Christian comedian John Crist canceled his tour and a planned Netflix special is on hold after allegations of sexual harassment and pressuring women into sexual relationships were published Wednesday in a popular magazine for charismatic Christians.
Five women shared their stories of mistreatment with Charisma magazine. The allegations from the past seven years include that Crist offered show tickets in exchange for sexual favors and would repeatedly call women while drunk. Crist apologized in a statement to the magazine, acknowledging he had sometimes crossed the line.
"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," he wrote in a statement to Charisma, which was confirmed by People magazine. He said he has received regular professional treatment for "sexual sin and addiction struggles."
Crist did not respond to a request for comment.
The comedian had been scheduled to have a Netflix special called "I Ain't Prayin' for That" debut on Thanksgiving. His father, Johnny Crist, was the pastor of a charismatic church and is now the mayor of a small town in Georgia. The younger Crist is one of eight children.
Crist is known for comedic takes on white evangelical subculture, and his videos have millions of views across platforms including YouTube and Facebook. He has gone on several tours and created several popular sketch comedies for BuzzFeed. He has shared the comedy stage with Dave Chappelle, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah and other comedians.
Building his own platform by focusing mostly on what people saw as wholesome fun, he subtly critiqued aspects of church culture, millennial culture, parenting and other topics. WaterBrook, an imprint of publisher Penguin Random House, is scheduled to release a book by Crist next year.
Crist dated country music star and "American Idol" contestant Lauren Alaina this year, but Alaina said in September that they are no longer together.
Last week, Crist performed at Liberty University, one of the largest stages in the country where evangelical youths gather for convocation. Crist graduated from Samford University, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. On "Fox & Friends," he said he was fired from his first job at Chick-fil-A after stirring lemonade with his hand.
"I grew up in the Deep South, my dad is a pastor, and I was the third of eight home-schooled children. My first job was at Chick-fil-A. Coming from a background like that, how do you NOT write jokes?!" he says on his website.
Few comedians on the national stage have come from the evangelical world. Many evangelicals look instead to Catholic comedians like Jim Gaffigan and Stephen Colbert to see a display of faith and values on a high-profile platform.
Crist has used social media to reach a subculture of evangelicals by poking fun at topics like Christian dating and hunting for the right church. He has published sketches with titles such as "If Bible Characters Had iPhones," "Church Parking Lot Road Rage" and "The Millennial Missionaries."