Comedian Chris D’Elia has had what we in the entertainment industry call “a difficult week.” Known for his Netflix specials and TV appearances, he’s slated to appear in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Army of the Dead and up until this week his career was on an upwards trajectory. Not any more, though. The past few days have seen an avalanche of accusations of sexual misconduct hit Twitter, including allegations that he was inappropriately grooming teenage girls online.
One girl, Simone Rossi, posted the following:
“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 (molested) was because u had just gotten a boyfriend ur own age. for the longest time i thought this was just a funny story to tell at parties when i realized what happened isn’t normal and that he was and could still be doing this to younger girls and it’s my job to say something”
Responses to this included reports of D’Elia soliciting nude photos from minors in Vancouver, asking teenagers to visit him backstage at his shows, trying to have sex with a 16-year-old and threatening to ruin people’s lives if they went public. The comedian went quiet on social media after the storm hit, but has now issued a statement denying any impropriety and owning up to being “a dumb guy”:
“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. 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. I own it. I’ve been reflecting on this for some time now and I promise I will continue to do better.”
I very much doubt this is going to put a stop to this controversy, especially as this apology has holes big enough to drive a semi-truck through. Saying you have “never knowingly pursued any underage women” isn’t a denial, and anyway, what kind of weird phrasing is “underage women”? Does he mean girls? In addition, saying you have never “exchanged” inappropriate photos doesn’t mean you didn’t request and/or receive any, just that you didn’t send any back.
As a result of this, people are calling for Netflix to take down Chris D’Elia specials and cancel any upcoming projects with him. Perhaps they may also consider his arc on the show You, in which he played a man who uh, stalks a 15-year-old girl. Awkward.
The network has yet to officially respond, but I doubt this story is going to be over anytime soon.