After two years of silence due to ongoing litigation, Andy Signore has spoken out and provided evidence in what he calls a #MeToo Misfire. After saying the experience has significantly changed him Signore asserts “but to be honest, I’m still angry.”
The video, uploaded to YouTube on July 22, 2019 addresses a series of allegations which resulted in Signore being publicly shamed and eventually ousted from his position at Defy Media. Best known as the creator of the popular online series Screen Junkies and Honest Trailers, Signore recently settled a lawsuit against the now defunct company and said he was finally free to provide evidence that the most serious accusations against him were false.
While Signore begins the video by admitting to poor behaviour, inappropriate flirting with fans and what he calls “inexcusable infidelity” in his marriage, he focuses on debunking the accusations of sexual assault and proving that the relationship had been consensual. Titled “#MeToo Misfire—An Honest Defense of Andy Signore” the over 17 minute video reviews every element from his two main accusers, April O’ Donnell and Emma Bowers. Both women had spoken out using their real names.
O’Donnell’s original accusation stated that Signore had tricked her into hotel encounters, forced sexual acts on her, promised career advancement in exchange for sexual favours and threatened to fire her boyfriend if O’Donnell told anyone about what he had done to her.
Signore points out that when Defy Media had investigated, his lawyer demanded they provide evidence of any part of the accusations and O’Donnell couldn’t even provide a single threatening message let alone any evidence supporting the sexual allegations.
For his part, Signore produced graphic chat logs that show how each of their three encounters were consensually negotiated. The messages paint a completely opposite picture than what O’Donnell had portrayed. The strangest part of Signore’s evidence was a sequence of emails in which she informs him that she had entered into another relationship, Signore instantly wishes her well, and they casually tweet at each other over the next two months. After about a month of silence between them Signore suddenly received a shocking and confusing email.
On January 20, 2016 O’Donnell wrote that she was concerned for her “safety” after Signore had been “FORCING [him]self on [her]” at a hotel in Hollywood. She said he made her “sick” and she wanted him to stop barraging her with emails, texts and gifts now that she had a new boyfriend. The email finishes with the ominous line “If you try and contact me again I’ll take actions further.”
Realizing in hindsight that he should have taken this message more seriously, Andy Signore provides the email response he gave at the time: “Um… huh??? I have no idea what you are talking about?” He says there must be some sort of miscommunication, reminding her that they haven’t spoken in “ages,” and assuring her he only replied as he thought best to assure her he was happy to not speak again as she requested.
Unlike the onset of the #MeToo movement there didn’t seem to be any triggering event for what Signore calls “flabbergasting” accusations seemingly made up out of thin air.
While it is difficult to know if screenshots are taken out of context or inconvenient elements are cut out, Signore offers thorough chat logs that document and debunk every element of the accusations, highlighting O’ Donnell’s allegations first then displaying the evidence which completely contradicts each aspect of her story.
While many may have deleted and blocked the person after such a shocking exchange, Signore was lucky he’d retained all the messages.
Signore’s nightmare began on October 6, 2017 when, as he states, “without any factual evidence or efforts to seek the truth, headlines were written and stories were inflated or fabricated.” Signore has expressed disappointment that none of the mass media outlets who rushed to spread the salacious accusations have shown a similar interest in sharing his side of the story now that he’s able to speak.
Of the specifically named sites, TubeFilter has since published an article about Signore’s rebuttal video but Signore seems to expect a lot more. He wants something that doesn’t seem possible: to erase history.
Like many people who have been falsely accused, he’d like to completely eliminate the old headlines from internet searches, and updating the massive number of articles which outlined the accusations is extremely impractical.
At the time of publication, the news of the allegations was accurate. He was, in fact, accused of terrible sexual misconduct. His long-awaited rebuttal requires more than a short editorial note. In addition, multiple other women had come forward with unwanted flirtatious messages that looked much worse in light of the rape allegation but remained what they were: inappropriate communications.
But it does seem reasonable to expect the same media who pilloried him to take an interest now that he has evidence to provide in his defence. Instead, the opposite happened. Within 24 hours of uploading his video, Signore announced that his response to the allegations had been taken down from Facebook and Reddit without any notice.
For Andy Signore, the only closure he’s likely to get, no matter how much evidence he provides, is the freedom to create his own shows again. The Patreon page where Signore is crowdfunding his new channel, Popcorned Planet, describes his new mission as the following:
“This time around I intend for us to do it even better, on our own terms, without any studio politics stopping us from saying what we truly want to say. No forced smiles or fake friendships.”
Along with a return to pop culture content, Signore has a more serious goal as well. He says he’s going to tackle the problem of social media mobbings and try to restore due process in the court of public opinion. Instead of Honest Trailers he suggest a program called Honest Failures in which people under attack can own up to their true mistakes without having to admit to things they didn’t do.
It’s a noble goal, but not a tactic that seems to have worked well for anyone in the past.
April O’Donnell’s only response to Signore’s video was a statement on Twitter, asserting what she calls “my truth,” characterizing herself as a “teenager” at the time, and saying she’s not interested in discussing the accusations any further.
Signore didn’t have the immediate chance to defend himself, but now that he has, it’s clear that O’Donnell’s own personal truth was far from the whole story.