Screen Junkies’ YouTube channel, the home of their popular series Honest Trailers, went silent three weeks ago shortly after multiple accusations of sexual abuse against the channel’s co-creator became public. Two women, one a former intern, the other a fan of the channel, came forward earlier this month to publicly accuse Andy Signore of making inappropriate sexual comments and attempted sexual assault, respectively. (Signore has not publicly responded to the allegations.)
A more detailed statement on the harassment I received from Andy Signore. pic.twitter.com/wVGwr8ATCa— AprilDawn OfThe Dead (@April13Dawn) October 6, 2017
The allegations came as part of a deluge of sexual harassment stories in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Screen Junkies’ parent company, Defy Media, announced shortly afterward that they were investigating the accusations, and Signore was first suspended, then fired two days later.
After three weeks of silence on the channel, Screen Junkies’ leadership released a video on Thursday titled “What Happened, What’s Next.” Producer Dan Murrell started off by explaining the long silence, noting that Signore was “not just our boss, but someone we counted as a friend.” He said, “We found out overnight that he was not a person that we knew or that we thought he was. It’s taken a lot of time for us to process that, to ask the questions that need to be asked, and to feel comfortable coming forward and just talking to you guys.”
Murrell thanked the fan community for their continued support in the aftermath of Signore’s firing and asked fans to extend that support “tenfold” to the women who have come forward to share stories of sexual harassment. Screen Junkies News editor in chief Roth Cornet then explained that an investigation has been launched into how Defy Media’s human resources department handled the initial complaints about Signore and introduced the company’s new set of initiatives, which include a review of HR policies, mandatory sexual harassment training for all employees, and new guidelines for interaction between creators and fans.
These are fairly standard practices in the wake of a very public sex abuse scandal—the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just announced that they will also establish their own code of conduct—but Screen Junkies’ response is notable, and admirable, in its tone. The video doesn’t shy away at all from the seriousness of the accusations or try to downplay the problems in Screen Junkies’ culture that allowed Signore's alleged behavior to go on. Most importantly, the team promises that the channel won’t just go back to business as usual in the coming weeks. Honest Trailers writer Spencer Gilbert suggested that while that famous series will pick up where it left off, other recurring Screen Junkies features will be “different in tone” and address issues dredged up by the Signore scandal. “We’re gonna have some conversations in public that we’ve been having in private.”
“What we want to do is not just rebuild the channel but help make this a community that is more accepting, that is a place where people feel comfortable coming in,” concluded Murrell, who said that during the three-week hiatus, he and others had considered not returning to Screen Junkies at all. “That’s certainly what brought me back, the chance to take this and learn from it. We have a chance to rebuild this community in a way that’s very positive.”