Bishop Sycamore football controversy: Remaining opponents cancel games as team's season appears to be over

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CBS Sports 02 September, 2021 - 10:09am 39 views

What is the bishop Sycamore scandal?

False claims made Bishop Sycamore's 18-page filing from the 2020-2021 academic year claimed it was an "innovative, academically accredited school" that it rented space inside Phillips Hall on Franklin University's campus in Columbus. dispatch.comShould the rules for certain Ohio private schools change in the wake of Bishop Sycamore?

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At least two Bishop Sycamore football players appeared to have been recruited by major college football programs as questions swirl over the legitimacy of the Ohio school.

24/7 Sports’ college football recruiting website showed at least two players from the school being recruited by big programs who play in the Football Bowl Subdivision – wide receivers Armond Scott and Jeremy Naborne.

Naborne has been highly recruited, according to 24/7 Sports. He reportedly received offers from Tennessee and TCU.

Naborne was listed on the roster provided to the media for its game against Archbishop Hoban earlier in August. Scott was not.

The high-level recruiting appeared to push back on the notion the school was "fake." Andre Peterson, the director and founder of Bishop Sycamore, said flatly to USA Today on Monday the school was not a "scam."

"There’s nothing that I’ve gotten out of this that would constitute it as a scam because I’m not gaining anything financially from what we’re doing. The reality of it is that I have a son (Javan) that’s also in the program and has been in the program for four years," he said.

"If it’s a scam and the kids are not going to school and not doing what they’re supposed to do, then I’m literally scamming myself. And most importantly, I’m hurting my own son. So when people say stuff like that … I would literally be taking my son’s future and throwing it in the trash."

As of Thursday, the school didn’t appear to have a working website but the football team was advertising a site to sell merchandise.

"We have to make sure that website also includes the academic part of it. There’s things that you learn," Peterson told USA Today. "There’s growing pains that you have. We realized that’s an issue. The reality of it is we’ve caused some of the questions by not doing some of the things that should have been done before. So that’s understandable. I totally get that. We have to make it an actual school website."

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called for the state’s Department of Education to investigate the school.

"Like many Ohioans, I am concerned by the recent reports and questions raised about Bishop Sycamore. While this weekend’s football game brought concerns about the health and safety of players, it also raised red flags about the school’s operations," DeWine said in a statement Tuesday. "Schools like Bishop Sycamore have an obligation under Ohio law to meet certain minimum standards. Whether Bishop Sycamore meets these standards is not clear. I have asked the Ohio Department of Education to conduct an investigation into Bishop Sycamore to ensure compliance with Ohio law and to ensure the school is providing the educational opportunities Ohio students deserve."

Bishop Sycamore has had each of its remaining opponents drop out amid the fallout from the IMG Academy game that appeared on ESPN. According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Bishop Sycamore’s first game against Archbishop Hoban didn’t count because Bishop Sycamore was not affiliated with the Ohio High School Athletic Association and was listed as an online-only charter school.

Ryan Gaydos is the Sports Editor for Fox News and Fox Business. Follow Ryan Gaydos on Twitter @Gaydos_ and if you got a tip you can email Ryan at Ryan.Gaydos@fox.com

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

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Police: Bishop Sycamore team is embroiled in bad check investigation

USA TODAY 02 September, 2021 - 02:30pm

As high school football season begins across the country, play among elite high school programs has begun with a focus on the bizarre circumstances of Bishop Sycamore, a mysterious program whose major red flags concerning its legitimacy came to light following a 58-0 blowout loss to IMG Academy of Florida in a nationally televised game on Sunday. And to add to those red flags, the checks the team has allegedly filed are now bouncing.

According to a report by Lori Steineck of The (Canton, Ohio) Repository, a Canton, Ohio hotel has accused Bishop Sycamore of writing two bad checks worth $3,596. The team stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Canton South last Friday and Saturday, renting 25 rooms while also incurring cleaning fees of $250 apiece for three rooms.

While no one has been charged, authorities have listed two suspects, with their investigation concerning the practice of "passing bad checks" or forgery. The alleged checks were written on an account listed to Education Resources Group of New York.

