Comedian John Crist has always been one of the more genuinely funny Christians on YouTube. In addition to typical (secular) stand-up material and short skits, he specializes in poking fun at evangelical culture in a way that plays well even in front of church audiences. No other audience will delight at a “fantasy draft” involving well-known worship leaders or feel more at home discussing which cartoons they weren’t allowed to watch as children.
But according to Taylor Berglund of Charisma News, Crist is canceling the remained of his current tour after allegations of “sexting, harassment, [and] manipulation.” There’s nothing criminal in the allegations, but they’re disturbing nonetheless. If nothing else, several women spoke to Charisma and the similarities in their experiences are troubling.
(I know Charisma is often the subject of mockery on this site, with its over-the-top articles about witchcraft and prophecies, but this article appears to be well-researched and thorough.)
According to multiple sources, Crist has exploited his Christian reputation and platform to harass, manipulate and exploit young women over the last seven years. The allegations include, but are not limited to, individually sexting multiple women during the same time period, initiating sexual relationships with married women and women in committed relationships, offering show tickets in exchange for sexual favors and repeatedly calling these women late at night while drunk.
… To be candid, our editorial team does not relish being in this position. We sifted through and gathered information for months before deciding to move forward with the story. Though the allegations against Crist are not criminal, we believe they are newsworthy for three reasons. We believe pastors and leaders who book Crist at their ministry events need to know the person they’re signing. We believe leaders who make Christianity part of their public persona — whether or not they are formally in ministry — should [be] held to a higher standard. And above all, we believe the body of Christ must police itself and has an obligation to protect the innocent and vulnerable among us.
Maybe the saddest line in the piece comes from one woman who said she was hesitant to leave his presence even after he made an unwanted move on her because she figured he was a Christian and therefore “won’t do anything inappropriate.” That may be why his bad behavior went unchecked for so long.
Crist was quick to respond with a statement when approached by Berglund. But it’s not exactly an apology. It’s more of a “I’ve done bad things, but I didn’t do those bad things, but I’ll step away before the bad things get worse.”
“Over the past number of years, various women have accused me of behavior that has been hurtful to them. While I am not guilty of everything I’ve been accused of, I confess to being guilty of this — I have treated relationships with women far too casually, in some cases even recklessly. My behavior has been destructive and sinful. I’ve sinned against God, against women and the people who I love the most. I have violated my own Christian beliefs, convictions and values, and have hurt many people in the process. I am sorry for the hurt and pain I have caused these women and will continue to seek their forgiveness. I have also hurt the name of Jesus and have sought His forgiveness.
Over several recent years, I have privately sought and received regular professional treatment for my sexual sin and addiction struggles. I’m committed to getting healing and freedom from my sin and have decided to cancel my remaining tour dates this year and to postpone all future commitments in order to devote all my time and energy on getting healthy spiritually, mentally and physically.
Those closest to me — my family, team and close friends — have known about this battle for some time, and now you do too. I’m ashamed of my behavior and I’m so sorry for hurting so many people. I don’t blame anyone but myself. I’m responsible for my actions and I’ve repented and am taking full ownership. I realize it will be difficult for some people to ever forgive me, and I accept that as a result of my bad decisions and actions.
My entire career has been lived out on stage, and even though I’ve shared many of my life struggles with my audiences, I’ve lived in constant fear of the darkest parts of my life being exposed publicly. My greatest fear has been that those who have loved and supported me would hate me if they knew everything about me. I now humbly seek forgiveness and mercy and love — not just for me, but for those I’ve hurt along my path. I’m so sorry.”
He includes many of the right buzzwords to be forgiven by the most gullible people in his audience: I’ve “hurt the name of Jesus.” I’ve “sought His forgiveness.” You get the idea. If they can forgive (or overlook) Donald Trump for sexual assault, Crist’s unwanted sexual behavior will no doubt be forgiven in a heartbeat. How many church gigs will he have lined up after he gets “freedom” from his “sin”?
It’s also convenient that he’s taking time off to work on himself only after his misconduct has been revealed in the media. Somehow, even though people close to him have allegedly known about his problems “for some time,” there was no need for recovery until this very moment.
Also, at least one venue said the tour was canceled due to “health concerns.” Quite the euphemism.
Refunds will be automatically credited to your account.
Thank you for your understanding and continued support of John. pic.twitter.com/zMaSIp2CXl
— Mohegan Sun Arena PA (@MoSunArenaPA) November 6, 2019
Crist was slated to have a comedy special called “I Ain’t Prayin’ for That” premiere on Netflix this Thanksgiving. No word yet on whether that will still happen.
Given Crist’s non-denial response, there’s reason to think this account is substantive. If that’s the case, Berglund deserves a lot of credit for the careful reporting, as does Charisma for publishing it.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Nullifidian for the link)