In June last year comedian Chris D’Elia became the centre of sexual assault and “grooming” allegations made by several women – some reportedly being underage girls.
After one Twitter user began sharing screenshots of her alleged correspondence with the 40-year-old, it wasn’t long before others came out of the woodwork to detail their own alleged experiences with Chris D’Elia.
In a statement to People,enied the accusations, insisting that his relationship with the young girls were “legal and consensual”.
“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.”
D’Elia continued, “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.”
Despite denying all claims, Chris’ Netflix prank series has since been dropped and he was subsequently fired by his CAA agent.
It’s important to note that the following claims are currently just that, and Chris D’Elia has not been criminally or civilly charged with any crime. His team have also since released several email exchanges between Chris and the alleged victims.
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The accusations begin
“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.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, Rossi elaborated on her alleged 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,” 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 claimed.
Chris’ team refuted by releasing correspondence between the pair, including an email from October 2019 in which Rossi allegedly wrote to D’Elia, “I’m 21 now and [down to fuck].” His reps say D’Elia didn’t respond to her.
Opening the floodgates
Soon after Rossi made her claims. Another Twitter user @SheRatesDogs, began collecting threads from anonymous individuals with various stories about D’Elia’s alleged inappropriate behaviour towards them via social media.
Retweeting Rossi’s allegation, the user posted a screenshot of another girl’s story that alleged the star exposed himself to one of a staff member of a Cleveland hotel he was staying at in 2018.
More posts quickly flooded social media, with another girl claiming she was 14 and in middle school when the comedian contacted her, while another alleged that D’Elia used an 18-year-old woman’s nudes in an attempt to blackmail her.
The accusations were seemingly endless, with more and more girls coming forward with their own alleged encounters.
“Although I’ve been publicly saying it for years, fuck Chris D’elia,” tweeted Michaela Coletta.
“I am so unsurprised that multiple girls are coming out with almost the exact story as mine,” she added.
Speaking to Mashable, Coletta also elaborated, saying: “He noticed I liked some of his photos on Instagram and immediately started messaging me. From my Instagram photos, you could visibly tell I was still in high school.”
In an emailed statement to the publication, Coletta described behaviour she knew to be a pattern.
“This man is HORRIBLE,” she wrote. “The amount of messages I’ve gotten from other girls that are too afraid to speak up is… insane. With almost the exact same stories, same ages… some as young as 14 [sic].”
More girls come forward
Another user named Abby Grills shared alleged screenshots of her conversation with D’Elia on Facebook Messenger in 2011 which appear to show Grills informing D’Elia that he was “a little too old” for her despite his continued messages.
“What’s really weird to me looking back at these is that in my head, he didn’t know I was 17 until I told him to stop messaging me. But I now see I told him several times. I had been giving him the benefit of the doubt all these years.”
In the comedy world, some high-profile performers have alluded to D’Elia’s popularity with underage followers. On their podcast “The King and the Sting,” Theo Von and Brendan Schaub joked about “Chris D’Elia’s “cult” of female fans.
These aren’t the only alleged victims to have come forward, more have since detailed their stories in an expose for the Los Angeles Times.
Celebrities react to the news
Even some high-profile comedians have alluded to D’Elia‘s popularity with his underage fanbase, including Theo Von and Brendan Schaub who joked about “Chris D’Elia’s “cult” of female fans on their podcast “he King and the Sting.
“That ain’t gonna end well,” Von said in 2019. “With everyone drinking Kool-Aid, except Chris,” Schaub added. “And everyone dies.”
“Well, a lot of the people are going to be drinking Kool-Aid because they’re underage girls, probably,” Von replied. “That’s what I’m guessing. It’s just in their natural diet pattern.”
Following the accusations going public, Whitney Cummings, who starred with D’Elia on the NBC series Whitney, made a statement saying she was “devastated” for the girls who came forward with their allegations against D’Elia.
“It’s taken me a couple of days to process the information I have learned about Chris. I’m devastated and enraged by what I’ve read and learned,” she said.
“This is a pattern of predatory behaviour. This abuse of power is enabled by silence. Now that I’m aware, I won’t be silent,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Girls should be able to be a fan of a comedian they admire without being a sexual target. It’s the adult’s responsibility to be an adult.”
If you or someone you know is 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.