The circumstances of Bishop Sycamore offer a look into the underbelly of the football recruiting industry, as suspicions have been raised that the program is not all that it seems. While Bishop Sycamore had earned a place on ESPN through claims that its football program boasted Division I-level talent, it was revealed on their game's broadcast by commentator Anish Shroff that the network could not verify the school's claims. While presenting themselves as an online charter school based in Columbus, Ohio, the school's bare-bones website -- which has since been taken down -- did not list an address or staff.

While school founder Andre Peterson -- a former player for Youngstown State -- has denied allegations that the program is a scam, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has ordered the state's Department of Education to conduct an investigation into Bishop Sycamore.

"While this weekend's football game brought concerns about the health and safety of players, it also raised red flags about the school's operations," read a Twitter thread by DeWine's staff. "Schools like Bishop Sycamore have an obligation under Ohio law to meet certain minimum standards. Whether Bishop Sycamore meets these standards is not clear."

The ongoing situation with Bishop Sycamore highlights the issue of recruiting scams in high school sports and college athletics. Tips to avoid such scams are offered by the Better Business Bureau and other resources.

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Bishop Sycamore asked for 'compensation' for coach appearing on radio show, Dan Patrick says

Fox News 02 September, 2021 - 02:30pm

As high school football season begins across the country, play among elite high school programs has begun with a focus on the bizarre circumstances of Bishop Sycamore, a mysterious program whose major red flags concerning its legitimacy came to light following a 58-0 blowout loss to IMG Academy of Florida in a nationally televised game on Sunday. And to add to those red flags, the checks the team has allegedly filed are now bouncing.

According to a report by Lori Steineck of The (Canton, Ohio) Repository, a Canton, Ohio hotel has accused Bishop Sycamore of writing two bad checks worth $3,596. The team stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Canton South last Friday and Saturday, renting 25 rooms while also incurring cleaning fees of $250 apiece for three rooms.

While no one has been charged, authorities have listed two suspects, with their investigation concerning the practice of "passing bad checks" or forgery. The alleged checks were written on an account listed to Education Resources Group of New York.

The circumstances of Bishop Sycamore offer a look into the underbelly of the football recruiting industry, as suspicions have been raised that the program is not all that it seems. While Bishop Sycamore had earned a place on ESPN through claims that its football program boasted Division I-level talent, it was revealed on their game's broadcast by commentator Anish Shroff that the network could not verify the school's claims. While presenting themselves as an online charter school based in Columbus, Ohio, the school's bare-bones website -- which has since been taken down -- did not list an address or staff.

While school founder Andre Peterson -- a former player for Youngstown State -- has denied allegations that the program is a scam, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has ordered the state's Department of Education to conduct an investigation into Bishop Sycamore.

"While this weekend's football game brought concerns about the health and safety of players, it also raised red flags about the school's operations," read a Twitter thread by DeWine's staff. "Schools like Bishop Sycamore have an obligation under Ohio law to meet certain minimum standards. Whether Bishop Sycamore meets these standards is not clear."

The ongoing situation with Bishop Sycamore highlights the issue of recruiting scams in high school sports and college athletics. Tips to avoid such scams are offered by the Better Business Bureau and other resources.

© 2004-2021 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

CBS Sports is a registered trademark of CBS Broadcasting Inc. Commissioner.com is a registered trademark of CBS Interactive Inc.

Images by Getty Images and US Presswire

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Bishop Sycamore High School Ohio Football Program In Question By Governor

NPR 02 September, 2021 - 02:30pm

Days after a blowout loss on national television, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has launched an investigation into the high school football program at Bishop Sycamore and the school's legitimacy.

In a statement released by the governor's office, DeWine said the state Department of Education would investigate further into Bishop Sycamore regarding recent allegations against the charter school.

"Like many Ohioans, I am concerned by the recent reports and questions raised about Bishop Sycamore. While this weekend's football game brought concerns about the health and safety of players, it also raised red flags about the school's operations," DeWine said.

DeWine said schools like Bishop Sycamore "have an obligation under Ohio law to meet certain minimum standards," but whether Bishop Sycamore meets those standards is not entirely clear.

Bishop Sycamore High School, the supposed school in Columbus, Ohio, is not recognized by the Ohio High School Athletic Association and the Department of Education lists no charter school with its name, according to local TV station WCMH.

