hen Sara Benincasa
first met Ben Kissel in 2010, she was smitten with him almost immediately. Tall and handsome with boyish features, a six-foot-seven-inch frame, and an aw-shucks Midwestern mien, Kissel was working as a stand-up comic in New York City, just like she was at the time; they both spent a lot of time at the Creek and the Cave, a now-defunct comedy club in Queens. She found him charming and funny, with a quick wit and a willingness to say anything to get a laugh, an edgelord sensibility that was trendy on the comedy scene at the time. “Comedians love to heighten, to take the piss out of each other by trying to go farther and farther,” she says. “And he was somebody who really could do that.”

Benincasa and Kissel started dating in late 2011, though she says they were seeing other people throughout, as Kissel did not want to be monogamous. “We were in what would be characterized now as a situationship,” she says. 

It was, she says, understood that they were both seeing other people. So when Kissel asked her, one rainy night that winter, if she had slept with somebody else, she answered honestly in the affirmative, naming someone who was also on the New York City comedy scene. She was shocked, she says, when Kissel, whom she alleges had been drinking heavily throughout the evening, became irate. 

As Kissel got “angrier and angrier, and drunker and drunker,” Benincasa says, she tried to figure out what to do. She tried calming him down, ushering him to go to bed. But he was still furious, she says. “[I said], ‘Those are the rules you set. I don’t understand why you’re so mad,’” she says. “And he said, ‘Well, never do that again.’” 

That’s when, Benincasa alleges, Kissel slapped her across the face. “It’s weird that I don’t remember it hurting, because I think it must have hurt,” she says.” “But I remember freezing, and inside my head, thinking, ‘That just happened. And it could get worse. You need to get out of here.’” 

Benincasa tried to get out of bed, she says, but Kissel “pulled me back in firmly and said, ‘No, stay here,’” she says. She tried to get up again, and she alleges he pulled her back down. “I said ‘You hit me,’” she says. “And he said, ‘No, I didn’t,’ and passed out.” She recalls feeling “trapped” by the weight of his frame. (Kissel denies ever slapping Benincasa.) 

So she made a decision: She was going to stay as still as she could and wait it out until morning. “I tried not to take deep belly breaths, because I didn’t want him to feel the movement with his arm. Because it seemed like the thing that triggered him to wake up was me moving,” she says. “I remember watching the darkness turn to that sort of blue light of New York morning after the rain.”

The next morning, Benincasa says, she tried to broach the subject with Kissel again. “I said, ‘You hit me last night.’ And he said, ‘No, I didn’t.’ I said, ‘Yes, you did. You slapped me across the face,’” she recalls. “[And] he looked at me and kind of patted me on the head, like a little kid. And he said, ‘Well, I’m very sorry if that happened, but it didn’t.’ And then we probably went and got food or something.” 

Benincasa continued to casually date Kissel for a few months, breaking up in the spring of 2012, and they occasionally hooked up for a few years afterward. Throughout that time, she told herself a lot of stories about what had happened: that Kissel was drunk, that he truly may not have remembered allegedly hitting her, that it wouldn’t happen again. (She says it did not, and that was the sole alleged instance of him hitting her.) She was also struggling with alcohol abuse herself at the time. “I would pretend it didn’t happen for quite a long time,” she says. “If the feelings got so bad and started coming up, so that I couldn’t ignore them, I would find a reason to go to a party, go out to drink.”

Benincasa told a few people in her circle about the incident: two close friends a few months after she and Kissel stopped seeing each other, and a former member of the New York City comedy scene in 2017, all three of whom confirmed details of their conversations with her with Rolling Stone. She also referred to it multiple times, without naming Kissel, once in 2014 for a Glamour interview and once in a chapter of her 2016 book, Real Artists Have Day Jobs. “It was a trauma,” she wrote in the chapter, “and I do myself and my reader no good service by pretending otherwise.”  

