Joe Arden Controversy & Allegations Explained

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Joe Arden

Romance novel author, narrator, and producer Joe Arden has faced allegations of sexual misconduct, unethical business practices, and more, landing him at the center of a recent controversy.

Joe Arden's Recent Controversy Explained

Joe Arden recently became the focus of a Taligram post offering an "anonymous outlet for those that have had uncomfortable or inappropriate situations" with the audiobook narrator to speak up. While the post has since been deleted, its contents were recorded and shared by TikTok user @alexintheabstract.

TikTok creator @by_the_bookcase broke down the controversy surrounding Arden in a recent video, highlighting some of the allegations made on Tailgram.

The creator summarized the general gist of the allegations against Arden as including "unethical business practices and sexual misconduct:"

"There has emerged a consistent pattern of unethical business practices and sexual misconduct with fans, authors, and readers. The unethical business practices include trash-talking other production companies, narrators, and even authors that he's worked with, as well as contracts that are questionable or exploitative"

One of the allegations from Tailgram highlighted in the video appears to come from an agent, who stated Arden's production company, Blue Noise Audio, has authors "sign their rights away" as the business will be left owning the audiobook.

The poster alleged Arden and Blue Noise Audio "pays approx 20-30 percent to the author forever. After seven years you can only have him take down the audiobook. No option for the author to own it."

Another came from an author to whom he was "trash-talking other narrators and other books," along with production companies and publishers, to explain "how much better get is." 

This came before he offered a quote to have an audiobook produced that was "almost $10,000 more than what the industry standard and actual cost is."

Once again speaking with the same author, Arden allegedly pushed for the female author to go into "explicit detail" about the sexual content in her book, something she felt uncomfortable doing in person with a man.

In terms of Arden's conduct with fans, one noted having met him at a signing and private event before beginning an online conversation that led to sexual conversations and images being shared for several months. This was before the fan discovered the narrator was married and confronted him about it, after which he "doubled down and there was a heavy sexting conversation."

Certain accounts stated Arden set social media conversations to "Vanish Mode" which ensures messages are regularly deleted and alerts the other person if a screenshot of the chat has been taken.

Another explained how he would "play hot and cold, often abruptly ending conversations if [they] asked too many or the wrong question." They went on to call their interactions with Arden, "truly a master class in gaslighting."

Someone else from the same Tailgram explained how they "felt manipulated and guilt-tripped into sending photos" to Arden after meeting him, leading to hostile interactions that even caused "anxiety attacks."

@by_the_bookcase clarified they have also heard from "primary sources" of others having faced "similar experiences" with Arden in the past.

Joe Arden & Blue Noise Audio Respond to Controversy

Joe Arden microphone
Joe Arden

Joe Arden has taken to Instagram to "categorically deny these accusations" that have been leveled against him as of late:

"To the authors, readers, and listeners who have welcomed me into this audiobook community over the past decade:

I want to address the recent anonymous allegations that have been leveled against me.

While I'm not perfect, I categorically deny these accusations, and I'm working through the ramifications privately."

He added how he has "never engaged in non-consensual, coercive exchanges with anyone" before admitting he is a "flawed person:"

"I've never engaged in non-consensual, coercive exchanges with anyone.

To those who criticized aspects of my character, I am a flawed person, and am always trying to learn and grow.

I appreciate your grace as I continue to listen and work to improve.

I am incredibly grateful for the support I have received throughout my career."

The production company co-owned and run by Arden, Blue Noise Audio, issued a statement on the matter on Facebook, revealing the controversial figure has "stepped down as President of this female-led company:"

"Beloved Audio Book Community, 

We appreciate your patience as we have navigated management updates. Effective immediately, Joe Arden has stepped down as President of this female-led company."

Blue Noise Audio went on to defend its business practices when it comes to authors, explaining how they "work collaboratively" with them to "give them a voice in the creation of their books:"

"We at Blue Nose Audio work collaboratively with authors to give them a voice in the creation of their books. We offer authors a full range of options in structuring their audiobook contracts, from per finished hour models to royalty share options. To date, we have created happy, successful relationships with authors that have permitted Blue Nose Audio to grow solely by author referrals."

The statement concluded by sharing how the company is "terribly disappointed" by the "false and anonymous" allegations shared on social media that supposedly showcase a false image of Blue Noise Audio's "positive and artistically fulfilling relationships:"

"We are terribly disappointed by false and anonymous allegations recently posted on social media that paint an inaccurate picture of Blue Nose Audio's positive and artistically fulfilling relationships with our authors and narrators.

Blue Nose Audio remains dedicated to supporting this industry and its talented narrator and independent author communities."

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.