The school's official website, as of Wednesday, has been taken down for "site maintenance."

In an official filing to the Ohio Department of Education, Bishop Sycamore school officials say the school is "one of the best academic institutions in the country," according to The Columbus Dispatch.

However, concerns were raised after the school played against national football powerhouse IMG Academy in a prep football game this past Sunday on ESPN.

Both ESPN and Paragon, the marketing group that helps schedule and deliver high school matchups to the sports network, said they were unaware of the school playing on TV and "didn't have the number of highly recruited prospects" it said to have prior to the game scheduled.

"We regret that this happened and have discussed it with Paragon, which secured the matchup and handles the majority of our high school event scheduling," ESPN said in a news statement Tuesday. "They have ensured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward."

As of Wednesday, MaxPreps, an online website covering high school sports, had Bishop Sycamore scheduled to play several high school prep powerhouses this year, including St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, St. Thomas More in Connecticut and St. Edward in Lakewood, Ohio.

According to ESPN, Bishop Sycamore played six games last season, with a season record of 0-6.

Before Bishop Sycamore, there was Christians of Faith Academy, along with lawsuits and unanswered questions

USA TODAY 02 September, 2021 - 02:30pm

Bishop Sycamore is facing scrutiny after its ugly loss in a nationally televised football game, but this is not new to many of the people involved.

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SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports' Chris Bumbaca takes a closer look at Bishop Sycamore and what led the mysterious prep football team to play on ESPN. USA TODAY

The craziest part of the Bishop Sycamore story isn't that a possibly fictitious school sprouted up in Columbus, Ohio, and started scheduling football games against a string of powerhouse programs around the country.

It's that this had already been done before – and by many of the same people.

Just three years ago, a school called Christians of Faith (COF) Academy was created in Columbus under dubious circumstances, with a football team serving as its lone public face. The school did not appear to have a legitimate physical address. It's unclear what schooling actually took place. And it was run by a similar cast of characters who have been involved with Bishop Sycamore – including Roy Johnson, who went on to become the head football coach at the current school before he was fired earlier this week.

"It is using the exact same methods, the exact same schemes with the exact same people," said Ben Ferree, who investigated COF Academy during his previous job as the assistant director of officiating and sport management at the Ohio High School Athletic Association. 

"In some of Bishop Sycamore's early games in 2019, the first season that they played, they wore COF Academy's uniforms. So yeah, it is the exact same scam. They simply changed the name."

Bishop Sycamore is facing scrutiny this week after its nationally televised football game against IMG Academy on Sunday. Bishop Sycamore's 58-0 loss, which was later revealed to be its second game in three days, left ESPN's commentators questioning if they'd been deceived by the school and expressing concern for the safety of its players.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has since pledged an investigation into Bishop Sycamore, to ensure it is meeting minimum educational requirements and complying with state law.

Yet as Bishop Sycamore has started to unravel on a national stage, its ties to COF Academy have been somewhat overlooked.

Years before Bishop Sycamore had the spotlight, the Ohio Department of Education shut down COF Academy after making an unannounced visit to its listed address and finding that it "was not open for instruction and had no pupils in attendance."

Of the eight listed members of Bishop Sycamore's "staff and advisory board," five were also listed as staff members at COF Academy, according to annual reports filed with the Ohio Department of Education.

Andre Peterson, who is Bishop Sycamore's founder and director, was not involved in running COF Academy, but his son played football for the school. He denies that Bishop Sycamore is anything other than a legitimate school. 

Meanwhile, COF Academy's leaders – Johnson and business partner Jay Richardson – have since faced a string of lawsuits alleging hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid loans and bills, according to court records obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

Richardson, who does not appear to be involved with Bishop Sycamore, did not respond to multiple messages from USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. Johnson replied to an emailed list of questions by claiming, "I spoke to USA TODAY already." He did not respond to a follow-up email.

Johnson initially described COF Academy to localmedia outlets as an online Christian school that was being bankrolled by the Richard Allen Group, which he said was the financial arm of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In a 2018 article published by ThisWeek Community News, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, Johnson said COF Academy had hired about 50 teachers and would enroll about 500 students that fall. The school did not have a functioning website, clear academic infrastructure or school building at the time. And it listed its address as the headquarters of the AME Church Third District, though Johnson talked repeatedly of plans to build a large campus in Columbus, with construction funded by the church.

