After allegations, Bryan Callen asks fans to pay for new podcast on Patreon
After recently announcing that he would take a leave of absence from his podcast, Bryan Callen is getting back behind a microphone.
On Wednesday, Callen said he would turn to Patreon — the crowd-funded membership platform — so he could continue podcasting. The comedian made the announcement in a since-deleted video posted on the Twitter account for “The Fighter & the Kid,” the podcast he cohosted with former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub until weeks ago.
On July 31, The Times published the accounts of four women who alleged that “The Goldbergs” actor had been sexually inappropriate with them. Callen categorically denied all the accusations — which included rape, assault and disturbing comments — but said days later that he would “obviously” temporarily distance himself from “The Fighter & the Kid.”
Four women say they were mistreated by comedian Bryan Callen, describing troubling sexual incidents ranging from assault to misconduct to disturbing comments.
Despite that proclamation, Callen vowed not to stay out of the public eye amid the allegations.
“You know, when you’re in a situation like I am, you get a lot of advice from a lot of people, and it usually falls into two different categories,” the 53-year-old said in an Aug. 2 Instagram video. “Either they tell you to post a statement, disappear, or they say lay low and let the news cycle pass you by. Well, for better or for worse, I’m not doing any of that.”
“The Fighter & the Kid” has continued to release new episodes with Schaub hosting the podcast alongside guest hosts. Schaub, who began working in comedy following his UFC career, told listeners that he would “stick by” his longtime friend — even though Callen had requested he “not go hard in the paint for him.”
“Apparently, if I say what I want to say, it’s going to get Callen in more trouble and bring more attention to Callen, so my hands are a little tied,” said Schaub. “Which is very tough for me. Very, very tough for me. Because I think you guys know how much I love Bryan, and obviously, I stick by Bryan Callen.”
Kast Media, which does not produce “The Fighter & the Kid” but represents it as a partner show, had a different stance.
“Kast takes any allegations against hosts very seriously,” the company’s chief executive, Colin Thomson, said in an email. “Bryan Callen is no longer associated with Kast’s representation of Fighter and the Kid.”
Further, Thomson said, Kast has “no association with Bryan Callen’s activity on Patreon or elsewhere,” and is “not aware” of any plans for Callen to ever return to “The Fighter & the Kid.” (Schaub will continue to host the show without Callen.)
Callen and Schaub’s new show, the first episode of which will drop Friday, will be called “The Fighter and the Wrinks.” (Callen, who recently got eyelid lift surgery, is jokingly known to his fans as “Wrinks” because of his age.) In a teaser for the podcast, the show already had its own theme song, including the lyrics: “ The Fighter and the Wrinks / Back up in the ring / Eyelids so heavy one can barely blink.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the new project — which costs $5 a month on Patreon — had 846 patrons.
Callen is not the first disgraced comedian to ask his fans to pay for his content in wake of a scandal. In April, nearly two years after confessing to sexual misconduct, Louis C.K. released a comedy special on his website that cost $7.99. He also continued to tour before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Callen, who contracted COVID-19 after performing in San Antonio last month, still has three tour dates slated for October listed on his website.
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