Last Tuesday comedian Chris D’Elia was the target of a string of tweets by several different women who claimed D’Elia had preyed on them as teenagers. The tweets were accompanied by screenshots of email and Facebook messenger exchanges allegedly between the girls and D’Elia. One such thread posted by Abby Grills shows D’Elia asking for Grills’s age, which at the time was 17; D’Elia allegedly responded “too young,” with a winking face, and waited a full year before contacting Grills again. According to Grills, D’Elia was 30 years old when he first communicated with her.
Another woman, Simone Rossi, claimed that she interacted with D’Elia when she was 16, that the comedian was “grooming” her, and that the only reason the two did not have sex is that Rossi got a boyfriend her own age. According to a report by the LA Times, hundreds of women shared stories about their encounters with D’Elia, “some who claimed they’d had negative encounters with him, some who knew other women who allegedly had.” The stories were sent in private messages to popular Twitter account SheRatesDogs, and shared in a public thread. The Times also reports that five women detailed “aggressive, sexually charged overtures initiated by D’Elia,” and that he “allegedly told a 19-year-old that he would meet up with her only after she performed oral sex on one of his friends.”
Initially, D’Elia responded that he had never “never knowingly pursued any underage women,” in a statement to TMZ. He also added that all of his relationships have been “legal and consensual.” A relationship between a 19-year-old and a 30-year-old is in fact legal, but the power imbalance between a teenager and an adult celebrity is, at the very least, questionable.
On Wednesday morning D’Elia’s team released some of the email exchanges between D’Elia and a few of the women who had accused him of misconduct. According to Page Six, “D’Elia’s camp released an email from October 2019, in which [Simone] Rossi allegedly wrote to D’Elia, ‘I’m 21 now and [down to f***].’ His reps say D’Elia didn’t respond to her.” Page Six makes no mention of D’Elia’s camp addressing the original emails that allegedly occurred in 2015 when Rossi was underaged.
The emails, which were published in bits and pieces on Page Six, are an attempt by D’Elia’s team to alert the public to “all the information to make an informed decision on the coordinated attacks on Chris D’Elia.” But all the information provided seems to confirm that D’Elia did, in fact, have sexually charged conversations with women who were significantly younger than him. From Page Six:
They provided an email between D’Elia and Clara Schaller, a woman who last week posted emails from 2012 on Twitter in which D’Elia said he wanted to have “naked sex” with her. When she made them public, she claimed that she was 17 at the time of the exchange. D’Elia’s camp released an email to us that showed D’Elia had allegedly asked her approximately midway through their exchange, “How old are you?” She replied “12,” apparently kidding. He responded, “Answerrrrr,” to which she said, “24?”
It should be noted that he asked her for “pics” before asking her age, and continued the lewd conversation, even though he didn’t get a straight answer on her age.
As a result of the accusations, an episode of Workaholics where D’Elia plays a child molester has been removed from streaming services. (And who even thought that was funny, to begin with?) One of his stand-up specials has also been removed from Comedy Central.