Chris D’Elia has responded to allegations that he sexually harassed and groomed young women. In a statement to TMZ, the actor denied the allegations while acknowledging that he sometimes pushes boundaries in his comedy.
“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. 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,” the 40-year-old comedian said.
He added that having said that, he apologized for getting caught up in his own lifestyle. He said that he was sorry, and had been reflecting on this for some time. He promised to try to be better moving forward.
Simoné Rossi was the first woman to come forward with allegations against D’Elia. She wrote that she couldn’t believe Netflix had decided to cast D’Elia as a pedophile in the second season of You. Then, she shared a number of screenshots that showed emails she had exchanged with the comedian during 2014 and 2015, according to Us Weekly.
“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 on Twitter.
She continued, saying that she felt embarrassed for a long time for interacting with D’Elia. Eventually, Rossi wrote that she realized D’Elia was abusing the power imbalance between them.
Following Rossi’s post, D’Elia’s name began to trend on Twitter, and a number of other women came forward with allegations against him. Many of the women anonymously submitted their stories to an account called @SheRatesDogs, which allows women to call out men’s inappropriate behavior anonymously. The account has more than 550,000 followers.
One of the allegations alleged that D’Elia had exposed himself to the woman who was sent to fix his air conditioning in a hotel room in Cleveland in 2018. The allegation also suggested D’Elia tried to get the woman to return to his room later.
Another Twitter user claimed that D’Elia had tried to have sex with her friend, and when she called him out for it on social media, he threatened to ruin her life if she didn’t take the post down. She also said that one of the comedian’s friends had told her never to send him nudes because he turns them into memes and shows them to other comics.