A journalistic commentary on Andrew Callaghan


Youtube - All Gas No Brakes

Andrew Callaghan (Left) speaks with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio in Portland, Ore. for Proud Boys Rally Oct. 3, 2020

Andrew Callaghan a 25 year-old independent American journalist who got his start on Youtube has been making waves in the journalism world. He has described his work, according to an interview with Interview Magazine, as “radically empathetic, unbiased, civilian journalism.” However, these words now feel radically untrue based on the recent allegations made against Callaghan. Multiple women came forward through social media accusing Callaghan of sexual assault and misconduct after his HBO documentary released “This Place Rules.” 

I first discovered Callaghan in 2019 when he started releasing Youtube videos on his channel “All Gas No Brakes.” Callaghan attended Proud Boys rallies, a Flat Earth conference and the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis in 2020. He’d walk around with a cameraman and a microphone, speaking to the attendees of these events. At the time, I had never seen journalism done like this before, and the idea of being a journalist as a career was fresh on my radar. 

It was inspiring to see another young person telling stories in such a direct, genuine format. Through this content, he gained popularity and interacted with his fans on a regular basis. 

Soon after the release, Dana or @molderfreckle on TikTok describes Callaghan invited you to an apology dinner, after she told him he made her uncomfortable during sex. She explained he was aggressive, demanding, and persistent. During the dinner, Callaghan offers half-hearted apologies after she remind him why she went to dinner. Then, he immediately asked if she wanted to have sex in her car. When she said no, the asking continues and things turn physical. Callaghan got frustrated and continued to try and kiss her. After much effort, Dana get him away. 

These words are just a glimpse of what allegedly happened between Andrew Callaghan and Dana in 2022.

Annabelle Rivera, a sophomore journalism major at DePaul, said her  first exposure to Callaghan was from a popular clip circulating social media from “This Place Rules.” She had only heard about the allegations against Callaghan recently. 

“To put it simply, it’s nauseating, but unfortunately, not surprising,” Rivera said. “And not to make this a gender thing, but I feel like as a woman you naturally have to be cautious of men. You don’t have the luxury of being like, oh well this type of man is safe. You know every single man, you have to be cautious of. You know, the fact that this is someone who is more left-leaning, on the younger side, someone who you traditionally wouldn’t suspect, is not surprising.” 

She continued, touching on the fact that Callaghan comes from the same industry.

“I feel like this hits especially harder because he is a journalist, and we’re gonna be journalists,” Rivera said. “This could have been our colleague or something like that!” 

There have been a number of prominent journalists being accused of sexual misconduct. In 2017, Matt Lauer of NBC News was fired after being accused of sexual assault. In 2020, former Fox News reporter Ed Henry was accused of sexual assault and Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson was accused of sexual harassment. 

An interesting development in Callaghan’s career has been in his colossal growth in popularity for using person on the street journalism as a medium to tell stories. He is known for speaking to the odd, quirky and controversial sides of society. 

This fame has grown into different YouTube channels, podcasts and a documentary

“I think being a content creator and a journalist is a good way to get your journalism out to the masses,” Rivera said “Because journalism is evolving, especially with technology, it’s not gonna slow down.”

With being a more traditional content creator and then also being a journalist, and the content is journalism, that’s a really smart and forward thinking way of producing work. It will get more exposure and people will pay more attention to what is said. Journalism is being ruined by content creation, because after all journalism is content creation. 

Bridget Killian, a senior journalism major, had only seen clips or short videos of Callaghan through YouTube. 

“I heard about the accusations probably three days ago [Jan. 16],” Killian said. “It’s definitely jarring to hear it. It’s jarring anytime you hear it even though it does happen quite often, but it is kind of jarring to hear it happen in your own community and someone close in age. And then reading the quotes from people accusing him and then what he said in response, especially what he said, apologizing for the alcohol use involved. It didn’t really seem like he was taking the right steps.” 

On Jan. 16, Callaghan released a video acknowledging the accusations. 

“Not to blame alcohol, but I truly believe alcohol was a contributing factor to my poor decision making, and I think that alcohol in general has had a devastating impact on my life,” Callaghan said.

Callaghan claimed he was going to join an Alcoholics Anonymous program in his apology video. Killian continued to share her thoughts on Callaghan. 

“Talking to people about this topic, for women involved who have been coerced into sexual activity, it doesn’t feel like they’ve been assaulted because they eventually said yes, but I think it’s important to put out there that is not enthusiastic consent,” Killian said. 

Killian spoke on a very important aspect of the allegations which is the power dynamic.

“I don’t know the exact specifics of each situation in terms of the power dynamic, but it seems that it was some sort of power dynamic,” Killian said. “Whether it was a physical power dynamic, he’s just larger than them so he can force himself on people. Or if it was him being a prominent person, therefore he has a lot of influence, so that can lead to people feeling like they have to say yes.”

Personally, as a journalist, journalism student and the writer of this article, I’m deeply disheartened by the accusation made against Callaghan. Being a young journalist, I found myself somewhat inspired by him when I first decided that this was the career I chose to venture through. 

Rivera spoke on his modern, forward thinking form of journalism and the medium that is a space for important yet dynamic storytelling. I find myself disappointed as a journalist, who strives to be an honest, insightful and genuine storyteller and reporter. 

Callaghan has not been held to the standards I can only hope my peers will hold me to and all other men in our industry.