For years afterward, she says, she had nightmares and flashbacks about that night. But she told herself that what happened with Kissel was an isolated incident. They remained cordial over the years, even friendly, occasionally emailing about various job opportunities. (A person familiar with the situation says that Kissel and Benincasa “continued to socialize as friends and colleagues” after their breakup.)

“I so desperately wanted to live in a world where it had been my fault, and it was over and he never did that to anybody else,” she says. “That was the fairy tale I had told myself for a long time.”

FOR THE PAST DECADE, Kissel has been best known as part of the enormously successful true-crime/comedy podcast Last Podcast on the Left. Co-hosted by Kissel, Henry Zebrowski, and Marcus Parks, it fused together raunchy humor and grisly recountings of stories like the Ted Bundy case and the Jonestown Massacre, showcasing compelling if dark stories alongside the palpable chemistry of the trio, making listeners feel like they were having a weekly conversation with their closest friends. It struck a chord with fans — it has more than a billion listens and has expanded to an entire network, with 14 shows under the LPOTL umbrella, spawning numerous fan communities on Reddit and Facebook with tens of thousands of members. On the podcast, Kissel played something of a lovable Everyman role, seemingly coming to stories with less information than his co-hosts, thereby serving as a stand-in for the listener.   

Among the diehard fans of LPOTL, Kissel was considered something of an unlikely sex symbol. Though he was not necessarily the funniest or best-informed of the hosts, his teddy-bear persona endeared him to listeners, particularly female fans. “So many women were trying to get his attention and constantly DMing him,” says Taylor Moon, an adult content creator who had a long-distance relationship with Kissel from the spring of 2022 to July 2023. “It’s evident all over his social media. If you scroll through Instagram, there are hundreds of girls’ comments.”

In late August 2023, shortly after Moon and Kissel broke up, Moon published a post on her Instagram alluding to their split, writing, “You’ll never get to drunkenly pin me to the bed and call me a pathetic fucking loser or stupid fucking bitch ever again.” Though she did not explicitly name Kissel, LPOTL fans, well-versed in the art of solving mysteries, figured out who she was referring to, prompting intense speculation within the LPOTL fan community. Moon later described her allegation in further detail in a September livestream of the Friends With Davey podcast, hosted by her friend, comedian Davey Jackson. Since Moon went public, Rolling Stone has spoken to three other women, including Benincasa, who have come forward with their own allegations against Kissel, ranging from inappropriate behavior to physical abuse. 

Ben Kissel performing at the 2017 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival in San Francisco, California.


Initially, Moon’s allegations led to the LPOTL team saying in a Sept. 13 episode that Kissel would be “going into treatment” for his “mental health and physical health,” assuring listeners that Kissel “will be back.” Weeks later, LPOTL reversed course, saying in an Oct. 5 Instagram post that Kissel would be leaving the network. Many fans in the LPOTL community were confused by this about-face, wondering if the allegations against Kissel were true, or if there were any others the network was not addressing. 

According to the four women who spoke with Rolling Stone, as well as nine other people close to the New York City comedy community and the Last Podcast network, Kissel’s issues with alcohol have long been a topic of discussion among those in his social circle, and may have played a role in his alleged misconduct.  

Kissel denies all of the allegations of physical abuse and inappropriate conduct against him, particularly those leveled by Moon. “I had a long-distance relationship with Taylor [Moon] over the course of about 15 months. We never lived together. Our connection mostly consisted of text messages and phone calls followed by brief in-person visits, all of which were marred by frequent arguments instigated by Taylor, which is why I ultimately chose to end the relationship,” he said in a statement sent to Rolling Stone. 

“While the unhealthy nature of our relationship took a toll on my mental wellbeing, I want to make it clear that I have never been physically or verbally abusive with Taylor or any other woman in my life.” (Kissel’s statement is reprinted in full at the end of this story.) 

