Updated on June 17, 2020, 5 p.m. ET:
Chris D’Elia has now responded to the accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct seen on Twitter this week. The comedian gave the following statement to TMZ, claiming he had no prior relationship with the women making these allegations and that he had never knowingly pursued anyone underage.
“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.”
D’Elia’s agent and manager have not replied to SheKnows’ request for comment.
Actor and comedian Chris D’Elia may be best known to you from his role in Season 2 of Netflix’s You, in which he plays comedian Henderson. On the show, Henderson is discovered to be a sexual predator who goes out of his way to befriend young teens, then drugs them and takes naked photos. In a twist we certainly hope the producers of this show did not see coming, D’Elia is facing a similar real-life reckoning of his own. Women who allege that D’Elia approached them and tried to strike up a sexual relationship while they were underage are coming forward with their stories, including some truly sickening screenshots of old messages.
Simone Rossi was among the first to speak out on Twitter, sharing her own story of the relationship between herself and D’Elia at age 16. “Imagine being 16 and being groomed by a stand up comedian twice [your] age and the only reason you never met up and never got physically m*lested was because [you] had just gotten a boyfriend [your] own age,” Rossi writes.
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 so f*ck chris d’elia
— simoné (@girlpowertbh) June 16, 2020
Alongside her message, she’s shared screenshots of emails between herself and D’Elia: “Let’s hang :-),” the comedian writes. Rossi goes on to explain that it’s only recently she’s realized how predatory his behavior towards her was.
“For the longest time I thought it was embarrassing for ME that I was interacting with this older man,” she wrote. “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.’
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.
— goblin (@michaelacoletta) June 17, 2020
I believe you. I was 17 when he dm’d me on Twitter back in 2013. Asked for pics too and was texting me off of a free text app. Crazy seeing all the same stories from others.
— Danielle (@daniellesandler) June 17, 2020
To say the stories came rolling in after Rossi’s vulnerable re-telling would be an understatement. Many reiterate that they’ve been telling this story for years without gaining traction, and others echo that it was only later they realized just how off the power dynamic had been.
Alright y’all, I went back to my 2011 Facebook messenger and found the DMs from Chris D’Elia being creepy and persistent to me when I was 17 (more in thread) pic.twitter.com/mGr0IikcJT
— Abby Grills (@AGrillz) June 17, 2020
There’s the 17-year-old girl, Abby, who he harassed repeatedly for her phone number: “I lost your #,” he writes. Then, a week later: “Gimme yer # again!” Abby asks him why he’s so insistent.
“Because I like you. Duh. And plus, you know you kinda like it,” he writes back.
Another woman shared similar screenshots of D’Elia badgering her for her phone number.
— gio (@igog_1) June 17, 2020
These women further allege that D’Elia requested naked pictures from them (or their friends), with a few adding that he used those photos as blackmail if they tried to back out of meeting up or went public about their relationship. Others allege D’Elia would switch on a dime, turning nasty as soon as they made it clear they wouldn’t be coming up to his hotel room for sex.
fuck you @chrisdelia. you solicited nudes from minors while u were in vancouver and tried to fuck my friend when we were 16, and when i called u out on twitter you told her you’d ruin her life if i didn’t delete it. absolute pedophile scumbag
— meg (@badhandjob) June 17, 2020
Two different girls pic.twitter.com/Q01Rbgjs8p
— SheRatesDogs (@SheRatesDogs) June 17, 2020
SheKnows has reached out to D’Elia’s representatives for comment; meanwhile, more Twitter detectives claim that D’Elia has been taking down old tweets and making social media profiles private in an attempt to shield himself from the coming scrutiny.
With this many women telling similar stories about D’Elia’s alleged actions, we hope they’ll be treated with the gravity they deserve. If D’Elia is routinely messaging 16-year-old girls on social media, there needs to be more than D’Elia being “cancelled” — there needs to be a serious reckoning of how exactly this was allowed to go on, and how many others willingly turned a blind eye.