'Catfish' 's Max Joseph Announces Departure from Show, Calls Co-Host Nev Schulman His 'Brother'

"Working on this show for the last seven years has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life," says Max Joseph

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Catfish just lost a co-host.

Max Joseph announced on Wednesday that this will be his last season on the MTV reality show, with his final episode airing on Aug. 22.

“Hey guys, the time has come, sadly, for me to move on from Catfish,” Joseph, 36, in a statement. “Working on this show for the last seven years has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my country and human nature in general. Nev [Schulman] and I have become brothers and our bromance has blossomed before your eyes.”

“For a while now I have been straddling two careers as TV host and filmmaker and, while this level of busy-ness is a dream come true, my life can no longer sustain it,” he continued. “With Catfish still going strong after 7 seasons, 115 episodes, 31 specials and showing no sign of slowing down, I feel it is finally the time for me to make my exit. Although I have a heavy heart, I am also excited for everything that’s to come for myself, for Nev, for our crew and for the show. Thank you for watching, thank you for the love and for the memes.”

RELATED VIDEO: MTV Suspends Catfish Production as Host Nev Schulman Is Investigated for Sexual Misconduct

Schulman, 33, also issued a statement.

“Working with Max on Catfish has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life,” he said. “What started as a casual friendship quickly turned into a brotherhood. Thanks to Max, over the last six years I’ve learned as much about the internet and society as I have about myself. Max isn’t just a co-host, he’s a partner. His ability to listen, empathize and advise is astounding. Nobody cuts through the noise and dishes the hard truth better than he does. I’m going to miss him a lot. He’s my best friend and one of the best colleagues anyone could hope for.”

“As sad as I am though that Max is leaving the show, it brings me great joy to know that he is following his heart,” he continued. “While selfishly I’d love to keep him all to myself, I know that unleashing the creativity and passion that he has will benefit so many of us. If you don’t already know about Max’s amazing work as a filmmaker, check out his website maxjoseph.com. Good luck, my friend, and there’s really no excuse why you can’t video chat in from time to time ;)”

In December, Joseph opened up to PEOPLE about reaching the 100-episode milestone on the show, which tracks down online daters to bring them face-to-face with their partners while exposing their fake personas.

“One hundred episodes means a lot of flights and it means a lot of Hilton Garden Inns,” he said. “It means a lot of emotional ups and downs and being in people’s living rooms and on weird couches and listening to people’s stories and kind of embedding ourselves in the lives of many different Americans. We’re mostly interacting with people in their late teens, early to mid-20s. But along the way, we’re seeing everything in between, and it’s been a real eye-opener, socially and politically. It’s definitely affected me irreversibly.”

“In a world filled with sadness and lies and bullying, much of which is perpetrated by our president, we are happy to continue to offer a show that seeks to find the truth, to encourage authenticity and to support objectivity, compassion and caring,” he added. “So even if you think you’ve seen every episode or whatever, we think people could — and should — keep watching this show. Because we’re doing our part to fight back against the unfortunate trend of negativity and bulls— that seems to be infesting our lives.”

Joseph’s departure comes over a month after MTV resumed production on the series after Schulman was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman who appeared on the show. He denied the allegations and an internal investigation was launched; the network announced in late June that the claims were found to be “not credible and without merit,” according to Deadline.

“Although we never received a formal complaint, MTV and Critical Content immediately engaged an independent third party investigator,” MTV said in a statement. “The independent investigator found the allegations made in the YouTube videos to be not credible and without merit. Given the results of the investigation, Catfish will resume filming. We take these matters very seriously and are committed to providing a safe working environment.”

Catfish airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on MTV.

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