Home Christian News John Crist’s Career Is Doing Well. Here’s Why Some People Are Worried...

John Crist’s Career Is Doing Well. Here’s Why Some People Are Worried About That

john crist
Comedian John Crist performing at Bethany Lutheran Church in Elkhorn, Neb. in 2017. Matt Johnson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As Christian comedian John Crist’s career is taking off again, some are saying he has not truly been called to account for abusive behavior toward women—and is even making money off it.

“When I went on twitter today and saw people talking about John Crist updating his profile picture, my stomach dropped,” said a Twitter user identified as Hannah Stone in July 2020 as Crist was starting to resurface on social media. Calling herself someone Crist “manipulated” and “used,” Stone said, “I can’t explain the level of hurt I feel when I see other Christians praising his potential return. They claim that they’re embracing forgiveness and grace, but it feels like [they] prefer a few laughs and entertainment over real repentance and restoration.”

John Crist’s Comeback

John Crist is a popular comedian known for poking fun at Christian culture. He was set to release his first comedy special on Netflix when in November 2019, allegations surfacted that Crist had sexually harassed and manipulated five women. Charisma News broke the story.

Author Taylor Berglund says, “Many of the stories relayed to Charisma follow a similar pattern of behavior: Crist would initiate contact through social media, cultivate a flirty relationship and then initiate (or attempt to initiate) sexting and other sexual activities in addition to emotional manipulation.” Christian Post writer Randal Rauser observed that the details of a woman Charisma identified as “Kate,” who says she repeatedly “struggled to push [Crist] off” when he wanted to have sex with her, might qualify as sexual assault.

In a statement to Charisma at the time, Crist acknowledged “destructive and sinful” behavior and that he struggled with “sexual sin and addiction.” The comedian said in part:

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.

Several of the women who spoke to Charisma said that Crist had been getting help for his struggles since at least 2014, yet his “destructive” behavior had continued. Berglund also states, “Some evidence suggests certain Christian leaders have been aware of Crist’s behavior and—through inaction—let it continue unchecked.”

After these revelations, Netflix pulled Crist’s special. Crist canceled his upcoming tour and went quiet on social media. In a video posted approximately eight months later, Crist said he had been in a treatment facility for four months. The comedian expressed his willingness to make his wrongs right, work on his own brokenness, and stop rationalizing his behavior.

In a July 2021 interview, Crist said he was happy that the Charisma article had been written and he is glad he doesn’t have to hide from people any longer. After the article was published, said the comedian, he felt so much shame that he became suicidal, but has been moved by the grace and support people have shown him and sustained by their prayers. 

In a February 2022 video of his standup, titled “John Crist on Rehab and Getting Cancelled,” Crist spoke openly about the controversy and his time in rehab, saying, “Those choices were on me…I point the fingers at no one else but myself.” Crist even joked about his past sins. When someone in the audience called out, “We love you, John!” he responded, “Love you, girl!” then said, “That’s how I got in trouble last time,” as the audience laughed.