Last week, comedian and actor Chris D’Elia denied accusations that he’d sexually harassed and groomed several young women when they were underage. His statement included a claim that he’d “never knowingly pursued any underage women,” although he stated that he was “truly sorry” for allowing himself to be “caught up in my lifestyle.” It’s not clear what exactly D’Elia was apologizing for, although he acknowledged that he’d offended people over the course of his career, and he has since been dropped by his agent and manager. Now, the lead actor of You — for which D’Elia portrayed a pedophile character in Season 2 — is speaking out about the allegations.
Penn Badgley, who’s very open about how troubled he is about his own stalker character’s popularity on the show, spoke with the LA Times and condemned the behavior that’s described in the allegations against D’Elia:
“Systemically, it needs to be addressed. Individually, it needs to be addressed. Am I the person to address all of those things? You know — it did affect me deeply. I was very troubled by it. I am very troubled by it. I don’t know Chris. I know that, if there’s anything we need to do in this age, it’s to believe women.”
He further expressed disappointment on how You may have unwittingly acted as a haven for a truly abusive man:
“[T]he idea that a show like ours would indirectly, unwittingly be a haven for people who are abusive is disturbing. It’s very disturbing. What does it take to change that? Because it’s not just vetting individuals. There needs to be a change in culture and attitude so that that kind of behavior is so clearly reprehensible, it’s so clearly, like, anti-human.”
Badgley also stressed that the You producers have spoken with 17-year-old actress Jenna Ortega, whose character interacted with D’Elia onscreen, “to make sure she felt safe” following the surfacing of allegations. And Badgley further explained that You attempts to deconstruct the systems that help create cultures were predators can flourish. “I would hope that at least our show is not serving to uphold these kind of, like, bunk ways of being and these systems, right?” he added.
Over the weekend, Whitney Cummings, who starred alongside D’Elia in Whitney, also reacted. In doing so, she described the accusations against D’Elia as pointing toward a “pattern of predatory behavior,” against which she vowed to never be silent.
(Via LA Times)