honest Defense of Andy Signore” in an effort to clear his name. He said that until now, he was not legally allowed to discuss the situation. 

“The truth is I did awkwardly flirt with and make inappropriate comments to some of my fans despite being married,” Signore admitted. “And in doing this I betrayed so many people that I love and respect. I put them into horribly awkward and uncomfortable positions. And I’m truly sorry for this behavior.” 

While he admitted to inappropriate flirting, he still denied ever assaulting anyone.

“These egregious claims labeling me a sexual predator, workplace harasser, and a rapist are categorically untrue,” Signore said. “And I do not want my family hounded forever by such malicious slander.” 

He claims his relationship with Dawn was consensual and referred to it as an affair. He showed text messages between to two to show the relationship was mutually founded. 

He says that they met at a comic con in 2015. In the messages, he claims the two are flirting. In one Dawn says thinks being his groupie would be fun. However, in some of the messages, it does appear that Signore is doing most of the flirting. He refers to her as a cute nerd girl, says he can’t stop thinking about her, and says he will regret not kissing her for the rest of his life. 

Screenshot via YouTube: Popcorned Planet.
Screenshot via YouTube: Popcorned Planet.
Screenshot via YouTube: Popcorned Planet.

Signore then addressed Dawn’s accusation that he took photos of her, and claimed it was false. He showed screenshots that show that Dawn had sent nude photos herself. 

Signore also said that while Dawn claimed she was invited out to Los Angeles to appear on Fan Cam, this was not the case. He said they planned this together, and that when she got to L.A., she sent him messages about hooking up. Based on the screenshots, it appears she invited him to her hotel room and mentions needing condoms.

After revealing this, he denied ever using sex toys in any of their encounters. 

Signore then continues to say in 2016, he received an email from Dawn saying she found messages he was sending her to be unacceptable. However, he claims he was not sending her anything. 

In the e-mail, Dawn says that she only went along with their relationship because she was concerned for her safety based on comments he made.

 “It honestly was at the point I was afraid to turn you down for anything and kept making excuses for you to not do anything to me,” Dawn wrote. 

Screenshot via YouTube: Popcorned Planet.

Dawn also requested that he stop calling her, and sending her texts, emails, gifts, and mail. She added that she was “truly afraid of the lengths you would go to get what you want.”

Signore replied saying he had not contacted her in a while and will continue to not do so.

He goes that when he learned Dawn took the matter to HR, he told them about the relationship and sent their correspondence even though it would jeopardize his marriage. He wanted to prove to HR that their relationship was consensual. He said that Dawn had given no evidence of his misconduct. He claims the reason HR never followed up on her complaint was because of his evidence.

Signore then accused Dawn of leading a charge against him. 

She began to look for anybody that she could find who had ever been a fan of the show to look for infidelities and other exchanges that she could use against me,” Signore claimed. “She was determined to have others join her in labeling me as a serial abusing rapist who was ready to assault the next woman in my path.” 

Dawn did not accuse him of being a rapist in her statement against him. 

After addressing the allegations from Dawn, he moved onto the ones from Bower, which he also claimed were false. He said that these events took place before Screen Junkies existed. He also said that Bowers was not an intern and was actually higher up than she implied. 

He then said that she sent him nude photos of herself and that he responded with compliments. However, they both agreed that the situation was awkward and mutually apologized. 

“I remain perplexed that Emma would inflate our indecent, comparing me to the criminal and abusive acts of Harvey Weinstein,” Signore said. 

He then adds that he believes the stories that Dawn and Bowers told made the flirtatious messages he sent to fans look way worse than they were. He shares a tweet that backs him up in part and reads: “His behavior is appalling but if anything the majority of these DMs just prove he’s a cheat, a bit of a creep and has zero game.”

He also includes this message from a girl who shared a screenshot of their interaction. 

“Never said I was harassed,” the girl states. “Just sharing my interactions with him. Like I said at the time, I thought it was all innocent.”

As for why he believes Dawn might fabricate this situation, Signore believes she wanted to use his status.

“I believe that she was using me for access to my brand,” Signore said. “And I believe that when I became unavailable, due to being married, she moved onto my colleague. And I believe that she didn’t want him to think that she was using him too.”

He adds that he thinks her accusation undermines real sexual assault victims and says.

“I’m not proud of many of the lousy decisions that I have made, but I committed no crimes,” he states towards the end of his video.

Statements About the Video

Rogue Rocket reached out to Signore for further comments about the situation. He again admitted that he made mistakes when speaking with fans. 

“At the time I had developed a warped idea in my mind that conflated fan support with romantic interest,” Signore told Rogue Rocket. “And that led me to make some poor choices in the realm of fan interaction. As has been documented, I crossed lines in that regard that I now very much regret.”

