Josh Richards is holding himself accountable.
One week after Josh Richards and Jaden Hossler announced their sudden hiatus from Sway House, the viral star has penned an open letter to fans in Medium explaining his decision.
Throughout the op-ed, Josh weaves his favourite Spiderman quote, ‘with power comes responsibility.’ The 18-year-old recently had this quote tattooed on his wrist as an homage to his father and a personal reminder for why he moved to L.A. “I remembered the promise I had made to myself when I got the tattoo,” he writes. “What is written on my arm will be a part of my code of conduct forever.”
As the co-founder of TalentX Entertainment— a creator development company that represents Sway House along with other viral stars, Josh says he hoped to make a difference by ensuring creators were able to monetise their platforms to the fullest.
However, after months of reckless behaviour and negative press, Josh is apologising to fans for getting caught up in the fame and losing his way.
“I would like to apologize to everyone: my supporters, my Sway House family, my team, and my community,” he says. “I let the fame get to me; I allowed the LA partying lifestyle to consume me; and I lost my way for a bit.”
“I forgot why I was here.”
Though he doesn’t overtly admit that partying was the reason he and Jaden have chosen to take a step back from Sway, the hiatus was announced just days after the collective was caught up in drug-related charges while on a road trip in Texas. Jaden and fellow Sway House member Bryce Hall were arrested for possession. Fan theories suggest that Bryce took the fall for Josh, who is Canadian and would thus be deported if he were arrested.
Josh explains that he has always aimed to use his platform for good. Since January, he’s publicly shown his support for multiple causes including climate change and COVID-19. He has also donated 100% of the proceeds from his merch hoodies to NAACP and has made a personal donation to a fan’s charity of choice.
“But all the good I’ve done feels tarnished to me because of my recklessness,” he writes.
In an effort to right his wrongs, Josh said he needed to leave Sway and focus on being a better role model. To start, the viral star will be launching a podcast with Jaden “that explores why people think the way they think and how we can help people understand each other’s opinions and differences.” The podcast will include guest interviews from all industries and walks of life.
Despite a rocky start to the year, Josh is ready to hold himself accountable and move forward.
“I failed you. I own that,” he finishes. “However, I make this promise to you all: I am back up.”
And we can’t wait to follow Josh’s new journey.