Vulture reports today that Netflix has shelved plans to release a new comedy special from Christian comedian John Crist, who’s been accused by multiple women of a series of sexually inappropriate behaviors. According to a report published yesterday by Christian magazine Charisma, at least five women have reported a pattern of behavior in which Crist allegedly leveraged his fame and popularity as one of the most popular comics currently working on the lucrative Christian comedy scene in order to lure them into sexual situations and relationships, sometimes going so far as to hold out tickets to his shows and tours as bait in exchange for sexual favors.
Per the Charisma article, Crist’s pattern seemed to rely on contacting women and fans via social media, establishing some level of mentorship with them, and then attempting to leverage that connection into sex. (Although at least one woman involved alleged that Crist’s interests stopped short of intercourse, so that he could maintain claims that he was a virgin.) Often these relationships involved convincing women to send sexual text messages with him, and were described by the participants as emotionally abusive. When Crist would be called on his behaviors—as he has a few times over the years—he would admit to his misdeeds, beg for forgiveness, and claim to be undergoing treatment for sex addiction.
Not coincidentally, the comedian—whose YouTube channel has more than 500,000 subscribers, and who regularly tours churches and comedy clubs around the country—issued a statement earlier this week, reporting that he’d be canceling all future dates. Here’s an excerpt:
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.
Crist’s Netflix special, I Ain’t Prayin’ For That, was set to air on November 28; according to a description, it would have seen Crist “evaluate the weakness of millennial culture, how to be a ‘good’ Christian, dating in the modern era and more.” Per Vulture’s sources, plans to release the special have now been placed on hold.