- Dozens of women on Twitter accused comedian Chris D’Elia of preying on them when they were minors, with some including screenshots of their interactions.
- Some women said D’Elia repeatedly DM’d them, tried to initiate sexual contact or conversations with them, or tried to solicit nudes from them, all while knowing they were 16 or 17.
- D’Elia denied the accusations in an interview with TMZ. He claimed all of his relationships had been legal and consensual and that he never exchanged photos with these girls. He then apologized for ever getting “caught up” in his lifestyle.
- This started a larger conversation about what needs to be done in comedy and television to prevent men who behave inappropriately form climbing to the top or using their fame to harm women.
Allegations Pour In Against Chris D’Elia
Comedian Chris D’Elia has been accused of sexually harassing and messaging underage girls by multiple women online.
The comedian and sitcom star became a trending topic on Tuesday evening when dozens of women detailed stories alleging that D’Elia messaged them online when they were teenagers and attempted to initiate sexual relationships or dialogue with them.
The chain reaction of accusations started when one woman, Simone Rossi, tweeted screenshots of her old interactions with him.
“Imagine being 16 and being groomed by a stand up comedian twice ur age and the only reason you never met up and never got physically m*lested was because u had just gotten a boyfriend ur own age,” she wrote.
She shared screenshots of e-mails the two allegedly exchanged when she was 16-years-old. In one, D’Elia suggests the two meet up and make out. In another, he asks her to send a photo.
“For the longest time i thought it was embarrassing for ME that i was interacting with this older man but he was the one who DM’d me on twitter and was the one who was twice my age and was the one that used the power imbalance between us to his advantage,” she added, also claiming that there were a ton of other underage girls with similar stories.
This prompted a flood of other women to share their experiences. Many said they were fans of his at the time or had attended one of his stand up shows when they began contact on social media. One person claimed D’Elia solicited nudes from minors while in Vancuver and tried to initiate sex with a 16-year-old.
“when i called u out on twitter you told her you’d ruin her life if i didn’t delete it. absolute pedophile scumbag,” they added.
Another shared direct messages between her and the standup that they allegedly exchanged when she was 17, and he was 30. When he learns that she is 17 he says she is “too young” but continues to message her, ask for her number, and tell her she is cute.
“Although i’ve been publicly saying it for years, FUCK Chris D’elia. he solicited nudes off of me when i was 17 years old and constantly messaged me whenever he was touring vancouver and asked me to come backstage to his shows,” another peson said, saying that D’Elia has a reputation for this.
Many also referenced the parallels between this behavior and D’Elia’s character on the second season of the Netflix show “You.” There, he plays a man who uses his fame to prey on and assault underage women.
As all these accusations were piling in online, the popular Twitter account She Rates Dogs, which shares women’s stories of their bad experiences with men, collected stories they were receiving about D’Elia. Their long thread included numerous allegations, including one from a girl who said he DM’d her when she was a senior in high school and asked for her number, telling her to keep the conversation private. That girl claimed he tried to hook up with her friend in his hotel room, but they left after they were made to feel uncomfortable.
Another story shared by She Rates Dogs came from someone who claimed D’Elia sexually assaulted their sister when she was 17 after giving her numerous drinks.
An old clip from D’Elia’s podcast “Congratulations” also began circulating around Twitter.
“You ever seen a fucking 14-year-old? She looks 30. I’ve never seen…there’s no such thing as a 14-year-old girl anymore. They go from like 6 to 25,” he says in the clip.
Responses to the Allegations
Some were surprised by the allegations, while others defended D’Elia against them. The screenshots and stories have not been verified or corroborated, and because of this, some dismissed the claims in them.
Still, other tweets from those in various comedy scenes suggested that some people may have known about at least some of his behavior. One person said when they were starting out in stand-up, one of D’Elia’s friends told her that he is known to make memes out of the nudes sent to him and then share them with his friends.
Others just seemed unsurprised by the claims.
D’Elia Denies Accusations
On Wednesday, D’Elia denied the accusations in an interview with TMZ.
“I know I have said and done things that might have offended people during my career, but I have never knowingly pursued any underage women at any point,” he told the tabloid.
“All of my relationships have been both legal and consensual and I have never met or exchanged any inappropriate photos with the people who have tweeted about me,” he continued.
“That being said, I really am truly sorry. I was a dumb guy who ABSOLUTELY let myself get caught up in my lifestyle. That’s MY fault,” D’Elia added. “I own it. I’ve been reflecting on this for some time now and I promise I will continue to do better.”
Predatory Behavior in Comedy
The accusations against D’Elia also opened a larger conversation about predatory behavior in comedy and television.
“Comedy is a treasure trove of the type of guy who gets any amount of social currency and then thinks, “how can I use this to prey on underage girls,” writer and podcaster Dana Schwartz tweeted.
She also shared an experience of her own. At one point, she worked with an established and older male screenwriter. He was married and twice her age, but tried to kiss her one day. After she rejected him, he cut off communication and dropped the project.
Stand-up comedian Meghan Gailey said comedy club owners should be doing more to stop comedians with known predatory behavior from getting booked.
Writer and stand-up comedian Ian Karmel applauded the women who spoke out against D’Elia and asked how the comedy community could become a safer place where women do not have to tell these stories.
Many suggested that men need to call out other men when they see something that looks suspect so they can stop inappropriate behavior in its tracks.
See what others are saying: (Vulture) (Newsweek) (The Independant)
Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.
Actress Pushed at Protest
After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights.
Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”
Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.
Sweetin Addresses Incident
Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over.
“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”
Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.
According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter.
“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.
Theater Named Announced
Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title.
The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”
Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”
Chappelle Defends Controversial Special
According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students.
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.
Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda.
“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said.
“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special.
According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Variety) (The Atlantic)
Chris Evans Says People Upset With Same-Gender “Lightyear” Kiss Are “Idiots”
The kiss was previously removed from the film until a surge of backlash from Pixar employees prompted Disney to reinstate it.
Chris Evans Supports “Lightyear” Scene
“Lightyear” star Chris Evans is standing against people who have criticized the same-gender kiss scene in the upcoming Pixar film.
“The real truth is those people are idiots,” the actor told Reuters this week when discussing negative reactions to the scene’s inclusion.
“The American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” he continued.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and more have banned the release of “Lightyear” over the kiss, which is between two women. Right-wing pundits in the U.S. have also slammed it, and user reviews for the picture on websites like IMDB have claimed that movie-going has “become an avenue for political propaganda.”
Evans argued those opinions are outdated.
“There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs,” he said. “I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”
“Lightyear” hits theaters on Friday starring Evans as the titular Buzz Lightyear. Evans, however, is not playing the action figure made famous in the “Toy Story” movies and is instead playing an animated human astronaut who inspired the toy.
Kiss Scene Almost Never Made it to Big Screen
According to outlets that have reviewed the film, the same-gender kiss is between Alisha Hawthorne, a character voiced by Uzo Aduba, and her wife.
Multiple reports have stated that Disney was always supportive of depicting a gay couple in the picture, but was more hesitant about showing an on-screen kiss between the two. The studio previously had the scene removed from the film until a swell of backlash prompted it to reinstate the kiss.
The decision came in March amid criticisms over Disney’s slow response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the time, a group of Pixar employees wrote an open letter claiming that they have pushed for more inclusion in their films, but “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest.”
Now that the scene made the final cut of “Lightyear,” it has been a large topic of conversation leading up to the film’s release. On Monday, Evans told Variety that the inclusion of the scene makes him “happy,” but he hopes one day, scenes like this will be considered standard.
“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” he said. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.”