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Linus Media Group halts production amidst allegations of inaccuracy and harassment

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Linus Media Group (LMG), previously led by one of the biggest names in the tech Youtube space, Linus Sebastian, is pausing all video production for one week following allegations of theft, putting out inaccurate information and, most recently, sexual harassment in addition to having a toxic workplace environment.

The first allegations came from fellow Youtube channel Gamers Nexus, which posted a video titled “The Problem with Linus Tech Tips: Accuracy, Ethics, & Responsibility” on August 14. Host Steve Burke pointed out “an alarming amount of conflicts” from the Linus Tech Tips teams and LMG’s ShortCircuit and TechQuickie channels which cover gadgets and tech news, respectively.

Burke also highlighted LMG’s corporate connections, the flow of money and “the potential bias as a result of those things”. His biggest concern was how Linus Tech Tips (LTT) reviewed a GPU cooling block from Billet Labs. Burke alleges that not only did LTT review the cooler on the wrong GPU but also auctioned it off later at a fan event without the company’s permission.

Meanwhile, Linus tried answering concerned fans’ questions on his company’s forum, stating that the cooler auction was a miscommunication and that they were working with Billet Labs to address the situation.

Things escalated with Gamers Nexus’ follow-up video on the issue, which had a nearly 12-minute sequence titled “Linus Tech Tips response is disappointing nonsense”. Burke wrote in the video description that the channel was disappointed by the “hastily, angrily-written, and at times inaccurate statement posted.”

The video was posted on August 15 and featured Gamers Nexus’ conversation with Billet Labs, claiming that LMG auctioned off the cooler without knowing it was a “$[REDACTED] prototype” and did not even reply to Billet Labs’ question asking for compensation until Gamers Nexus released their initial video.

The Billet Labs statement on the LTT Subreddit. | Source: r/LinusTechTips

A statement from Billet Labs was also posted to the LTT subreddit, where the company clearly states that they’ve refused Linus’ offer of getting the auctioned block back to them and have asked for its monetary value instead. The thread had LTT fans demanding a public apology from the Youtuber to Billet Labs.

All this finally led to Linus posting a video titled “What do we do now?” on the main LTT channel, where various department heads address issues raised on the community forums and by Gamers Nexus and chalk out plans of how the company will tackle them going forward. Current LMG CEO Terren Tong (who’s only six weeks into the role) took to the camera first, introducing himself and outlining the issues to be addressed. At the same time, CFO Yvonne Ho agreed with the community and immediately paused all Youtube production.

What wasn’t addressed in the video were the sexual harassment and abuse allegations made by former employee Madison Reeve, who posted a thread on X, formerly Twitter, pointing out the toxic work environment. “My time at this company brought my mental health to an all-time low,” said Madison, adding that she was constantly belittled by “certain members of upper management”.

Madison even left a bad Glassdoor review about the company after she left, something she highlighted in her thread. She also posted an internal note supposedly written by Linus addressing speculation that something bad had happened to her.

CEO Terron Tong emailed The Verge that an external investigator would be hired to investigate the allegations. The company “will commit to publish the findings and implementing any corrective actions that may arise because of this”.

Linus had a similar reaction, stating that he was “in a state of shock reading through these allegations” and adding that the HR team will conduct a more thorough assessment of the allegations and, when ready, the company will release a “more complete statement”.

LMG has been making a significant investment into its Labs division, hiring technical personnel and engineers, buying more testing equipment and switching to a more technical approach to its content as compared to the old entertainment-style videos that have turned the channel into one of the biggest names in the tech Youtube space.

The importance of accurate data when you have an audience as big as LMG cannot be overstated, especially given the company is working towards testing consumer tech to a higher standard and giving its audience data which might drive purchase decisions. As for the sexual harassment and toxic work culture allegations, they could seriously hurt LMG’s reputation unless the company responds positively.

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: [email protected].