In between calls at work, I listen to podcasts. Podcasts allow me to learn, laugh, and relax at work. One podcast I listened to was Crime Junkie. Crime Junkie hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat details various true crime cases. I liked Ashley’s narration style and her tonality while she told the story of a particular case. A few weeks ago, I found a Reddit post of possible plagiarism from Crime Junkie. I wanted to investigate this further and it seems there is significant evidence Ashley plagiarized other works from true crime individuals.
The accusations were initiated by a woman named Cathy Frye. Cathy is a writer at the Arkansas Gazette. In a Crime Junkie episode, Ashley discussed the murder of Kacie Woody. Cathy wrote about the case and found certain sections of Ashley’s podcast episode were passages from her article. Cathy is visibly upset because she spent significant time researching the case only for Ashley to read it on the podcast without citing her article. Ashley is profiting off of Crime Junkie and the corresponding Patreon account for the page. I can understand why Cathy is upset. Crime Junkie hasn’t acknowledged Cathy’s statement and has since removed the episode in question.
Those who defend Crime Junkie say that Ashley and Brit aren’t trying to be journalists. This argument doesn’t make sense to me because you can still plagiarize material in any format, it doesn’t matter if they’re journalists or not. Another argument I have read is “are there really that many ways to re-tell the same story?” Facts of a case will be told multiple times in various ways, again it boils down to whether the sources were cited or not. The Crime Junkie episodes I listened to didn’t have sources featured in the episodes.
Ashley did come out with a statement, although her statement never admitted any wrongdoing. She stated how she removed episodes after the research couldn’t be cited and how there are going to be new safeguards in place to prevent this from happening. Ashley never admits to plagiarism in her episodes. I genuinely don’t believe Ashley was doing this purposefully, but she doesn’t admit she’s wrong and that doesn’t sit well with me. This is especially concerning since Ashley is the founder of Audiochuck a podcast company. If Ashley has already had plagiarism scandals for one show, how can we trust that she isn’t doing this with her other shows?
My goal in writing this post isn’t to be negative. As a fan of the show, I’m extremely disheartened to hear this about Crime Junkie. I appreciated Ashley’s work with Crime Stoppers of Indiana and felt she had good intentions with making Crime Junkie and not capitalizing on these violent cases. I think there’s nothing wrong with owning your mistakes and taking steps to improve and I feel Ashley’s original statement didn’t acknowledge the accusations.
Ultimately, I’m going to stop subscribing to Crime Junkie and go back to listening to Once Upon a Crime who also says Crime Junkie plagiarized some of her episodes too. At the top of this post, I linked a video where Once Upon a Crime compares the statements from her episode versus Crime Junkie. It’s sad because I looked forward to a new episode of Crime Junkie, but I can’t stand behind someone who can’t acknowledge any mistakes that have been made. Are you a Crime Junkie fan? Let me know what you think in the comments.
Also, if you’re wanting to read the original story of Kacie Woody written by Cathy Frye, you can find the story here: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2003/dec/14/evil-door/