A bombshell was dropped on the Christian community this week when Charisma News published the accounts of several woman who claimed to be inappropriately sexually propositioned by popular online comedian John Crist.
The article was riddled with allegations that range from affairs with married women, to him exchanging show tickets for sexual favors.
Crist, who made his name performing clean comedy in Christian churches and festivals such as Winter Jam, responded to the allegations by owning up to some of it. The news broke just shortly after he had announced his very own Netflix special, and its unclear how the scandal will affect its release. It did however, force him to cancel his tour.A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy
At least five women came forward to Charisma News and offered detailed accounts of their run-ins with the comedian. One of which included a woman who Crist offered to mentor and later got drunk and propositioned for sex. Another woman claimed that she and Crist engaged in an inappropriate relationship while she was still in an abusive marriage. Her and Crist frequently sexted and slept in the same bed shorty before she finalized her divorce. She also knew about another sexual relationship he was conducting at the time with a mutual friend, according to Charisma.
Although Crist did not address these women directly, he admitted to conducting himself inappropriately in a lengthy apology issued to Charisma.
“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,” he said.
Crist also said he’s sought out professional help for his sex addiction during the past few years in his statement, and claimed that he will focus more on getting better now that his issues have been made public.
“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,” continued Crist.
He also claimed that that his family and friends have known about his issues with sex for quite some time.
Did Christians do Enough to Stop Him?
Charisma specifically pointed to Crist’s relationship with fellow Christian personality Jon Acuff whom he wrote blog posts for back in 2012. Crist had been a part of Acuff’s Facebook group for young professionals called “Start” where he allegedly solicited sex from several women.
Some went on to conduct sexual relationships with the comedian, and when Acuff’s wife Jenny learned about this, she removed Crist and cut all ties with him, according to Charisma. Despite the break from the group, Acuff went on to promote Crist’s comedy specials on his Twitter a few years later. A source told Charisma that Acuff maintains a close relationship with Crist to this day, and has been a mentor to him. The source also claimed that Crist’s sex soliciting had been brought up a “few times” in the circles that Acuff works in, but believed that it was usually “glossed over.”
Is News Like This Still Surprising to People?
Christians are often caught off-guard by stories like this despite how frequently they are released. My old job made a living off publishing Christian sex scandals and how so many of these so-called Christian entertainers fall from grace. Crist shouldn’t be looked at any different from some of the mega-church pastors who use their influence to conduct inappropriate sexual relationships.
Can Crist bounce back?
Crist’s actions have not only been hurtful to these women, but have also caused them to give up on their very own Christian faith, according to the Charisma piece. By assuming the role of a Christian, Crist was able to build a trust in these women that other entertainers wouldn’t have had the luxury to do. Determining whether his faith is authentic or not is out of my hands (see my Kanye West Antichrist piece), but it is important to note that when someone is labeled Christian, they are often perceived to be safe, making believers with a large influence that much more dangerous.
Crist could definitely bounce back from this based on some of the other comeback stories we’ve seen in the comedy realm like Kevin Hart who was caught on camera cheating on his wife, and in the church like Kirk Franklin who was an admitted porn addict.
I believe his Christian fans would be satisfied with genuine repentance, although they’d be skeptical at first, while his non-Christian fans would probably look past this as long as he came back with some good material. However, if Crist publicly repented and was caught again, it might be hard for the church to continue to support his career.
What do you think about Crist’s behavior and a possible comeback?