“While it has been devastating to be caught up in this movement as I have been, I am grateful for the opportunity to have become a better person,”
Signore added.

He also told Rogue Rocket about his intentions behind making the video. He said he never wanted to deny he did anything wrong, but said he did want to tell his side of the story. 

“I did not make my video to dispute any of that,” he said. “My priority is to clear my name of a wrongful sexual assault allegation that has cost me my reputation and my livelihood.”

Dawn responded to his video in a tweet. She stood by her allegations and maintained that she is telling the truth. 

“I was ready then and I’m ready now to take the hits, comments or criticism you can throw at me because at the end of the day I know my truth and what I did was right,” Dawn wrote. 

Industry

Twitch Shares Its First-Ever Transparency Report, but Critics Want More Accountability

Published

on

  • Twitch released its first-ever Transparency Report on Tuesday in a continued effort to address toxic and harmful behavior on the platform.
  • While Twitch listed several statistics detailing how it’s taken action, many still accused the platform of ignoring user complaints.
  • The Anti-Defamation League also argued that Twitch’s report lacked additional vital data, including a list of the specific communities being targeted by hate speech on the streaming site.
  • The complaints against Twitch’s transparency culminated when a staff member directly told users that the platform would not be addressing why Dr Disrespect, a popular streamer, was permanently banned in June 2020.

Twitch’s Transparency Report

Twitch released its first-ever transparency report on Tuesday as part of a continued attempt to reduce hateful conduct, sexual harassment, violence, gore, nudity, and even terrorist propaganda on the platform.

In the report, Twitch notes that over the past year, it’s “made a 4X increase in the number of content moderation professionals available to respond to user reports.” In other words, Twitch is saying that it’s now much more likely users’ reports will be processed soon after being filed. 

Despite this, Twitch stopped short of saying how many moderators it actually employs.

In another statistic, Twitch said at least 92% of live content viewed on the platform last year “occurred in channels with chat that was moderated either by active moderators, or AutoMod, or both.”

Source: Twitch

Throughout the report, Twitch continues to list similar stats, including that the total number of enforcement actions on the platform rose 41% between the first and second half of the year.

Calls for More Accountability

Reaction to the data set has been mixed. While WIRED described the report “as a victory lap for [Twitch’s] recent moderation efforts,” the platform is still being plagued by criticism that it failed to ever take action against some user complaints.  

“I had [a] person send me repeated death threats and threats of violence,” one person tweeted. “I reported it to you several times providing screen shots and you took literally 0 action. If you are going to flex about keep people safe you might want to actually do something instead of whatever this is.”

Likewise, the Anti-Defamation League noted that Twitch’s report contains no information on specific communities being targeted by hate on the platform. 

As Nathan Grayson, a writer for Kotaku, noted, “The report contains a handful of other, similar data sets, most of which paint Twitch in a favorable light. Certainly, they’re a useful measure of Twitch’s growth in these areas… The problem with these kinds of reports, however, is that they have a way of appearing to say a lot while revealing very little.”

“Twitch has offered numbers and a small amount of context, but streamers and viewers remain in the dark on major issues that came to light last year,” Grayson continued.

Part of that involves last year’s permanent ban against Dr Disrespect, who was booted off Twitch in June after years of streaming and even a multi-year deal with the platform. To this day, it’s still unclear exactly what precipitated the ban. 

It also looks like (at least for now) it’s going to stay that way.

That’s because during Twitch’s Transparency Report Breakdown, one user popped into the chat and asked, “Any Dr. Disrespect news??”

Instead of Twitch ignoring the comment, a staff member flat out said, “no.”

Source: Twitch
See what others are saying: (Kotaku) (Dexerto) (Wired)

Continue Reading

Industry

James Charles Denies Grooming Allegations

Published

on

  • Over the weekend, a 16-year-old who goes by Isaiyah accused 21-year-old YouTuber James Charles of grooming him.
  • Isaiyah shared censored versions of nude photos James allegedly sent him as well as Snapchat messages showing the YouTuber allegedly asking for explicit photos. 
  • James denied the accusations, saying Isaiyah initiated contact with him, sent lewd photos first, and told him he was 18. James also claimed that once he learned Isaiyah was 16, he stopped contact, though Isaiyah insists this is not the case.
  • Since then, two more people have come forward with their own stories detailing situations where they felt James acted inappropriately with them.

James Charles Accused of Grooming

James Charles is denying grooming allegations after a 16-year-old posted videos accusing the YouTuber of sending and asking for explicit photos. 

The accuser, who goes by Isaiyah, shared his allegations in videos on both Twitter and TikTok last week. On the latter platform, he has over 260,000 followers.

Isaiyah claims that he and James began talking on Snapchat on February 17, and he hoped the conversation would give him a chance to interact with an influencer he looked up to. However, Isaiah says James ended up making their conversation sexual. 

