NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 15: John Crist attends the 50th Annual GMA Dove Awards at Lipscomb University on October 15, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Christian comedian, a Gwinnett native, facing sexual misconduct claims

Popular Christian comedian John Crist — a Gwinnett County native — has canceled his tour amid sexual misconduct allegations. 

Crist’s upcoming Netflix special is also on hold, the streaming service told The Associated Press

The allegations against Crist were first reported this week by the Christian magazine Charisma News. The publication’s story includes details from five anonymous women who said Crist tried to solicit sexual favors from them or sent explicit messages via text and Snapchat. 

In a lengthy statement released to Charisma, Crist said he was “not guilty of everything” he was accused of but said he was seeking treatment for his “sexual sin and addiction struggles.”

“I am sorry for the hurt and pain I have caused these women and will continue to seek their forgiveness,” Crist wrote. “I have also hurt the name of Jesus and have sought His forgiveness.”

Crist was raised in Lilburn, the third of eight children homeschooled in a large antebellum house around the corner from City Hall. His father, Johnny Crist, is a pastor and was re-elected this week to serve a third term as Lilburn’s mayor.

The younger Crist rose to viral stardom three years ago with a series of videos satirizing Christian life. He has millions of online followers and has performed to sold-out audiences across the country, including at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre earlier this year. 

He had 10 tour dates left this month.

Crist’s hour-long Netflix special was scheduled to be released on Thanksgiving Day.  He also has a book due for release in March, the status of which was not immediately clear Friday.

CRIST’S FULL STATEMENT TO CHARISMA NEWS

"Over the past number of years, various women have accused me of behavior that has been hurtful to them. 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. My behavior has been destructive and sinful. I've sinned against God, against women and the people who I love the most. I have violated my own Christian beliefs, convictions and values, and have hurt many people in the process. I am sorry for the hurt and pain I have caused these women and will continue to seek their forgiveness. I have also hurt the name of Jesus and have sought His forgiveness.

Over several recent years, I have privately sought and received regular professional treatment for my sexual sin and addiction struggles. I'm committed to getting healing and freedom from my sin and have decided to cancel my remaining tour dates this year and to postpone all future commitments in order to devote all my time and energy on getting healthy spiritually, mentally and physically.

Those closest to me—my family, team and close friends—have known about this battle for some time, and now you do too. I'm ashamed of my behavior and I'm so sorry for hurting so many people. I don't blame anyone but myself. I'm responsible for my actions and I've repented and am taking full ownership. I realize it will be difficult for some people to ever forgive me, and I accept that as a result of my bad decisions and actions.

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."

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