Screen Junkies Controversy

Image result for andy signore

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about this, but I decided that the issue was too important to ignore.

Andy Signore, the creator of Honest Trailers and one of the driving forces behind Screen Junkies, has been suspended by Screen Junkies’ parent company Defy Media this past Friday for reported sexual harassment.  Several women have come forward over the last few days claiming that Signore harassed them, which included one woman who claimed that Sigmore tried to sexually assault her.

April Dawn claimed on Twitter that Signore attempted to sexually assault her and tried to keep her quiet by threatening to fire her boyfriend, Screen Junkies’ employee Josh Tapia (known as JTE).

In a statement, Defy Media said: “We at Defy Media have no tolerance for harassment or retaliation of any kind. We have been conducting a thorough investigation into allegations made against Andy Signore and are preparing to respond to those allegations and take appropriate action. Given the additional statements that were made [Friday], we feel it is necessary to suspend Andy’s employment while we continue our investigation. We will take all necessary action once the investigation is fully complete.”

This was a difficult story to hear.  I am a fan of Screen Junkies and their content.  I have been watching Movie Fights for over two years now, and I was a subscriber to their attempted streaming service.  I have followed them to YouTube after that service ended. Andy Signore was the judge on the Movie Fights show and that is how I was introduced to him, before I knew of his power behind the scenes.  I did not always agree with Signore in his judgment on the show, but I always respected his opinions.

Then this news broke.

Reading tweets from other employees of Screen Junkies was heartbreaking.  Dan Murrell, Roth Cornet , Lon Harris, Billy “Business” Patterson, Spencer Gilbert, and Joe Starr all had tweets that reflected their shock and disgust over the allegations.  Some of them went as far as saying they would not return to work until something was done.  We also saw tweets from Screen Junkies guests such as Scott Mantz, Roger Barr, Steven Rocha, Josh Macuga weighed in with their thoughts.

I had missed the Movie Fights show Thursday night and I watched it today.  It featured Andy as a judge with Murrell on the panel against JTE.  It was surreal.  Watching the show, I couldn’t help but think about how this was recorded live the night before the story broke on Friday and how awkward some of this must have been.  Plus, it is very possible that this was the final Movie Fights appearance for Signore.

What does all of this mean for Screen Junkies?  I have enjoyed their work for many years now, but how will this affect them?  I hope the channel can survive this controversy.

However, there is no room in the world for this type of behavior.  You are innocent until proven guilty, but it sounds as if the evidence is pretty damning.  No woman should be trivialized or assaulted, physically or verbally, by a man under any circumstances, though someone using their position of power to lord over them is even worse.

I want to state that I respect these women for their bravery and their honesty coming forward to tell their stories.  Too many times in our society, the victims are seen as the villains and are criticized or attacked.  That is unfair, but it is a sad truth of the world we live in.  These women have been supported by many, including Dan Murrell, who wrote on Twitter that “I hear you and I believe you.”

I can’t imagine what these men and women are feeling.  It is a tough situation.  We, as fans, feel like we know these people whom we watch and connect.  This is a reminder that these people are still truly strangers to us, no matter how much we feel like we know them.  It is impossible to know them fully from just their on-screen persona.

To anyone who feels as if they are being victimized, don’t take it.  Speak up.  Come forward.  It is the only way it can get better.

As for the Screen Junkies, I will continue to support your work because I am not going to hold Andy Signore’s alleged impropriety against you.  That would not be fair.

I love live tweeting during Movie Fights Live or TV Fights Live and one of my favorite things is when either Dan Murrell or Billy Business reads one of my tweets from the Embrace Your Geekness account.  I hope that this new does not finish that enjoyment, but I am happy that these women may get their justice as well.

 

 

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