Content Warning: This article discusses sexual harassment. If you or someone you know are affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Chris D’Elia has responded to sexual harassment claims made by several women after stories of the star contacting a number of underage girls and soliciting pictures surfaced on Twitter.
On June 16, a woman on Twitter named Simone Rossi began a thread by pointing out the irony of D’Elia’s role in season two of the hit Netflix series You.
“I still can’t believe Netflix cast Chris D’elia as the pedophile in season two of You like the literal IRONY,” Rossi wrote.
Rossi then added a series of emails and screenshots that allegedly detail conversations between the comedian and Rossi, who was just 16 years old, which show D’Elia asking Rossi to meet up after shows and asking for photos of herself.
“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,” she wrote on Twitter.
“For the longest time I thought it was embarrassing for ME that I was interacting with this older man,” Rossi continued.
“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 fuck Chris D’Elia.”
She also added that D’Elia was allegedly aware that she was in high school, “considering [Rossi’s] entire Instagram was high school football games and spirit days.”
Other women began to post their own experiences with the star, with many others also alleging that they too were underage at the time of their correspondence with the actor and comedian.
— SheRatesDogs (@SheRatesDogs) June 17, 2020
— colleen✨? (@colleenriley42) June 17, 2020
Speaking to TMZ, D’Elia denied the claims, saying he “never knowingly pursued any underage women at any point”.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he concluded.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Rossi elaborated on her conversations with D’Elia.
“When I was 16 I replied to a picture that Chris had tweeted. I’m pretty sure I said ‘cute.’ He immediately DM’d me on his verified Twitter account an email address and the words ‘Use it,’ hence why in some of the emails I posted the subject line is ‘Use it???'” she told the publication.
“We emailed briefly, he asked if I was in LA, I said no, he said ‘How we supposed to make out then’ and he asked for ‘pics’ to which I replied with a panda photo and a selfie.
“I used a laughing face emoji at one point and he said, ‘What’s with that emoji?’ so then I switched to a kissy face emoji. That was a majority of our conversation from summer 2014,” she said.
“Then on New Years Day 2015, that’s when he asked to hang out when he was in Tempe. I don’t know how he remembered I lived in Arizona based off a conversation from 5 months prior, but he did. That’s the second time he talked about ‘making out’ with me,” Rossi continued,
“He asked for my Instagram at that point and began following me. My Instagram at the time was full of pictures of me at my high school, pictures of my friends and I, and other images you would expect a high schooler to post. It also had my high school name in my bio, as I was in Student Government and that was often something I flaunted,” she said.
“This gives me reason to believe that he knew I was underage and I also personally believe that’s why he pursued me. He eventually unfollowed me and never talked to me again after I didn’t end up meeting up with him or sending him nudes. The last emails I have are from January 2015. I was still 16,” she added.
D’Elia’s latest comedy special, Chris D’Elia: No Pain, debuted on Netflix in April.