"This is a passion project," he told ThisWeek in August 2018. "For the AME church, this wasn’t a make-money project."

It didn't take long for it to fall apart.

In September 2018, ThisWeek reported that the AME Church Third District had posted a statement on its website denying any affiliation with COF Academy or the Richard Allen Group.

It turns out the Richard Allen Group, which Johnson had described as the church's financial arm, is actually an LLC formed in 2014 by Johnson and Richardson, a former NFL linebacker who played collegiately at Ohio State.

Several months later, in November 2018, First Merchants Bank filed a lawsuit against both the Richard Allen Group and its co-founders after they took out a $100,000 loan on behalf of the AME Church to fund the COF Academy, then failed to repay it.

According to records filed as part of the lawsuit, Johnson and Richardson represented themselves on loan application forms as the secretary and president of the AME Church, respectively.

Johnson later admitted in a deposition that proceeds from the loan were distributed to a bank account held by Mjolnir Development, a fictitious trade name registered by the Richard Allen Group. He also acknowledged that there is no legal document that identifies the group as the financial arm of the church, though he and Richardson both claimed that the two entities had a relationship, according to filings in the civil case.

Rev. Taylor Thompson, who is identified in the filings as the AME Church's treasurer, said in a deposition that the church never saw any of the money. 

"We have no affiliation with (the Richard Allen Group) on a legal, contractual or even an agreement basis," Arthur Harmon, an attorney for the church, added Wednesday. "All the things they did should have no reflection on the AME Church Third District."

A judge granted the bank's motion for summary judgment in the case last week, ruling that Johnson and Richardson had engaged in "fraudulent misrepresentation," in part because they did not have attorneys and failed to respond to the bank's claims.

A hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 18 to determine how much money Johnson and Richardson will now owe, including interest and legal fees.

That lawsuit is one of at least three involving Johnson, Richardson and/or the Richard Allen Group that alleges an unpaid loan or bill during the COF Academy's brief existence.

In a second lawsuit, filed in August 2018, Heartland Bank sued the Richard Allen Group after it took out a loan of roughly $92,000 to purchase a 2017 Range Rover and failed to pay back the money. The group admitted to the allegation, and the car was seized and resold a few months later. It is unclear how much money Johnson and Richardson still owe the bank, if any.

The third lawsuit, filed in May 2019, alleged that Johnson and COF Academy had an outstanding balance of $110,685 at a Baymont Inn & Suites, where they rented rooms for three months. The lawsuit was dropped after the hotel's lawyer struggled to serve Johnson with the complaint and failed to apprise the court of his efforts to do so.

The hotel's lawyer did not respond to an email from USA TODAY Sports inquiring whether the balance was ever repaid.

Records in all three lawsuits show the plaintiffs repeatedly struggled to locate or contact Johnson to notify him of the litigation, prolonging the various proceedings.

Separately, Johnson told ThisWeek in 2019 that he was the subject of a U.S. Secret Service investigation pertaining to COF Academy. He said he had been informed that the investigation was closed.

"Because we didn't do anything wrong," Johnson said at the time. "Specifically, myself, I didn't fraud the church. I didn't fraud these kids. I didn't fraud anybody like that. That's what the federal investigators were looking at, and that's what they found."

When asked about Johnson's claims, a spokesperson for the Secret Service – which is tasked with investigating potential financial crimes in addition to protecting the president – told USA TODAY Sports in an email Wednesday that it "does not confirm the existence or absence of a potentially ongoing investigation."

Peterson told USA TODAY Sports this week that his school is a new entity, separate from the COF Academy. 

"COF closed down, and then I started Bishop Sycamore in 2019," he said.

Corporate records in Ohio confirm that the "Bishop Sycamore Foundation" was registered as a nonprofit in August 2019. But Peterson had also started talking publicly about the new school before the proverbial dust had even settled on the old one.

"I liked the concept of what Roy was trying to do," Peterson told ThisWeek in early 2019. "Me and some of the other parents and some of the people that were involved decided to continue that."

