Linus Sebastian’s Linus Media Group YouTube empire is currently in crisis, with accusations of theft, lapses in ethics, and most recently, allegations of sexual harassment. The company has currently paused all production to improve its review processes, and CEO Terren Tong tells The Verge an outside investigator will be hired to examine the harassment allegations.
In a video posted this morning titled “What do we do now?” Linus Media Group CFO Yvonne Ho announced the entire channel was pausing production for the next week to address the issues raised by the YouTube channel Gamers Nexus about errors in videos and concerning ethical practices. “I agree with the community,” Ho said in the video, “so I’m putting my foot down. Effective immediately all YouTube video production is on pause.”
The controversy started earlier this week, when Gamers Nexus posted a video outlining a number of factual errors and ethics concerns in recent Linus Tech Tips videos. “We’ve been seeing an alarming amount of conflicts from Linus Tech Tips as it relates to their corporate connections, their flow of money, and the potential bias as a result of those things,” said Gamers Nexus host Steve Burke.
Burke’s biggest concern was around a GPU cooling block made by Billet Labs. According to Gamers Nexus, Linus Tech Tips reviewed a copper cooling block from Billet Labs on the wrong GPU, then auctioned it off at a recent fan event without the company’s permission.
The afternoon after Gamers Nexus posted its video, Sebastian began responding to concerned fans in the Linus Tech Tips forums. “We are using this, like everything else, to continue to drive ourselves to do better,” he said in one post. He also said that the auctioning of the cooling block was an accident due to miscommunication and that the company was working with Billet Labs to resolve the issue.
The situation escalated on August 14th, when Gamers Nexus posted the video in response to Sebastian’s comments on the forum, with a segment titled “Linus Tech Tips response is disappointing nonsense.” Meanwhile, fans expressed frustration and outrage on the Linus Tech Tips forums and subreddit, with some fans demanding a public apology to Billet.
That led to Linus Tech Tips posting that video this morning that features Sebastian and other Linus Media Group employees outlining their plans to address the concerns raised by Gamers Nexus — including halting production for one week to focus on improving documentation and processes around testing. “I was the one at the head of the company for each and every mistake that our community has rightly brought to our attention,” Sebastian said in the video.
Linus Tech Tips posted its latest video at approximately 7AM ET. However, last night, at approximately 2AM ET, a former employee, Madison Reeve, posted a thread on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, accusing Linus Media Group of cultivating a toxic work environment and encouraging a work culture that was detrimental to her health as well as sexual harassment directed at her by Linus Media Group employees.
“I chose to quit my role at LTT because it, and the working environment I was facing, were ruining my mental health,” her statement begins. “My work was called ‘dogshit’ I was called ‘incompetent’. When I would reach out to managers and try to get help with these situations, I would be told to ‘put on my big girl pants’ and be ‘more assertive’.”
Reeve went on to accuse the company of barring her from videos after she reported being “grabbed multiple times in the office” and being told to “calm my tits” and “stop being such a bitch.”
“It felt like a horrible teenage drama movie,” she said.
We reached out to Sebastian about these latest accusations, and he responded via email, saying:
I was in a state of shock reading through these allegations, plain and simple. They aren’t consistent with my recollections. They aren’t consistent with our internal processes. They aren’t consistent with our company values.
We pride ourselves on maintaining a safe and inclusive environment. In addition to our existing report systems (both anonymous and otherwise) we’ve proactively reached out internally today to encourage members of our team to report any workplace bullying or harassment they might be experiencing so we can take quick and decisive action.
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. For now I would ask that we allow our team the time they need be as thorough as possible.
Linus Media Group CEO Terren Tong also responded via email, saying he was “shocked at the allegations and the company described” in Reeve’s posts. He went on to note that “as part of this process, beyond an internal review we will also be hiring an outside investigator to look into the allegations and will commit to publish the findings and implementing any corrective actions that may arise because of this.”