Christian Comedian John Crist’s upcoming Netflix special “I Ain’t Praying for That” was put on an indefinite hold by the streaming giant due to the recent sexual misconduct allegations brought against him.
The special was set to debut on Thanksgiving, but has now been removed from the Netflix website without any update on how long it will be delayed. A rep for the streaming company reached out to Entertainment Weekly to confirm this.
The Importance of a Netflix Special
A Netflix special would have marked a special milestone in the career of Crist who’s been grinding the internet for years with his wholesome, sometimes church-inspired comedy bits. The streaming service has become a go-to for comedy during that past few years releasing specials with legends like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. The platform even inspired a rumored comeback from Eddie Murphy who hasn’t released a stand-up comedy special since “Raw” in 1987.
Crist’s Rise to Prominence
Crist would have been one of the first Christian comedians to grace the platform, and this was probably due to his impressive online following. He boasts over 1 million followers on Instagram, and most of his YouTube skits have view counts in the millions. They often feature satires of Christian culture.
The Sex Scandal and Apology
The promising comic’s career hit a crater-sized pothole last week when five women claimed sexual misconduct on the part of Crist to Charisma News. The comedian, who portrays a family-friendly Christian image in a lot of his material was allegedly exchanging show tickets for sexual favors and conducting affairs with married women. Crist did not specifically acknowledge any of the women, but did apologize for a history of bad behavior and the treatment of women when it came to sex.
“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.
He also stated that he will be seeking out professional help for sex addiction and that his family and friends have been aware of his behavior for the last few years.
“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.
The report from Charisma also prompted Crist to cancel his remaining tour dates for 2019.
In our previous post, Can John Crist Bounce Back?, we discussed what it would take for him to overcome this and make a significant comeback both in the mainstream and Christian circles.
What Will Netflix do?
Now that his Netflix special is up-in-the-air, it’s unclear what the trajectory of his career will be. It’s likely that after this story dies down a bit, Netflix might consider quietly releasing it since there will be a lot of fans that will look past his offensive behavior towards women.
This is unfortunate, but a common practice in the entertainment industry. Such was the case with R Kelly back in the early 2000s when he was seen on tape having sex with an underage girl. Sure he was found not-guilty in a court of law years later, but the outrage wasn’t enough to get record labels to take action against his music. It wasn’t until nearly 15 years later, and dozens of women coming out against him in the Lifetime special Surviving R Kelly, that true action was taken against his various streams of income.
Many people have commented on my previous post regarding Crist stating that he should be given another chance if he is truly repentant. However, the Charisma report highlighted many cases where irreparable damage has been done to the lives and Christian faith of these ladies. I very much doubt this will end Crist’s career, but it will certainly set it back a bit. The issue here is that if not enough action is taken by the Christian community meant to hold him accountable, it might look like they take this type of behavior way too lightly.