He shared photos of their interactions, including one snap where James is allegedly asking for Isaiyah to send videos taken in the shower. In another, James appears to mention Isaiyah’s genitals and says, “I bet you can make me finish just by flexing and showing off your hair.”

Isaiyah also shared censored nude and partially nude images that James allegedly sent, which he says prompted him to tell the YouTuber he is only 16.

“I was getting really uncomfortable so I told him my age and I told him I was 16 and meanwhile, he’s 21, he’s a grown man,” Isaiyah said in the video. “And then he proceeds to say, ‘oh but I didn’t get to see the….yet’ meaning my body. And after telling him no, like I’m not going to send it to you, like, he kept asking for videos and pictures of body hair and me flexing and stuff.” 

Even after this, Isaiyah claims James still asked to FaceTime with him. He ultimately said the interaction left him seeing James in a new way. 

“I’ve heard multiple stories about him doing this to people but you never believe it until it happens to you,” Isaiyah said. “So now, I’m a big believer of what James Charles does to other people.” 

Both TikTok and Twitter have since removed the videos detailing these accusations, according to Insider. 

James Charles Denies Allegations

On Friday, James took to Twitter to tell his side of the story. He called the grooming accusations “completely false.” He then said he found Isaiyah on Instagram’s explore page.

He said he noticed that Isaiyah followed him, so he decided to add him on Snapchat. James also claims he woke up to multiple messages from Isaiyah saying how excited he was to speak to him, as well as lewd photos from him.

“I asked how old he was right away and he told me he was 18 so I started flirting back,” James continued, adding that he never saw ID to verify his age. 

It’s now clear, based on the video he uploaded, he was taking photos of me with another device, and had an ulterior motive from the beginning,” he continued.

“Later in the day, he said a few things that made me question the validity of his original age answer and when I asked him to confirm his age once again, he admitted he was 16.”

“I told him I was really uncomfortable and apologized for flirting, but he insisted on continuing talking, saying it could be our little secret, he’s a fan of mine and would never tell anyone,” the post continued. “I told him I wasn’t okay with this, he started getting upset, and at this point I unfriended him. We haven’t spoken since.”

James wrote that he was not trying to victim blame or make himself out as the victim, but instead wanted to share his story because he has dealt with accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior in the past. Moving forward, he stressed that he will ask people for their ID or passports to verify their age before speaking with them. 

Isaiyah shot back at James’ statement and insisted the popular influencer was well aware of his age. 

“James we both know I blocked you, you never asked for my age. After I told you I was 16 you proceeded to ask me for nudes and said it didn’t matter,” he wrote. “You called me hot and said ‘I wish the timeline could speed up so you can be 18.’”

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

“If you’re gonna text someone, make sure you know their age,” he added in another tweet. “He added me on insta, my insta has my tik tok which shows me age.”

In another post, he said he would be contacting the police about the situation. 

More People Speak Out

At least two more people have since come forward with their own stories about James over the weekend. One said on Twitter that they told James they were 17-years-old, but the YouTuber still flirted with them on social media.

They said nothing sexual happened; however, it still felt weird, making them feel compelled to share the story as others were speaking out. Those tweets have since been deleted. 

Another person, who goes by LifeOfUzzy on Twitter, said they had a “disgusting” experience with James. In a lengthy Twitter thread, he shared screenshots of their messages and a video his brother recorded of him opening a Snapchat from James as proof of their interactions. He claims that things started out fine but took a turn when James began flirting.

“We started talking for a little and he was actually A VERY NICE person the first few days. He told me he wasn’t looking for anything until he started calling me ‘daddy’ and ‘babe,’ LifeOfUzzy wrote.

He then shared a video of James allegedly spamming him, asking to do a video call, and apparently asking him to do “disgusting things.”

LifeOfUzzy wrote that after James allegedly used him for “sexual pleasure,” he sent James a message ending things and asking him to delete the pictures he screenshotted. 

LifeOfUzzy explained more details in a series of TikToks and a YouTube video, claiming he was just looking to get to know James, but that James clearly had no interest in this and was asking him for specific and explicit pictures. He said James stopped talking to him after declined. 

James has not responded to these two newer allegations yet. 

See what others are saying: (Insider) (Cosmopolitan) (Dexerto)

Continue Reading

Industry

Former Member of David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad Says He Was Sexually Assaulted by Jason Nash on Video

Published

on

  • Former Vlog Squad member Seth Francois says he was sexually assaulted in a 2017 prank that YouTubers David Dobrik and Jason Nash pulled on him.
  • Francois agreed to be in a video where he would make out with fellow Vlog Squad member Corinna Kopf while she was disguised as an old man. However, the costumed person he actually kissed was 45-year-old Nash.
  • In 2018, Dobrik pulled a nearly identical prank on Francois again, despite Francois repeatedly stating he was not okay with what happened.
  • Francois says he is not trying to “cancel” anyone but his attempts to resolve the matter behind closed doors with Dobrik have not been successful, so he felt he had to tell his story publicly. 

