Feral Audio Shuts Down After Abuse Allegations Surface Against Founder Dustin Marshall
Podcast network Feral Audio is no more. Just before the holiday break, abuse allegations against Feral Audio founder Dustin Marshall surfaced when his ex-girlfriend Abby Weems shared the below message via her band Potty Mouth’s Twitter page, detailing what Weems calls an “abusive relationship” that left her “mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted” and culminated with “weeks of constant harassment” from Marshall:
hey guys if you could please take a moment to read and share this it would really mean a lot to me. thank you so much for your support -Abby pic.twitter.com/EsMEz3xinA
— Potty Mouth (@pottymouthworld) December 22, 2017
Several days later, Marshall responded to the allegations on Tumblr. While he did acknowledge his actions (including breaking into Weems’s home and “online stalking” her for weeks), he also accuses Weems’s bandmates of being “incredibly emotionally and verbally abusive” to her, doesn’t directly apologize, and offers some questionable implications regarding the relationship (including statements like “I want you to remember how much I encouraged your art” and “You did your share of things to me to enable these outbursts and were being told endlessly to walk away”). As The Comic’s Comic also notes, Marshall originally included the below note about shutting down Feral Audio that has since been deleted (notably, this announcement about Feral shutting down was delivered on Christmas Day):
To Feral Audio artists, after six years, I can no longer have the pressure of running a company, continue this lifestyle and be mentally healthy … Since Feral Audio is forever married to my name, i [sic] am dissolving it so no dark cloud should ever be above your work.
On the 26th, Feral Audio CEO Jason Smith shared an announcement that Starburns Industries will be launching its own podcast network called SBI: Audio, where Feral podcasts Harmontown, Dumb People Town, and Duncan Trussell Family Hour will be moving. (Feral was founded in partnership with Starburns Industries in 2012.) There is no word yet where a handful of other Feral podcasts will move including Call Chelsea Peretti, Office Hours, The Todd Barry Podcast, and many more. Feral show Sleep with Me announced it’s going completely independent, while shows like Natch Beaut and Doughboys have posted updates saying announcements about where their shows are headed are forthcoming. (You can see all of Feral’s former shows here.)
In the wake of the announcement, Marshall continued to post on Twitter for several days (including a tweet scolding Maximum Fun’s Jesse Thorn for offering Feral shows a new home and a very alarming suicide poll), then said on Twitter and Reddit that he’ll be starting off the New Year going to rehab. It’s unclear what exactly will happen to the Feral website or if more Feral shows will move to SBI: Audio, but presumably there will be more announcements regarding the change from Starburns and former Feral podcasts over the coming weeks. As for Weems, she has thanked friends and fans for their support on Twitter, and says she “has many issues” with how Marshall responded to her original tweet:
I do not resent anyone who has chosen to support Dustin in getting help, or anyone who feels that parts of his statement have shed light on their own experiences. just know I have many issues with what he has said, and it does not make me feel any safer or resolved
— Potty Mouth (@pottymouthworld) December 25, 2017
UPDATE: Former Feral podcasts Doughboys and Beyond Yacht Rock have both posted updates this week. Doughboys has decided not to join SBI: Audio and will be operating independently for now, while Beyond Yacht Rock announced it’s “putting the brakes on” for the time being:
Many of you have been understandably curious about the future of Doughboys. We’ve parted ways with Feral Audio, and we won’t be joining Starburns’ new SBI: Audio network. We are operating independently for now, and will have a decision on our permanent home in the coming weeks.
— Doughboys (@doughboyspod) January 4, 2018
Beyond Yacht Rock is putting the brakes on a little bit this year due to family and work issues. We will be releasing episodes and minisodes intermittently and have some cool stuff planned for later in the year, so don’t unsubscribe! Thanks for your support.
— Yacht Rock (@yachtrock) January 5, 2018