In a statement, John Crist said he has sought "professional treatment for my sexual sin and addiction struggles"

By Natalie Stone
November 07, 2019 05:53 PM
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Christian comedian and YouTuber John Crist is focused on getting “healthy spiritually, mentally and physically” in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations brought against him.

On Wednesday, Charisma News published a report in which five women, whose names were intentionally replaced with pseudonyms by the outlet, came forward with accusations about Crist. “The allegations include, but are not limited to, individually sexting multiple women during the same time period, initiating sexual relationships with married women and women in committed relationships, offering show tickets in exchange for sexual favors and repeatedly calling these women late at night while drunk,” Charisma News reported.

The outlet said the sexual misconduct spanned “over the last seven years.”

In a lengthy statement issued to Charisma News, Crist, 35, apologized “for the hurt and pain” that he has caused various women, admitting that he has “treated relationships with women far too casually, in some cases even recklessly.” (PEOPLE confirmed Crist’s statement via his rep.)

Crist further revealed in his statement that he has sought professional treatment: “Over several recent years, I have privately sought and received regular professional treatment for my sexual sin and addiction struggles,” he wrote.

Later in the statement, Crist said that he is continuing to seek “healing and freedom” and announced that his remaining 2019 tour dates have been canceled.

“I’m committed to getting healing and freedom from my sin and have decided to cancel my remaining tour dates this year and to postpone all future commitments in order to devote all my time and energy on getting healthy spiritually, mentally and physically,” said Crist, who made Pollstar’s Top 100 Tours Globally list in 2019, “with over 197,000 tickets sold for his ‘Human Being Tour,’” according to his biography.

While Crist has widely become recognized among many millennial Christians on social media — he has over 1 billion views online, 526K subscribers on YouTube and 1.2 million followers on Instagram — throughout the past three years, he’s still largely unknown in the secular comic world.

So who is Crist?

He’s the son of a pastor.

“I grew up in the deep south, my dad is a pastor, and I was the third of eight homeschooled children. My first job was at Chick-fil-A. Coming from a background like that, how do you NOT write jokes?!” Crist said on his website about where he finds inspiration to write jokes.

“My mom one time washed my mouth out with soap when I said like a cuss word,” he told Fox & Friends in May. “That was just like the house that I grew up in. So I was just never used to, especially performing in front of other people, swearing.”

He’s shared the stage with Jeff Foxworthy.

Crist has “opened shows for comedians such as Tim Hawkins and Jeff Foxworthy,” according to Stubhub. And earlier this year (Feb. 8), Foxworthy and Crist were together live on stage at United Wireless Arena in Kansas.

In addition to Foxworthy and Hawkins, Crist has “performed comedy alongside many comedy legends including Dave Chappelle, Seth Meyers, Anjelah Johnson,” according to Stubhub.

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

He pokes fun at Christianity.

Crist, who was raised attending church in Atlanta, Georgia, often makes lighthearted jokes about the Christian faith in his viral videos.

“Whether it’s ‘Church Hunters,’ ‘Celebrity Pastor Fantasy Draft,’ or ‘Virtual Reality Church,’ Crist’s humor sometimes focuses on the nuances of the local church,” according to his biography.

“Of the church, Crist says, ‘Man, I love the local church. Growing up serving at my dad’s church, I know the effect that a healthy, vibrant church can have on the community. If I ever come across as critical, it’s because I love the church and I wish for so much more from it. I think the local church is our only hope for change in America, that said … we do some weird stuff,’ ” his bio states.

In his interview with Fox & Friends earlier this year, Crist said, “I talk a lot about millennials.”

He’s known for his “check your heart” catchphrase.

“Me and my buddy Caleb used to say this to each other all the time. It’s like the Christian way of telling somebody that you’re judging them, but like inside, you’re not just going to say it out loud. It’s like a — have you ever seen somebody making a questionable decision? You’re just like, ‘Hmm. Check your heart,’ ” Crist said in a selfie video, filmed about a year ago. “Very applicable in all types of situations. ‘Oh you’re going to get an extra value meal and an apple pie, but you’re still not going to donate a dollar to charity? Hmm, okay, check your heart.’ ”

While sporting a “Check Your Heart” T-shirt, which he sold to fans, Crist later quipped, “Y’all been to Chipotle. ‘Let me just get a water. No, I’m fine, let me just get a water.’ Sneak that thing, fill it up with Sprite. Yeah, check your heart.”

He dated country star Lauren Alaina.

In May, Alaina revealed on The Bobby Bones Show that she had been quietly dating Crist for a few months after connecting on Instagram.

Danny Matson/Getty Images; Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Just hours before the Dancing with the Stars premiere in September, Alaina shared that she and Crist had split.

A rep for Alaina did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment about the sexual misconduct allegations brought against Crist.

He has an upcoming Netflix special.

Crist’s Netflix special John Crist: I Ain’t Prayin for That was supposed to hit the streaming service on Thanksgiving (Nov. 28).

After news of the allegations broke on Wednesday, a Netflix spokesperson confirmed to PEOPLE that the launch of Crist’s special is on hold.