Penn Badgley Clarifies Comments About Fans ‘Molesting’ Him

The 'Gossip Girls' star says that he was not sexually assaulted.

Elizabeth Lail (L) and Penn Badgley from 'YOU' appear on stage at The Paley Center for Media's 2018 PaleyFest Fall TV Previews
David Livingston / Getty Images

The 'Gossip Girls' star says that he was not sexually assaulted.

Penn Badgley wants to clarify some comments he made this weekend about his interaction with fans and being “molested.” He wants people to know that there is a difference between what he meant by “molested” at the time that Gossip Girl was still on and truly being sexually assaulted.

Page Six says that Badgley is now backing away from his word choice to let the public know that he was not sexually assaulted, but rather accosted by overzealous fans in public.

When talking about being easily recognized in public, Badgley said he has “literally been molested.”

“I think as an actor you can become an object of desire, which is something women are already accustomed to more or less around the world — I’ve definitely been, I mean, I don’t want to sound sensationalist, but I’ve literally been molested — just in the literal sense of the word — by many people in the moment.”

The actor is now explaining that he felt violated when people touched him in public, but that he was never actually attacked.

“The point of my comment was not to confess a personal trauma. I was speaking about the way emotional and physical boundaries are violated for someone in the public eye, who is seen as an object of desire.”

Badgley was in no way trying to diminish the suffering of those who have been sexually assaulted or raped, and the point he was trying to make was about treating others respectfully, says People Magazine.

“Depending on so many factors, it can range from conscious abuse to something very unconscious — and that is the point I was making, cautiously, in the context of a conversation about fanaticism and cultural norms which support manipulative or abusive behavior. These are the same norms which support predatory men, but not exclusively predatory men. They affect, and infect, us all.”

The topic of invading someone’s space came up because of Badgley’s new Lifetime drama, You, in which he plays a stalker named Joe Goldberg.

According to the Inquisitr, Penn Badgley was attempting to explain that, especially after starring on a show like Gossip Girl, the line between television and reality often gets blurred, and fans would approach him as if he was his character, Dan Humprey. The actor explained that men are always supposed to be flattered by physical attention, but sometimes it feels wrong and every person has a right to personal space.

Badgley says that in playing Joe, he has learned all about blurred lines to the extreme, and it’s made him think about boundaries in general.