Though Kissel could also be, according to Benincasa, “loving, cuddly, affectionate, and funny,” that changed when he was drinking, according to four sources formerly associated with the Creek and the Cave, the comedy club where LPOTL got its start. These individuals say that Kissel was well-known for being angry, aggressive toward women, and occasionally violent when drunk, at one point in 2015 getting thrown out for hurling a bottle, according to one source. (A person familiar with the situation refutes this, saying Kissel “was never expelled from the Creek and the Cave on any occasion.”) “It was common for people at the club to be like, ‘When Ben is drinking, stay away from him,’” says another source, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of professional reprisal. 

Rolling Stone has found that reports of Kissel’s alleged drunken and combative behavior go back more than a decade, to the point of it being an open secret within the podcast and comedy communities. Mackenzie Joy Brennan, an attorney and former occasional contributor to the SPUN podcast on the Last Podcast network, says he was known for going on frequent benders and she often saw him exhibiting “very angry, very mean” behavior on the “turn of a dime,” both toward herself and Kissel’s former girlfriend, who did not return a request for comment. 

“There was this level of anger that would come out, just this blank look, dead in the face, of hatred” when he got angry, Brennan says. “At that point I was like, I don’t want to spend time with him.” 

A person close to the situation denies that Kissel, who is currently in rehab, ever went on “benders” or experienced “blackouts” while drinking. In a statement, Kissel conceded, however, he often used alcohol to self-medicate, which contributed to him entering unhealthy relationships. “Through weeks of intense therapy at an in-patient facility I have realized that I use alcohol as a way to try to cope with childhood trauma,” he says in a statement to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps more to the point, the allegations against Kissel have raised lingering questions about how much other members of the comedy and podcast scenes were aware of his alleged behavior, particularly his co-hosts and network co-owners. Brennan refers to Kissel as “the missing stair” in the true-crime podcast community — “one dangerous person that everyone on the inside just knows is dangerous, covertly warns their own about or knows to avoid, but never fixes.” 

Multiple sources close to Kissel and the network have alleged that Zebrowski and Parks were well aware of Kissel’s struggles with alcohol abuse, and have questioned why they did not intervene prior to Moon coming forward with her allegations. “They should just say they fucked up and they’re sorry, they didn’t know what to do,” says one source close to the New York comedy community. “They have a sick friend, [who] needs a lot of fucking help.” (A source close to the Last Podcast network says that Zebrowski and Parks did make attempts to help Kissel get treatment, saying Kissel’s alcohol use was “addressed on several different occasions.”)

Additionally, one source close to the New York City comedy community tells Rolling Stone that Benincasa and another female comic’s allegations of “forceful” conduct by Kissel were also well-known within the community, particularly at the Creek and the Cave, as early as 2015. “It’s common knowledge,” the source says. “Has been for years.” 

LAST PODCAST ON THE LEFT emerged from the New York City comedy scene in 2011, with the trio recording and hosting live shows at the Creek and the Cave. From its beginnings, LPOTL has become one of the most successful true-crime podcasts in history; within the past year, it has been ranked one of the top all-time podcasts on Spotify in the U.S., according to Chartable, as well as at Number 13 on Apple’s top podcast charts in America. 

“I think they were right place, right time,” says Brennan, the former contributor to the LPOTL podcast network. “Podcasting had just become a thing but not an oversaturated market yet, and it just kind of worked.” 

Fans of the show admired how deftly it balanced outrageous comedy with nitty-gritty true-crime details while still centering victims’ perspectives, something of a rarity in the true-crime podcast world. One of these fans was Amber Rose, a filmmaker and true-crime buff who was then pursuing a degree in forensic psychology and started listening to the show in 2015. “There are some podcasts where the hosts are all men, and they make a lot of jokes at the expense of women and fans and queer and trans people who have gone through horrible things,” she says. LPOTL “didn’t feel like they were making fun of the victims. They were making fun of the perpetrators.”

