Last week, 5 women brought up accusations against actor and comedian Chris D’Elia (You, Whitney) on Twitter for alleged predatory behavior towards them when they were underage minors. The inappropriate encounters allegedly began with Julia Holtzman, who was 17 years old when she was allegedly contacted by D’Elia via Instagram direct message. He allegedly eventually suggested that she travel from Long Island to New York City to meet with him, an offer which Holtzman declined. She saved these messages and released them last week. Since then, more women took to social media to share their alleged inappropriate altercations with D’Elia from when they were minors. Several of D’Elia’s co-stars have expressed disappointment and anger towards him after hearing the news of his alleged misconduct, via LA Times. Among his Whitney co-star Whitney Cummings (2 Broke Girls, The Female Brain) and fellow comedian Amy Schumer (Trainwreck) who took to Twitter to speak publicly about D’Elia’s alleged aggressive sexual overtures, his You co-star Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl, Easy A) spoke to the LA Times, connecting these ensuing events to D’Elia’s character on the show.
— Whitney Cummings (@WhitneyCummings) June 20, 2020
The Netflix original series You features Badgley as Joe, a seemingly normal bookstore manager who uncovers a darker side of himself when it comes to the women he falls in love with. D’Elia joined the series in season 2 as Henderson, a comedian that sexually abuses young girls. In a statement, Badgley pins the pieces together, stating, “The idea that a show like ours would indirectly, unwittingly be a haven for people who are abusive is disturbing,” per LA Times. He goes on to acknowledge how the allegations against D’Elia further the issues of abuse and toxic masculinity, both of which are recognized deeply in You. Badgley notes how “the practices, the regulations, the laws that underwrite every one of these systems that act as a haven for the individuals that take advantage, namely white men.”
When asked about how D’Elia’s allegations have made Badgley consider themes of toxic masculinity in his character and in real life, the You star responded via LA Times, “I also know there’s a lot that I cannot speak to, obviously. I think the one thing that I can speak to that is relevant for listeners now is that individuals, of course, need to be brought to justice as much as possible. One thing that our culture tends to do quite systemically and methodically is to revel in identifying villains so that the system can remain….intact and unchanged, we point to individuals in power who are upholding and perpetuating these terrible norms, which are often abusive if not downright lethal. Those individuals ideally would be brought to justice.”
Badgley concludes his statement with hope, by assuring that his show tries to dismantle a culture that to him, is so obviously flawed. He concludes, “There needs to be a change in culture and attitude so that this kind of behavior is so clearly reprehensible…I know that at least our show is trying to think about things in a dismantling, deconstructive manner. I would hope that at least our show is not serving to uphold these kind of bunk ways of being and these systems,” via LA Times.
Since D’Elia’s alleged victims have come forward, he has denied all allegations and has been dropped by both his agent and manager. Meanwhile, an episode of Workaholics where he guest stars as a child molester have been removed from Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Comedy Central’s streaming platforms and his comedy special White Male. Black Comic was taken off Comedy Central’s platform as well.