WASHINGTON (RNS)—John Crist’s upcoming Netflix holiday special and new book are on hold after allegations the popular comedian has used his celebrity status and Christian reputation to sexually harass women.
A Netflix spokesperson confirmed to Religion News Service on Nov. 7 that the status of Crist’s special, “I Ain’t Prayin’ for That,” is now up in the air. It was set to appear on the video streaming platform on Thanksgiving.
In addition to the special, Crist was scheduled to release a book in March titled Untag Me: The Subtle Art of Appearing Better Than You Really Are. Its publisher—WaterBrook, a Christian imprint of Penguin Random House—sent a statement saying it was postponing publication of the book.
“WaterBrook takes the troubling allegations of sexual misconduct against John Crist extremely seriously,” according to the statement.
Alleged sexual misconduct
Those decisions come amid backlash against the comedian following allegations of sexual misconduct that first were reported Nov. 6 by Charisma, a charismatic Christian magazine.
“The allegations include, but are not limited to, individually sexting multiple women during the same time period, initiating sexual relationships with married women and women in committed relationships, offering show tickets in exchange for sexual favors and repeatedly calling these women late at night while drunk,” Charisma reported.
In a statement provided to the magazine, Crist apologized for what he called “destructive and sinful” behavior.
“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,” Crist said in the statement published in full on Charisma’s website.
The comedian said that his actions violated his Christian beliefs and that he has sought “regular professional treatment for my sexual sin and addiction struggles.”
He also announced he was canceling the remainder of his shows this year on his Immature Thoughts tour as he focuses on overcoming those struggles.
“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,” he said.
Crist has grown popular for his videos satirizing white evangelical Christian culture, including a series spoofing the popular show “House Hunters” called “Church Hunters”; characters like “Bible Verse Lady,” who has a verse for every situation; and comedy sketches for Buzzfeed.
Last year, he became the first comedian to appear alongside popular Christian musicians on the Winter Jam tour. Several people told Charisma he reportedly would connect with women on social media before shows on the tour and offer them tickets, then pressure them to come to his hotel room.
Premier Productions—which produces live Christian events, including Crist’s Human Being and Immature Thoughts tours and Winter Jam—confirmed the comedian’s remaining tour dates were canceled but did not comment on the allegations against him.