Johnson told the outlet at the time that he helped Bishop Sycamore set up its website but "his attorneys have told him he 'can't really be involved' " with the new school.

In its early days, Bishop Sycamore tried to associate itself with a legitimate school in Columbus called YouthBuild. But YouthBuild backed out of a potential partnership before it was finalized, according to The Washington Post, and later sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bishop Sycamore when the school continued to publicly tout a relationship with YouthBuild.

The website for YouthBuild Columbus now features a prominent disclaimer at the top of its home page: "YBCCS IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH BISHOP SYCAMORE."

Like COF Academy before it, Bishop Sycamore has been accused of fielding players who are older than 18 or have used up their allotted four years of eligibility. At least two schools cited these reasons when canceling games against Bishop Sycamore in 2019. Others declined to play them at all.

"When they were Christians of Faith, they wanted to play us, but we didn’t schedule them because of all the nuances and all the mystery behind the place," said Tom Lombardo, the football coach at St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) High School.

"We always knew that there was something that didn’t quite pass the eye and smell test, but none of what they said has turned out to be true."

Peterson denied claims that players on the current team are over age. He said some of them are juniors and seniors who have reclassified, the practice of staying back or jumping up a school year for the purpose of athletics. 

"It’s always been done, but just not on the scale to where people really cared or noticed," he said.

On multiple occasions in the course of a 45-minute interview this week, Peterson told USA TODAY Sports that Bishop Sycamore has existed for four years, only to later say it was actually founded in 2019.

He said he has poured "thousands of dollars" of his own money into the school, and denies that it is a scam.

"If this is a fraud, then I’m the dumbest fraudster ever," he said. "I put money in this. I don’t get money out of it and it was never designed to do that for me. It was always designed to be able to try to help these kids."

Few details exist about Bishop Sycamore, either in the most recent annual report it filed with the state of Ohio or its website, in which the "About Us" and "Staff" sections were blank before the entire site was taken down.

Peterson said tuition at the school costs $2,000 and that the plan prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was to use a "blended learning" environment, where schooling predominantly takes place online as "one of the ways to streamline the cost of what we do." He said there are no full-time teachers, but coaches and other adults hang around the students to make sure work gets done.

He also said the student body consists of between 75 and 80 students, about 95% of whom play sports. In its most recent annual report filed with the state, for the 2020-21 academic year, Bishop Sycamore reported a total enrollment of three.

It has until Sept. 30 to file its annual report for 2021-22.

"They are doing the same thing that they did (at) COF," former COF Academy player Ar'mon Mackey wrote in a Twitter direct message to USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday.

"They lied to me and screwed me over. When I (saw) the Bishop Sycamore stuff, I was telling players that it’s not legit, but they didn’t listen to me."

The future of Bishop Sycamore – and its one-time head coach – is now unclear.

Johnson has an active warrant out for his arrest stemming from a 2020 domestic violence incident, Delaware County (Ohio) Sherriff's Office director of public relations Tracy Whited confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. According to court records, Johnson's girlfriend told police that he pushed her and hit her in the lip. Johnson denied touching her but spent three days in jail.

USA TODAY Sports does not name victims of domestic assault without their permission.

Johnson later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, criminal mischief, and was placed on probation. A warrant was issued for his arrest on July 2 after he failed to meet some of the conditions of his probation, according to court records.

As for Bishop Sycamore, at least four schools had pulled out of their scheduled games against the school as of Tuesday evening, some citing concerns over liability or safety. And the department of education investigation that Gov. DeWine announced Tuesday is likely to uncover more details about the nature of Bishop Sycamore's educational offerings. 

The Canton Police Department also said Wednesday it had received a report of two invalid checks totaling $3,596 at a hotel where the team rented 25 rooms last week. It has identified two suspects in the case, according to The Canton Repository.

"You hear their story, you go, ‘OK, all right, it sounds like you want to do good,' " said Ray Holtzclaw, whose son, Judah, briefly played for Bishop Sycamore. "Then the example they set for the kids is, ‘OK, we’re not going to pay our bill. We’re just going to walk away and get somewhere else.’ You can’t keep doing that with kids that are watching you."

