Christian Comedian Posts Video Addressing Abuse Allegations After 8 Month Silence
Last November, reports of sexual misconduct and emotional abuse surfaced against Christian comedian John Crist. In the wake of these allegations, Crist cancelled tour dates, the publication of his book was postponed and, after releasing a statement, he went entirely silent on all social media platforms for eight months. On Wednesday, he broke that silence, releasing a video on Instagram with a message for his fans.
In this video, Crist thanked fans for their support of him as a person and referred to himself as, “the biggest hypocrite of them all.” He discussed what he had been doing for the past eight months, including spending four months in a treatment facility without access to his phone, and regularly referenced that he had needed to get his mental health in order. Still, through the entirety of the video, Crist made no mention of the women he had mistreated, nor the pain he caused them.
As a Christian, a mental health advocate and an abuse survivor myself, I had a lot of complicated feelings as I watched Crist’s video. He referred to himself as a hypocrite and repeatedly referred to “his behavior” or “personal life,” but there still seems to be a lack of ownership in calling his behavior what it was: abuse.
In referring to his mental health repeatedly, while neglecting to acknowledge or take direct responsibility for the abuse he perpetrated or the harm he caused, Crist is perpetuating the stereotype that people who struggle with their mental health are inherently abusive or violent. In reality, those with mental illness are at an increased risk of victimization and the presence of mental illness does not accurately predict an individual’s potential to initiate violence. In fact, only one mental health diagnosis in the DSM-V is directly associated with a form of abuse — factitious disorder imposed on another and medical abuse — which is clearly not the case in Crist’s situation.
Additionally, Christian singer Cory Asbury commented on Crist’s video, saying, “I saw you peepin my IG stories the whole time tho… LOVE YOU, BRO. Glad you’re back.” While the two have a history of joking around, many replies to Asbury’s comment questioned how Crist could have watched Asbury’s Instagram stories if he was truly in treatment without his phone for four of the past eight months. This is an additional layer of concern for what seems to be Crist’s lack of sincere accountability for his actions and the harm he caused.
All of this to say, I am most certainly not asserting that Crist does not struggle with his mental health, but instead that mental illness is not a scapegoat for abuse. If Crist indeed has spent four months in treatment for a mental health concern, I am certainly grateful that he has taken the time to get the help and support he needed to heal, but that still does not excuse his actions.
If Crist truly intends to turn over a new leaf, it needs to begin with sincere personal ownership and accountability for what he did, not using mental health as an excuse for abusive behavior.
Image via John Crist Instagram