Rich Howells

Christian comedian John Crist cancels Wilkes-Barre show after sexual misconduct allegations

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Last week, stand-up comedian and Internet personality John Crist canceled his show scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township, just days before the event.

A statement shared by the arena on Nov. 6 said, “In an effort to focus on his health, John Crist has made the decision to cancel his remaining tour dates. Refunds will be automatically credited to your account. Thank you for your understanding and continued support of John.”

On that same day, however, Christian publication Charisma News published an article detailing accusations of five women ranging from unwanted sexual advances and sexting to “offering show tickets in exchange for sexual favors.” Since the report surfaced, all other dates on his Immature Thoughts Tour have been canceled as well.

Crist, who is known for his viral videos and stand-up comedy on Christian culture and his faith, admitted to some of the sexual misconduct allegations in a response to Charisma News:

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.

Those closest to me – my family, team and close friend – have known about this battle for some time, and now you do too. I’m ashamed of my behavior and I’m so sorry for hurting so many people. I don’t blame anyone but myself. I’m responsible for my actions and I’ve repented and am taking full ownership. I realize it will be difficult for some people to ever forgive me, and I accept that as a result of my bad decisions and actions.

My entire career has been lived out on stage, and even though I’ve shared many of my life struggles with my audiences, I’ve lived in constant fear of the darkest parts of my life being exposed publicly. My greatest fear has been that those who have loved and supported me would hate me if they knew everything about me. I now humbly seek forgiveness and mercy and love – not just for me, but for those I’ve hurt along my path. I’m so sorry.

Crist was halfway through his fall tour of large churches and venues when the allegations became public, though Charisma News said several sources indicated that he has been “receiving counseling and treatment for this behavior – as early as 2014 – yet continued to hurt others in the process. However, Crist has never made a public statement and apology like this before.”

Over the last decade, the 35-year-old comic from Georgia has sold out shows across the county and racked up over one billion views on YouTube with viral videos like “Every Parent at Disney,” “Millennial International,” and “Road Rage in the Church Parking Lot.” According to the original tour announcement, he has shared stages with major industry names like “Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, Dave Chappelle, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah, Dana Carvey, Adam Carolla, Chris D’Elia, Anjelah Johnson, Tim Hawkins, and Louie Anderson” and “his most recent tour – The Human Being Tour – was named in the Top 100 Tours globally based on attendance and gross sales, selling over 197,000 tickets. He held the designation for four consecutive weeks, charting as high as No. 28.”

Crist’s debut Netflix special, “I Ain’t Prayin’ for That,” was set to premiere on Thanksgiving, but the streaming service has since put it on hold. WaterBrook, a Christian imprint of Penguin Random House, has also postponed the release of his first book, “Untag Me: The Subtle Art of Appearing Better Than You Really Are.”