Seth Francois Calls Kissing Prank Sexual Assault

Former Vlog Squad member Seth Francois says he was sexually assaulted in a prank that massive YouTuber David Dobrik pulled on him with fellow creator Jason Nash. 

Francois first told his story to Ethan and Hila Klein on the H3 Podcast on Feb. 12. The prank in question happened in 2017. At the time, Dobrik asked Francois if he wanted to be in a video where he made out with Corinna Kopf while she was disguised as an old man. Francois agreed, but when he kissed the costumed person, Kopf was not the one behind the mask. Instead, it was 45-year-old Nash. 

“I was touched by someone I did not consent to,” Francois said on the podcast. 

He told BuzzFeed News that it felt wrong when it happened, but as more time passed, he began to feel even worse. He decided to call a sexual assault hotline to talk about and processs the situation. 

“They said, ‘I’m sorry you were sexually assaulted.’ And I broke down,” Francois told the outlet. “I called my mother and some of my close friends and I said, ‘I can’t believe that happened to me.'”

Francois said Dobrik asked if they could make a similar video again, but Francois refused, explaining he did not like the prank and did not want to have to go through that again. Still, in 2018 Dobrik ended up pulling a nearly identical stunt. 

The second time, Dobrik told Francois that they were making a commercial for Jack Link’s Jerky, which Francois was thrilled about. When Francois got to the set, there were people in gorilla costumes, and he was instructed to make out with one. When that person took their mask off, it was Nash again. 

Francois said this incident ultimately led to him moving out of Los Angeles.

Jack Link’s Jerky has since tweeted that they were not involved in the stunt and do not condone any non-consensual conduct that occurred. 

Other Allegations Against Dobrik and The Vlog Squad

On top of all this, Francois said that during his time in the Vlog Squad, he was pressured to participate in racist jokes that played into stereotypes about Black people. He felt he could not say no to these bits.

“It was an unwritten thing where you see a pattern of people saying, ‘Yo, I’m uncomfortable with this,’ and all of a sudden they disappear and they’re not in videos anymore,” he explained on the H3 Podcast. 

These are just the latest in a series of accusations former Vlog Squad members have made about Dobrik, Nash, and group’s general culture. Nik Keswani, known to fans as Big Nik, explained to H3 that the group was “toxic” and like a cult. Keswani said that he was bullied and felt forced to make jokes about his own size, which led to other people thinking they could make fun of him in cruel ways. 

YouTuber Trisha Paytas has also accused Dobrik and Nash of inappropriate behavior on multiple occasions. Both she and Francois also say they have heard rumors about Nash assaulting other people or sleeping with minors. In some cases, Paytas says victims have contacted her directly about it. 

Dobrik has not commented on the sexual assault allegations brought up by Francois, but over the summer he did issue a general apology for offensive content he had posed in his past. 

“I want them to have a positive experience when they interact with anything I produce,” he said on his podcast, “Views.”

“And with that being said, I feel like on a handful of occasions I just missed the mark on that, and that really bums me out.”

Why Francois Is Speaking Out

For a long time, Dobrik has been a top creator on YouTube. He is known for his Tesla giveaways and was dubbed Gen Z’s Jimmy Fallon by The Wall Street Journal. Francois said he felt the need to speak out because he fears Dobrik is not remorseful and is unaware of the harm he has caused. 

“If [Dobrik and Nash] don’t know what’s wrong and they don’t understand that what they did was wrong, it makes me feel like that could still happen. Or maybe it has happened to other people who are afraid of speaking up,” he told BuzzFeed

Francois said that he has asked for the videos to be removed, but Dobrik tried to offer him cash to keep them up. Dobrik eventually unlisted both prank videos and later privated the second one.

Francois has since tried to resolve the matter privately but has not gotten a response from Dobrik. He told Insider that his goal in speaking up is not to “cancel” anyone, though he felt he had no option but to make the matter public. He is now also considering legal action, which is a path he initially did not want to go down.

“People were saying I’ve betrayed David, but I feel like he betrayed me,” he told the outlet. “I was very hurt and even right now talking about it, it really makes you want to cry.”

“They profited off causing me a lot of mental trauma, which is something that really hurts to know,” he continued. 

Now, people are calling for Dobrik to respond to the allegations. Many are starting to see his content in a new light and believe he should issue an apology. 

See what others are saying: (BuzzFeed News) (Insider) (Yahoo)

Continue Reading