12:35pm PT by Aaron Couch, Ryan Parker
'Honest Trailers' Creator Andy Signore Accused of Sexual Abuse
Andy Signore, the creator of popular YouTube series Honest Trailers, is being accused of sexual abuse.
Two accusers, one who says she was a former intern for Signore, posted publicly on social media Friday that Signore used his position to prey on women.
Emma Bowers wrote in a Twitter post that she chose to speak up now, in the wake of an investigation from The New York Times accusing producer and studio executive Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse with actresses and employees. Weinstein issued an apology after the story broke and said he was taking a leave of absence.
Bowers said when she worked as an intern for Signore, he made inappropriate comments about masturbating to photos of her, and then asked her to come over so he could do that in person. She said he tried to play it off as a joke.
Another woman, April Dawn, was a fan of the Screen Junkies show who met Signore at Chicago Comic Con in 2015. Screen Junkies flew her out to Los Angeles to appear on its Movie Fights YouTube series a few months later.
Dawn wrote that Signore tried to sexually assault her on multiple occasions. She claimed that she and two other women went to the company's HR department, but her complaints of alleged attempted sexual assault were not taken seriously. The Hollywood Reporter spoke to a friend of Dawn's, who was aware of the HR meeting at the time and details of her accusations.
Defy Media, which owns the Screen Junkies channel Signore works for, issued a statement saying it has been investigating the accusations. Signore did not respond for comment to a direct message.
"We at Defy Media have no tolerance for harassment or retaliation of any kind," the company said in a statement. "We have been conducting a thorough investigation into allegations made against Andy Signore and are preparing to respond to those allegations and take appropriate action."
Defy's statement added: "Given the additional statements that were made today, we feel it is necessary to suspend Andy’s employment while we continue our investigation. We will take all necessary action once the investigation is fully complete."
In Dawn's Twitter statement, she said Signore threatened that if she spoke out about what had happened he would fire Dawn's boyfriend, Josh Tapia, a Screen Junkies engineer who goes by the name JTE and has appeared in Screen Junkies videos.
Signore first gained prominence online as the creator of Honest Trailers, a series that skewers films ranging from Ghostbusters to Blade Runner.
Since launching in 2012, Honest Trailers has amassed more than 1 billion views and has enlisted stars such as Ryan Reynolds and Michael Bolton to participate, becoming so influential that Captain America: Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo said they imagined what the Honest Trailer of their movie would say as they were working on it. In 2016 and 2017 the series was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Awards in the outstanding short-form variety series category.
Screen Junkies, the YouTube channel that hosts the series and of which Signore has become the public face, has also found success with star-studded stunts, such as Dwayne Johnson's officiating a surprise wedding for Nick Mundy, one of Screen Junkies' then contributors. The channel expanded in 2015 by launching a subscription service and a slew of new shows, including a scripted comedy series.
Some prominent associates of Signore's have begun speaking out. Roth Cornet, who appears onscreen with Signore as editor-in-chief of Screen Junkies News, wrote on Twitter: "I am truly, so profoundly heartbroken, shocked and sad today." Dan Murrell, a producer at Screen Junkies who also often appears on camera with Signore, wrote on Twitter, "I'm numb. I don't know what to do. Questioning everything I thought I knew. To those that came forward - I hear you and I believe you."
The accusations against Signore arrive as other stories of harassment have roiled the genre community. Ain't It Cool News founder Harry Knowles took a leave of absence last month after multiple women went public with stories of sexual assault, while Devin Faraci left Birth.Movies.Death as editor-in-chief last October after allegations of sexual assault. In Los Angeles, the independent film venue Cinefamily suspended its activities in August after executives resigned following sexual abuse allegations.