Crime Junkie, the hit podcast co-hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, has pulled down several episodes after accusations surfaced that the show was using source materials without giving proper credit. The charges first came to light last week when Cathy Frye, a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, accused the show of using exclusive information and quoting from her newspaper series about a local murder case directly without attribution. “If you can't be bothered to do what actual journalists do, then at least credit those who did the reporting,” Frye wrote in a fiery 446-word post on Flower’s Facebook page.
It wasn’t the only allegation of plagiarism. Robin Warder, who hosts true-crime podcast The Trail Went Cold, told Variety that she too believes a recent Crime Junkie episode pulled nearly word-for-word information from its show. And earlier this year a Crime Junkie listener alleged in a Reddit post that another episode was nearly verbatim of a 2018 episode of the TV show “On the Case with Paula Zahn” that aired last year on Investigation Discovery.
In response to the allegations, Flowers in a Facebook post said several shows have been taken down saying their source material “could no longer be found or properly cited” but didn’t address the charges of plagiarism directly. Here’s the full post:
The lack of acknowledgement that a journalism rule had been breached has resulted in what could be best described as a mixed reaction from show fans. “This might be the worst response I've ever seen and I have now unsubscribed,” wrote a listener named Tim Young. But others are sticking with Crime Junkies. “I still love your show, but I hope this serves as an opportunity for improvement. Give credit where credit is due and let’s grow from here,” wrote a listener named Melissa Honn.
Flowers didn’t say how many episodes have been removed but Variety puts the number at five. It also points out that Flowers herself has complained about having her work being coopted by others. In a Twitter post last month she asked YouTube to take down material she believed had been lifted from Crime Junkie episodes.
Crime Junkie is currently on the road in what could best be described as a wildly popular series of live events. A number of its upcoming events are sold out with a date in San Francisco being relocated to a larger venue to accommodate demand and a second night added in Chicago.
As for podcasting, Flowers told Deadline in May that her team is working on a new limited-run six-episode series that’s already sparked interest from television networks and documentary producers. The project focuses on an unsolved 40-year old murder in Indiana that Flowers says the state police are helping her dig into.
Deadline also reported Flowers is working on a TV series based on her work creating the Crime Junkie podcast. But unlike other shows, this one would be a fictional, scripted show that features a woman who uses podcasting to solve crimes.