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Hugging the Cactus Documentary

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Help Cancel Cancel Culture, by sharing the stories of those who were unfairly wronged, and deserve a path to redemption. We successfully reached our goal on Kickstarter ... but many who missed that deadline asked for ways they could still help us reach our larger stretch goals of turning this into a documentary. Funds gathered here will help us achieve that, as well as future episodes of this project.

My name is Andy Signore, and  I am a successful content creator responsible for such popular brands as ScreenJunkies, Honest Trailers, Man At Arms and more...  

Two years ago I made some deeply personal mistakes that greatly affected my life and many I loved. I was immensely unfaithful to my ex-wife, and was caught flirting online with my fans. One of those fans exploited these inappropriate transgressions, turning a completely consensual affair - into false allegations of sexual assault and abuse. 

While my flirtation with fans as a content creator was indeed questionable and a mistake - It was  the specific criminal charges that crippled me - turning any flirtation I ever made into malicious and predatory behavior. My fanbase and colleagues upset with the news - and caught up in the first few days of the #MeToo movement, bought my false accuser’s story hook, line and sinker.

They allowed her to lead a social media mob to terminate my employment, scorch my name and livelihood.

I didn’t know how to prove my innocence in a “he said / she said” accusation like this - until I realized that google had archived all of my deleted messages - allowing me to revisit our chat logs, emails and photos, - and proving my accuser was not being truthful. This week, after finally settling my case - I released a video that finally showed the truth. I implore you all to watch it in full when you can: 

For two years, while I pursued legal action - I was forced to hold onto all of this information that could help clear my name… People moved on, and my name was sullied, so I took that time to rebuild. First internally by bettering myself mentally and physically, looking at myself hard in the mirror, and developing healthier ways to move forward.

Then I stepped back online, against the wishes of the internet, to push through the trolls and begin stretching my creative muscles, which had been dormant for too long. While years ago I made content that reached millions, now I was only reaching hundreds. It humbled me. I kept moving forward always telling myself - be honest, keep going… if you build it they will come.

My story this week went viral - my genuine change in character was noticed - and it prompted positive support from fans new and old. In a remarkable turn, beyond my wildest dreams - It became clear that many wanted to give me a second chance. 

As I stood in this new spotlight I realized how grateful I was for the opportunity to rebuild - and as thousands of messages of support came in - so did messages from others who had been screwed over - or falsely accused - some weren’t as lucky to have saved their evidence. 

I was inspired - So I ended up speaking to some of these people directly on the phone. Some of the stories were heartbreaking. People living with the shame of mistakes they made -that were often blown out of proportion, and never being able to share their side of the story, to have the possibility of forgiveness.

It really gave me pause, and a giant burst of creative inspiration. 

I want to tell their stories. 

During my recovery period, a close friend sent me this exchange about forgiveness, between Robert Downey Jr and Mel Gibson.

Mr. Robert Downey Jr. said: If I accepted responsibility for my wrong doings and if I embrace that part of my soul that was ugly - hugging the cactus - he calls it - he said that if I hug the cactus long enough I’d become a man of some humility, and that my life would take on a new meaning. And I did. And it worked. All he asked in return, was that someday I help the next guy, in some small way.

Those two years of mine, while the world continued to label me a monster - I was left alone with my mistakes, my shame, my grief and my anger… I was forced to see parts of me that I didn’t like. By hugging my own cactus as long as I did, I found new reasons to be a better man.

Regardless of the gravity of our mistakes, falling down can unleash honest self reflection, and make us better people. As I read countless stories from others sharing their struggles with no platform to speak and just needing to be heard - I realized I could take my editing and story-telling skills and use my new spotlight - to help others who deserve a second shot.

When you’ve been publicly shamed - and wrongfully accused - the world goes dark - and you begin to lose your own self worth. I am so grateful to see the light slowly turning back on for me, but there are so many people out there that don’t have the platform that I do. This project is a chance for all of us to help provide a glimpse of that healing light for others who are lost.

To give them a platform to be heard. To help them stop hugging their cactus, and finally light a path to move forward.

I’m calling this series: HUGGING THE CACTUS

And I’ve never been more passionate about a personal project. 

My first goal was to crowd-fund $10,000, and was met via Kickstarter:

I will be building season 1 of a new podcast brand that will allow me to have reoccurring long-form conversations with folks who deserve second chances, and have their personal stories be heard. I also want people to share their own "Honest Failures" if you will - and how they were able to stand back up and grow from them. These stories will be inspirational, emotional and funny. I expect Season 1 of this podcast series to have 10 Episodes.

Many who missed the fundraising deadline have asked, how can I help?Well my next goal is $30,000, to find a worthy story, and build a video pilot of a new docu-series version of this show. Hundreds have reached out to me with their stories, I'll take the time to find the right people, fly out to them and build mini-documentaries to tell and share their story.

I implore you to  join me, by helping GoFundMe this new brand and first season - by helping however much you can. I’ve included some great incentives  and I can’t wait to get started on this journey with you all of you.


Andrew Signore
Tampa, FL

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