In 2017, Rose says, she met Ben Kissel in Los Angeles at the El Rey Theater, where he was judging a Halloween costume contest. She had dressed as Jeffrey Dahmer (a costume choice she now regrets), and though she did not win the contest, she claims that afterward, he whispered, “you had my vote” into her ear.

It was then, she says, that he came in for a kiss: “I wasn’t expecting it and I moved a bit, because I didn’t want to be kissed on the lips. And it ended up being kind of, a little bit on my lips and on my face,” she says. “It was just a very strange situation.” 

The second time she met Kissel, Rose alleges, she was looking for apartments while visiting her now-ex boyfriend in Milwaukee and decided to go to a Last Podcast network show, followed by a screening for Kissel’s 2017 film documenting his failed run for Brooklyn Borough President, Hail Yourself, America! They attended an afterparty at a bar, where Rose alleges a LPOTL fan grabbed her breasts without consent in full view of Kissel, prompting Kissel to berate the fan and speak on Rose’s defense. 

The next day, Rose says, she ran into Kissel at a bar in the Milwaukee airport, where he appeared to be “noticeably drunk.” The conversation was polite, she says, until his mood shifted, and he made a comment alluding to the incident the night before: “He basically was like, ‘It sucks that I can’t just grab your breasts like that,’” she says. Shortly afterward, she says, he got up to leave for his flight, hugging her and “kissing [her] very sloppily on the mouth.” 

“I felt like I’d been manipulated. I felt violated kind of on two fronts,” she says, referring to her interaction with Kissel at the airport and her encounter with the fan the night before. Rose and Kissel exchanged a few short texts shortly thereafter, with Rose offering to talk to him if he was struggling because, she says, she felt “bad for him.” “In my interactions with him, it was pretty clear that he had problems with alcohol,” she says. A close family member confirmed to Rolling Stone that Rose had told them about both incidents, shortly after each happened. 

A person close to the situation says Kissel never kissed Rose, characterizing her as an “infatuated” fan who “attempted to seduce him.” This person also denied that Kissel was ever inebriated at the Milwaukee airport. Though she did not directly witness the incident with Rose, Kissel’s former roommate, Jazzy, who requested that her last name be withheld, and who has spent time with Kissel and members of the Last Podcast network, says she has never seen Kissel be inappropriate with a female fan.

Moon, Kissel’s ex, also first encountered Kissel in early 2022 as a fan, attending an LPOTL live show in her home state. (Moon requested that Rolling Stone withhold her location to protect her privacy.) She posted a photo on her Instagram Stories of herself getting ready for the show, tagging the hosts; a month later, she says, Kissel DMed her out of the blue.

For three months, she says, they had an extended long-distance flirtation, chatting late at night over the phone and via text. In August, she went to Las Vegas with Kissel and the LPOTL hosts for one of their tours, along with Zebrowski’s wife, Natalie Jean, who also hosts a podcast on the network, Spun. According to Moon, Kissel had been drinking heavily that evening. “He was on a bender,” she says. (A source close to the Last Podcast network says that Zebrowski and Jean knew Kissel “was heavily drinking, but Henry did not know to what extent,” and that they left the other couple early in the evening to go to a concert.) 

When Kissel told Moon he wanted to continue barhopping, Moon recalls, she said she was going to bed. Late at night, she alleges, he walked into the room drunk, prompting a verbal argument. At one point, she alleges, Kissel got on top of her and “pinned [her] down” on the bed. 

“He pressed his forehead into mine and pinned me down on the mattress,” she says. “And I told him that he was hurting me.” (Kissel denies this.) 

The next day, Moon told Jean about details of the alleged confrontation, including that he had been drunk and verbally abusive, according to text messages shared with Rolling Stone. Jean, she says, was “irate,” saying she was going to get Kissel removed from the network. (A source close to the Last Podcast network denies this, saying, “Natalie doesn’t have the power to take Ben off the network.”) 

