All Gas No Brakes and Channel 5 YouTube Star Andrew Callaghan apologized and responded to the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him in a video posted to his Instagram on Sunday.
In the nearly five-minute video, Callaghan says he wants to express his "complete sympathy, respect, and support for anyone I've done wrong by," adding that he really wants to "do better and be fully accountable for everything that I've done."
"Up until this point, I didn't really realize that I had this pattern that had affected multiple people," he says. "I'd also like to apologize for my silence. When this stuff first came out, I was in a state of denial and shock. I was riding the high from my movie that just came out, and then within 48 hours, I was denounced by my closest collaborators, and my name was printed in 40 different news outlets next to the words 'sexual misconduct.' I just kind of spiraled into a mental health crisis. I'm OK now, but I don't really think this is about me. This is about the people I've affected."
Callaghan does not address the allegations specifically in his video but insists that he has "always taken 'no' for an answer" and has "never overstepped that line."
"But, you know, I think I want to have a more nuanced and important conversation about power dynamics, pressure, and coercion," Callaghan says. "For a long time, I was behaving in a way that I actually thought was normal. I thought that going home from the bar alone made you a loser. I thought that persistence was a form of flattery, and I thought that if, at first, somebody was reluctant, they were playing hard to get, just try harder. And if you think someone is feeling you, make a physical advance and see if they go with it."
Callaghan describes his past behavior as "sex pest behavior," which he says has become normalized.
"A lot of people think this stuff is normal when I don't think it is," he says. "I want to be fully responsible for not having a fluid understanding of consent and what enthusiastic two-way consent looks like."
According to Callaghan, a lot of the accusations that have been made online about him "are not true" and are "missing really important contextual information that I think would change people's interpretation of a lot of these situations."
"But I am not here to invalidate anybody's lived experience," he adds. "If you feel pressured, you know, that's just what it is."
The independent journalist says in the video that he hopes young people, especially young men, learn from his mistakes and "move through life with a better understanding of consent."
The 25-year-old filmmaker says that he would be taking some time away to do "some serious work" on himself and figure himself out.
"I'm going to start therapy sessions pretty much immediately," he says. "Also, not to blame alcohol, but I truly believe that alcohol was a contributing factor to my poor decision-making. And I think that alcohol, in general, has had a devastating impact on my life. So I think I'm going to make the decision to join the 12-step program for Alcoholics Anonymous, and during this journey into sobriety, I want to take a serious step back from public life."
At the end of the video, Callaghan says that he hopes this video reaches those who have felt affected by him and that he would love to reach out to them or have them reach out to him, as he would like to apologize to them.
Callaghan also apologized to his collaborators, friends, family members, and those who "will have to wear this stain on their career forever."
"You guys don't deserve this, and I love you guys," he adds. "If you never want to watch Channel 5 again, I understand. I hope you remember the missions of radical empathy and media literacy that we try to put in the world through our coverage."
Earlier this month, two women came forward on social media accusing Callaghan of sexual misconduct.
The allegations came just weeks after the indie filmmaker released his HBO documentary titled This Place Rules, which follows him as he traveled across the US in the months leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Caroline Elise, who goes by the TikTok handle @cornbreadasserole, was the first to post a video describing her alleged experience with Callaghan.
In the video, which was seen by BuzzFeed News before the account became private, Elise details her alleged experience with Callaghan, claiming that despite her telling him that she wouldn't sleep with him, Callaghan got into her bed and kept pushing her until she agreed "to do things [she] wasn't proud of."
Callaghan "eventually got [her] consent because he wore me down," she says in the video.
"Just because eventually I said, 'OK, whatever,' because I was trying to just get the whole night over with so that it could be morning so that he could leave, it doesn't discount the fact that I told him no so many times prior," Elise says. "I said, 'I'm tired, I'm not really feeling it,' I came up with any excuse that I possibly could to just get him off of me, and he still found a way to coerce me into things that I didn't want to do."
After Elise's allegations began circulating online, another TikTok user, who goes by the handle @moldyfreckle, posted a series of videos also accusing Callaghan of pressing her into a sexual encounter.
"I told him to stop, I told him to get off of me multiple times," she says in a video. "He tried to put my hand down his pants multiple times, and I was, you know, fighting against him during this."
In response to the allegations, Callaghan's legal representative sent BuzzFeed News a statement last week before the filmmaker released his apology video.
"Andrew is devastated that he is being accused of any type of physical or mental coercion against anyone," Callaghan's legal rep said in a statement. "Conversations about pressure and consent are extremely important and Andrew wants to have these conversations, so he can continue to learn and grow. While every dynamic is open to interpretation and proper communication is critical from all those involved, repeated requests for money should not be part of these conversations.
"Balanced communication is paramount to any relationship dynamic and Andrew vows to be better in this regard, while reminding his audience that while even one concerned partner is too many, there are always multiple sides to a story," the statement reads. "Andrew is fully committed to working with the appropriate professionals to better understand himself and ways he can grow and improve as a human being, especially with his growing platform and the vulnerabilities it brings."
Callaghan's legal representative also suggested that someone had potentially attempted to extort him. TMZ also reported that a "source with direct knowledge" had said that it was Elise who had asked for money from Callaghan.
Last week, Elise showed BuzzFeed News a text message that she said she sent to Callaghan on Dec. 30, 2022, in which she asked him if he'd be willing to contribute to the therapy bills that she said she has accrued due to the incident.
“I never threatened him with going public about this if he didn’t pay me," Elise told BuzzFeed News via text message, adding that it was "essentially a last ditch effort for some accountability on his end" and that she didn't actually expect him to actually send her money.
"When I made that TikTok, I wasn’t even thinking about this text. I was getting ready to lie down for a nap, and I was suddenly like, 'You know what, I’m tired of being quiet about this,'" Elise added. “It was deeply painful seeing him receive so much praise.
"Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting anyone to see my video, but I was at least hoping it would help one woman who has been in this situation," she said.
On Thursday, comedian Tim Heidecker, who produced Callaghan's recent HBO documentary This Place Rules, said on his podcast that he had "no plans going forward" to have any relationship with Callaghan.