Andrew Callaghan has been riding high. The gonzo-style journalist recently released a documentary, This Place Rules, about the events leading up to the Capitol riot on HBO Max. He and his work, which also includes the online series Quarter Confessions and All Gas No Brakes, have been featured favorably in a variety of top-tier publications and influencers.
Now the 25-year-old’s career may be crashing down around him. At least two women have come forward in recent days to accuse Callaghan of sexual impropriety. Some accusations have bounced around the web for years, but the release of This Place Rules appears to have thrust them out into the open.
Callaghan, who has over 2 million subscribers on YouTube, Channel 5 with Andrew Callaghan, is being castigated online.
Neither Callaghan nor HBO Max responded to emails seeking comment on Tuesday.
The Daily Dot isn’t naming Callaghan’s accusers because they are alleged sexual assault survivors and did not respond to requests for comment to consent to having their names published. After publishing an account, one TikToker went private.
Last week, a TikToker described an alleged encounter in St. Pete, Florida in which Callahan coerced her into sex acts after she repeatedly refused his advances. Her account appears to have inspired at least one other to come forward with their own stories about him.
She said that Callaghan asked to stay with her because he’d had a disagreement with a member of his crew. Per her account, she agreed to let him stay, but told him that they were not going to hook up. They went to a dive bar, she said, where he bought them tequila until she was extremely intoxicated, then they went back to her place.
The woman said that Callaghan climbed into bed with her and wouldn’t leave her alone.
“He gets in my bed and wore me down until I eventually do agree to do things that I wasn’t proud of,” she said.
“I told him no so many times prior to this. I said I’m tired, I’m not really feeling it. I came up with any excuse that I could to just get him off of me,” she said. “And he still found a way to coerce me into things I didn’t want to do.”
She said that she initially blamed herself, but later began to see that night in a different light. “It wasn’t my fault what happened to me just because I eventually caved,” she said.
At some point, she said she confronted Callaghan in an effort to get him to acknowledge what he’d done but says his version of events is “so skewed.”
She said she confided to a few friends but wasn’t compelled to speak publicly about it until Callaghan and This Place Rules started popping up on her news feed.
“I don’t like to see abusers get platforms,” she said, adding, “You should stop supporting Andrew Callaghan. Take away his platform. He doesn’t deserve it.”
She also published a photo of herself with Callaghan and messages they purportedly exchanged in 2021.
Another woman who saw her TikTok then made a series of videos accusing Callaghan of assaulting her.
The woman said that she first had consensual sex with Callaghan that left her feeling “creeped out” and “weird.”
“[He] was mean, demanding,” she said.
She said that Callaghan subsequently contacted her to hook up again and she refused. She said she told him that she didn’t “ever want to sleep with” him again.
When she told him why, she said he asked her to dinner so he could apologize.
At the “shitty diner” he invited her to, she says Callaghan almost immediately started asking her to have sex in her car. She said she refused and asked if he had anything he wanted to say.
“Oh yeah, sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable,” he purportedly said. She said he continued pestering her to have sex with him in her car throughout the meal. “He asked that like five more times.” Each time, she says she refused.
After they ate, she agreed to give him a ride home. She claims he tried to force himself on her as she drove.
She described Callaghan touching her thigh, holding her extremely tightly, and kissing her neck. She said he also put his hand down her pants and that she told him no. After she turned down his advances, she claims he said, “You could at least suck my dick.”
He was outraged when she refused, she said. “He was mad that I would even say that. At the same time he was laughing at me and continued to try to kiss me.”
Realizing she couldn’t physically force him out of her car, she said she started driving erratically, then pulled onto a busy street and stopped abruptly in the hopes that a passerby would notice that something was wrong. No one came to her aid she said, but says Callaghan finally got out after asking her for a goodbye kiss, which she said she also declined.
“I never spoke to him or saw him again,” she said.
In subsequent TikTok, she shared screenshots of them communicating over Instagram direct message in January 2019. At the time, he was working on the series Quarter Confessions in New Orleans.
The allegations have Callaghan’s fans in turmoil. Even as some defend him and attack his accusers, others are demanding that he apologize or at least address the matter.
His Instagram, YouTube, Patreon, and other online spaces where his fandoms congregate are filled with outrage, dismay, and disappointment. Many feel particularly betrayed because he holds himself out to be a leftist and is generally considered a supporter of women’s rights.
“How long are you going to ignore the multiple […] women who have come out with evidence against you,” one wrote on his Instagram.
Members of a private Discord server for his Patreons have talked of little else in the last two days. One of the moderators, after acknowledging they hadn’t closely followed the situation, attempted to downplay it.
“There’s only been 2 first-hand reports or accounts,” they wrote on Tuesday. “One of which flat out said everything they did was consensual AND that they didn’t even have sex. The rest of everything I’ve seen were hearsay, as in literal ‘I heard from someone else that…’ type stories.”
Others have pushed back and criticized Callaghan.
“Depressing AF to see these very legit and consistent allegations,” a subscriber wrote Tuesday.
Prominent streamer Hasan Piker, aka HasanAbi, addressed the matter on his show yesterday. Piker doing so is arguably particularly significant because he had Callaghan on the show to promote This Place Rules on Jan. 2.
He described the TikToker who says Callaghan tried to force himself on her while she drove as potentially “assault” and “at the very least harassment.”
“The biggest bummer here is not that I’m friends with Andrew or I know Andrew, and that someone you like has done things. No, the biggest bummer is that these people have been traumatized by these actions,” Piker said.
“A lot of people like this usually speak up because they fear that when someone comes out, they usually fear that this is repeat behavior. And that’s the reason why they come out and speak out on things like this,” he added.
Update 8:07am CT, Jan. 17: Callaghan subsequently addressed the accusations personally and through his counsel. His legal representative told Variety that he is “devastated” and plans to have “conversations about pressure and consent … so he can continue to learn and grow.”
The statement added, “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.”
On Sunday, Callaghan posted a YouTube video about the matter.
“Up until this point, I didn’t even realize I had this type of pattern that affected multiple people,” he said. “I just want to express my complete sympathy, respect, and support for anyone I’ve done wrong.”
Callaghan denied violating consent, however, insisting that he’s “always taken ‘no’ for an answer, and as far as consent, I’ve never overstepped that line.”
“I was behaving in a way I thought was normal,” he added. “I thought that persistence was a form of flattery. I thought if at first somebody was reluctant, they’re just playing hard to get.”
Callaghan also said that some claims circulating online about him “are not true. A lot of things are missing really important contextual information that would change people’s interpretations of a lot of these situations. But I’m not here to invalidate anyone’s lived experience.”
He said he plans to take a step back from public life, begin therapy, and possibly treatment for alcohol abuse, which he described as a “contributing factor to my poor decision-making.”
“I really think that I need to do some serious work on myself and figure some stuff out.”