For this reason, Moon says, she did not tell Jean that Kissel had been allegedly physically abusive toward her in the hotel room, though she did tell a friend a few months afterward, who confirmed the conversation to Rolling Stone. According to Moon, and according to a source close to the Last Podcast network, Jean and Zebrowski stood in line with Moon to get her a separate hotel room from Kissel for the following night. But all rooms were booked, and Kissel ended up booking a room at a neighboring hotel, Circus Circus, instead. 

The next day, Moon and Kissel texted about the incident. “You were so abusive to me when you’re drunk,” Moon texted Kissel on Aug. 21. “I’m not,” Kissel responded, adding that he was “trying to avoid confrontation.” Moon does not reference the alleged physical abuse in these texts, because, she says, she was “scared” of how angry he would get: “I was having a hard time just for him to admit he was calling me names.” 

Kissel denies that he was physically or verbally abusive toward Moon, and Jazzy says that she has never seen Kissel berate or yell at Moon, saying he was always “trying to diffuse the situation” and characterizing the relationship as “rocky” and “toxic.” Kissel referenced the incident to her once, and while he did not go into details, he seemed “shook” by what had happened in the hotel room, as well as “a little scared” of Moon, Jazzy says.  

On Aug. 22, Moon says, she met Kissel at the hotel lobby, and they rode up the escalator together back to the room. While they were on the escalator, she says, he told her he loved her for the first time, “and that, like this escalator, our relationship can only go up from here.”

“After that,” she says, “he acted like nothing had ever happened.” 

Moon continued to date Kissel for another year. The relationship ultimately ended in July. Moon says it was mutual; Jazzy says Kissel ended things with her.

About a month later, Moon posted her Instagram reel, prompting fans to start harassing her. “I start getting reports and my Instagram account is deleted,” she says. Moon alleges that her Instagram was deleted twice due to LPOTL fans’ brigading, a harassment tactic trolls use to mass-report people’s social media accounts and get them removed. “People are bragging on Facebook and Reddit, calling me a clout goblin,” she says.

The allegations prompted an immediate divide within the LPOTL fan community, with some questioning why the LPOTL team did not immediately respond to Moon’s allegations, or immediately issue a statement condemning fan harassment. (The team did ultimately post such a statement on Instagram Stories discouraging fans from harassing Moon, though the post did not name her or address her allegations in any detail.) 

Finally, in an Oct. 5 Instagram post, LPOTL announced that Kissel would be leaving the show. “We know how much our fans care for this show and how much it means to them,” the post read. “That’s why we promise that we will still produce and perform these shows at the level you’ve come to expect, with the sensitivity these stories deserve.” 

The post came as a tremendous shock not just to fans, but to Kissel himself, according to Jazzy, Kissel’s roommate. Jazzy tells Rolling Stone that after Moon initially came forward, Kissel told Jazzy he had made an “agreement” with his co-hosts to go to rehab for 30 days and then return to the podcast. Jazzy says that according to her conversations with Kissel, his co-hosts had not expressed concerns about his alcohol use prior to Moon’s allegations, with him characterizing it as “a surprise that there were all these thoughts that were happening,” she says. The Oct. 5 statement saying he would not return to the podcast has left Kissel feeling “slighted,” she says: “He really feels lost. Nobody has reached out to check up on him, nothing.” 

A source close to the Last Podcast network insists that Parks and Zebrowski made attempts to discuss Kissel’s drinking with him, and tried to intervene to get him help on numerous occasions. The source tells Rolling Stone, “Ben’s substance issues were addressed on several different occasions over a seven-year period — it had come to the point where the working relationship was tarnished.” The source also tells Rolling Stone that weeks before Ben’s departure was announced, “Marcus and Henry had a lengthy discussion with Ben about the future of the show and the need to go their separate ways.”

