In context: Massively popular YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips released its first video in ten days over the weekend following allegations of unethical behavior, inaccuracies, and sexual harassment. Founder Linus Sebastian laid out the steps that are being taken to address the raised issues, including slowing down the number of videos that the Linus Media Group (LMG) uploads every day. He also slammed those who have threatened, harassed, and bullied LMG employees since the furor began.
You can read this detailed walkthrough of how LMG ended up pausing production after being called out by rival YouTube channel Gamers Nexus. GN's Steve Burke highlighted problems with LMG focusing on quantity over quality and rushing out videos, hardware review errors, asterisked errors, and ethical concerns such as Sebastian's investment in laptop company Framework. But the biggest criticism was reserved for a review of a prototype watercooling block called the Monoblock from Billet Labs, which was sold by LMG in a charity auction without the manufacturer's permission.
Separately, former employee Madison Reeve made several allegations against LMG, including fostering a toxic work environment, sexual harassment from employees, and ruining her mental health. Reeve also said the company barred her from videos after she reported being grabbed multiple times in the office.
Sebastian and the top LMG team members responded to the accusations in a video (above). It was confirmed that a week-long break was required to address the issues; there was also some criticism over the video initially being monetized and containing a plug for Lttstore.com.
The seven-day break ended up being ten days, with Sebastian finally returning on Saturday. He talked about identifying challenges within the company and slowing down video output to verify content and accuracy.
Sebastian also revealed an extensive new Video Error Handling Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
The actions taken against errors range from pinned comments for low-severity mistakes to entire videos being remade or removed if a statement is very incorrect. In addition to a dedicated Labs team checking benchmarks, there will be an error-checking community group, which currently consists of "fewer than 10 extremely knowledgeable" Linus Tech Tips community members to verify the accuracy of the company's videos.
Sebastian wants to move LMG beyond being "just entertainment," a complaint many have leveled at the company over the last few years, to become an authoritative voice on tech.
Other promises made in the video include extra benefits for LMG employees, improving business transparency and item tracking, and doubling mental health counseling for workers in response to the recent harassment that many have experienced. "In recent weeks, a shocking number of our team members have been harassed, bullied, and even threatened on social media," Linus said. "You know who you are, and shame on you".
As for the Reeve allegations, Sebastian said, "Our HR team will be conducting a more thorough assessment of the allegations, and when we are ready, we will release a more complete statement." An internal communications letter from CEO Terren Tong that appears in the video references the allegations: "Starting with the process with the external investigator, we have found a firm now and are working on next steps," it reads.
According to Social Blade, Linus Tech Tips has lost 200,000 subscribers since the incident began, though the channel still has 15.4 million subs. Associated channel TechQuickie is down 30,000 while ShortCircuit fell by 40,000. Floatplane, LMG's streaming service that offers extra content, is estimated to have lost over 5,000 subs who pay either $5 or $10 per month.