Holtzclaw said he was left on the hook for a four-figure hotel bill earlier this year, which Bishop Sycamore promised to reimburse and never did.

Meanwhile, in March, a new lawsuit hit the docket in Franklin County, filed against Johnson and Peterson. A transportation company alleges the two men hired buses from the past year on behalf of a charity called "ISE Foundation," which does not exist as a legal entity in Ohio.

The company, Cardinal Transportation, claims Johnson and Peterson now owe it roughly $13,000. The bill, at least according to court records, has yet to be paid.

© 2021 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.

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Ex-ESPN chief doesn't fault company over Bishop Sycamore saga: 'You can't know everything'

Fox News 02 September, 2021 - 02:30pm

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

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Former ESPN president John Skipper said Wednesday he didn’t exactly fault his former company for being duped into allowing Bishop Sycamore to be featured on its network.

Skipper, now the head of Meadowlark Media, told his flagship podcast "Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz" the certain high school showcase games could fall down the hierarchy at the company.

He compared the situation to the CEO of Walmart knowing what’s happening at a store in Arkansas.

"This is like expecting the Walmart CEO to know that some dog has s—t in aisle 13 of the Fayetteville, Ark., store. You can’t know everything," Skipper said.

ESPN used the sports marketing firm Paragon Marketing Group to schedule the game between Bishop Sycamore and IMG Academy for the GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff.

"We regret that this happened and have discussed it with Paragon, which secured the matchup and handles the majority of our high school event scheduling," ESPN said in a statement. "They have assured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward."

Rashid Ghazi, the president of Paragon, told Awful Announcing he wishes he would’ve done more research into Bishop Sycamore before the game and said the organization was unaware the team had also played on Friday night.

According to Awful Announcing, ESPN said it voiced its concerns about Bishop Sycamore when it couldn’t find any information about the school. Bishop Sycamore reportedly bailed on a conference call and provided a fact sheet before Sunday’s game claiming some of its players have been recruited by Division I schools – but none of them had been.

Since then, several schools have dropped out of games with Bishop Sycamore, the head football coach has been fired and the Ohio governor has called for a Department of Education investigation.

Ryan Gaydos is the Sports Editor for Fox News and Fox Business. Follow Ryan Gaydos on Twitter @Gaydos_ and if you got a tip you can email Ryan at Ryan.Gaydos@fox.com

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer smashes record; Tom Holland reacts

USA TODAY 02 September, 2021 - 09:11am

Doc Ock’s ominous greeting caps off the new trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which has broken the record for the most viewed movie trailer in 24 hours

The highly anticipated trailer caught many people in its web, racking up 355.5 million views across all online platforms on its first day. 

The previous record was 289 million views, set by Avengers: Endgame (2019).

Picking up where Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) left off, the trailer shows the aftermath of Spider-Man’s true identity being revealed. 

After Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland) and his loved ones become a target for negative attention from the police, the public and the media, he turns to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help.

Unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly, all does not go to plan.

Rather than making the world forget about Spider-Man’s secret identity, Doctor Strange’s spell might end up revealing more of them. 

The trailer contains strange hints at the multiverse being opened, meaning previous incarnations of Spidey, played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, could make an appearance.

It also teases past nemeses such as the Green Goblin, Sandman, and the Lizard. 

Alfred Molina reprises his iconic role as Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man 2, 2004) and Jamie Foxx is confirmed to return as Electro (The Amazing  Spider-Man 2, 2014).

Tom Holland reacted to the news of the record-breaking trailer on Instagram Stories, addressing his 46.5 million followers, "This is incredible. I honestly can't believe it. This movie is so crazy and I can't wait to share it with you." 

"The love and support you guys show for the film is so exciting. Honestly, that's just the tip of the iceberg. You have no idea what is to come. I'm so excited to share more with you guys, and it feels so good to be back with Spider-Man and showing you trailers, to be having films coming out. This is so exciting."

No Way Home‘s trailer garnered more than double the views of the second trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, which was watched 135 million times in 24 hours. Far From Home is the highest-grossing movie in Sony’s history, earning $1.131 billion.

They’ll be hoping to surpass that figure with No Way Home and break more records that belong to Avengers: Endgame including:

Spider-Man: No Way Home opens in theatres on December 17, 2021.

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