Now that Kissel has been formally dismissed from the show, lingering questions remain about how much his LPOTL co-hosts knew about his issues with aggression and alcohol abuse. Brennan alleges that Kissel’s LPOTL co-hosts were well aware of his issues with substance abuse, categorizing their attitude toward him as one of “willful blindness.” “It was an open secret and kind of a joke,” she says. Benincasa says “there’s absolutely no way” that Zebrowski and Parks were unaware of Kissel’s drinking. “We all [knew]. It was happening in front of us all the time,” she adds.

Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel, and Henry Zebrowski (from left) at the 21st Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani Wall Street in 2017.

Krista Kennell/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

A source close to the Last Podcast network disputes this characterization, saying: “No one adopted a willful blindness to Ben’s drinking, nor was it denied or hidden —  it was openly spoken about on the podcast. Ben never showed up to work intoxicated and he never missed a live show while on tour.” 

Text messages shared with Rolling Stone between Brennan and Jean, the host of the Last Podcast network podcast SPUN and wife of LPOTL cohost Henry Zebrowski, appear to indicate that, at the very least, his alcohol abuse and alleged belligerent behavior had been a topic of discussion for some time. 

In the texts, dated from Sept. 15, 2023, Jean says Zabroski has “been a victim of Ben’s selfishness for a long time now,” framing his stint in rehab as “a move that was being discussed for a long time and are giving him an ultimatum to fix this or he’s out.” 

In additional text messages shared with Rolling Stone dated Sept. 16, Jean also recounts witnessing the aftermath of the alleged incident in Las Vegas, saying that while she did not know Kissel had been allegedly physically abusive, “what he did was sick and I stopped considering him my friend after that night.” 

According to Brennan, Jean terminated Brennan’s relationship with SPUN and the Last Podcast Network by text after learning that Brennan had made a supportive comment on Moon’s livestream, saying she was “extremely uncomfortable to have you on my show while you’re interacting with strangers” about the allegations against Kissel. The text exchange with Jean prompted Brennan to post a video on Instagram supporting Moon and stating she would be parting ways with SPUN

Brennan tells Rolling Stone she was “blindsided” by Jean’s response, and is coming forward because, she says, “I have nothing left to lose.” She found it particularly galling in light of Jean’s podcast’s focus on victims’ rights. “I feel like they’re ill-equipped to handle the subjects that they do,” she says of the Last Podcast network. “Saying that you support the victim of the person that you elevated, and then being silent behind the scene — [I] don’t know. It just bothers me.” 

Through a representative for the Last Podcast Network, Jean did not respond to any of Rolling Stone’s questions about the contents of her texts. But in a Sept. 22 video on SPUN’s Instagram, she denied firing Brennan due to her support for Moon, saying, “I as a human being would never in a million years, ever, suppress or hide or silence or threaten or menace somebody from telling their story, ever.” 

Jean also urged her audience not to harass Moon, saying, “I believe Taylor. I hurt with Taylor.”

Although Jean may not have been aware of allegations of physical abuse against Kissel, Rolling Stone has found that whispers of misconduct were well-known on the comedy scene for almost a decade prior to Moon coming forward. 

Three people close to the Creek and the Cave, the club where LPOTL got its start, allege that Rebecca Trent, the owner of the club — which currently only operates a location in Austin, Texas — specifically warned them about Kissel’s behavior toward women on two separate occasions in 2014 and 2015. 

In 2015, according to a source close to the Creek and the Cave, Trent became aware of a specific allegation that Kissel had been “forceful” with a female comic. (The comic in question did not respond to a request for comment.) “[She] confided in me that, ‘Fuck, this show is blowing up, [and] I might have to kick him out,” the source says. 

A source close to the Last Podcast Network says that Zebrowski and Parks were “never made aware” of this allegation, and that Trent had never discussed it with them. In response to a request for comment, Trent told Rolling Stone via email, “I have not thought about or seen Ben Kissel since before 2016. I think I speak for most of us when I say we thought he would have died in a fire by now. Life is full of disappointments.”

IN ADDITION TO RAISING QUESTIONS about how much the Last Podcast network knew about Kissel’s alleged behavior prior to Moon coming forward, the allegations have also prompted discussion as to whether the true-crime podcast community in general, including both fans and creators, is as supportive of victims as they claim.  

Though the true-crime community has been accused of exploiting victims, defenders say the genre provides a service by telling survivors’ stories and raising awareness of violence against women in particular. The shaming of Moon within the LPOTL fan base, combined with what some fans perceive as the podcast’s failure to quickly respond to her allegations, appears to contradict that. 

“If people want to advocate and tell victims and survivors’ stories, they have the right to do so,” says Celene Beth Olsen, a true-crime documentarian and former podcaster. Olsen came forward in a July 2022 Instagram post with her own allegations that Kissel had behaved inappropriately by accompanying her uninvited and “block[ing]” her in the bathroom of her hotel room at the Watergate in November 2019, at the Death Becomes Us festival. (A person close to the situation denies this.) “But there really is a code of ethics that comes into play.”

In response to specific questions about LPOTL’s fan base, and its reaction to the allegations against Kissel, the Last Podcast network denied that its community is “toxic”: “With over a billion listens in 12 years, it would be impossible to have a fan base that is completely pure, especially considering the inherent vitriolic nature of social media itself,” the statement says. “We do not take abuse, harassment, or any other kind of bad behavior lightly and we address these issues when they come to our attention.”

But the ongoing fan harassment “makes me scared,” says Moon, who says that it is still happening on her social channels. “It makes me wonder: Why are they listening to this horribly gory show? Do they like to hear for the justice of the victims? Or because they want to hear a woman get ripped apart to shreds?” 

Sara Benincasa is also terrified of harassment from fans as a result of coming forward. Her life has changed exponentially since the end of her relationship with Kissel: She long ago moved out of New York City, and has been sober for about five years. Recently, after years of experiencing nightmares, panic attacks, and a fear of the dark, she was diagnosed with PTSD, which she attributes largely to the alleged incident with Kissel. (This diagnosis was confirmed to Rolling Stone by Benincasa’s psychiatrist.) 

When Benincasa first heard about the allegations against Kissel, she was reluctant to speak out. What prompted her to do so, she says, was the thought that the Last Podcast team or Kissel would try to “spin” Moon’s allegations against him as an aberration, or as a relatively recent development. “My experience, which I had really hoped was isolated and had blamed on myself for many, many years, clearly was not an isolated incident,” she says. 

As someone who has been through a 12-step program herself, she has sympathy for what Kissel is likely going through right now. But that sympathy is intermingled with fury, and heartbreak, and perhaps above all else, disappointment. “I wanted this person to get better,” she says. “[I] have to acknowledge that I had hopes and dreams for this person who hurt me. And they didn’t come to fruition. Because my biggest hope for Ben would have been that he dealt with some of the things that hurt him.” 

The fact that he didn’t, she says, and allegedly went on to mistreat other women, made Sara “very angry,” she says. “And very sad.” 

Ben Kissel’s statement:

“Through weeks of intense therapy at an in-patient facility I have realized that I use alcohol as a way to try to cope with childhood trauma. In addition, I tend to gravitate towards relationships with other trauma survivors, which, of course, can make for a toxic combination. I had a long-distance relationship with Taylor [Moon] over the course of about 15 months. We never lived together. Our connection mostly consisted of text messages and phone calls followed by brief in-person visits, all of which were marred by frequent arguments instigated by Taylor which is why I ultimately chose to end the relationship on July 22nd. While the unhealthy nature of our relationship took a toll on my mental wellbeing, I want to make it clear that I have never been physically or verbally abusive with Taylor or any other woman in my life. Thank you all so much for your support during this turbulent time as I focus on and prioritize my mental health. As fans who have listened to me over the years know, I encourage everyone to spread love even in the midst of adversity.