Chris D'Elia has denied pursuing or exchanging nude photos with underage girls after a number of women came forward on social media alleging the comedian had behaved inappropriately towards them. On Tuesday, Twitter user Simone Rossi called out the actor for playing a pedophile on season 2 of Netflix's You while having previously allegedly asked her for nude photos and to "make out" when she was underage. Shortly after her tweet went viral, other women came forward with their own accounts, sharing stories from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, and even Vancouver, supplemented with screenshots of Facebook messages and emails purportedly from the actor. Almost all of these women say they were under 18 at the time.
"It took me a long time to realise what happened to me wasn’t just a funny joke to tell at parties," Rossi told Refinery29 over Twitter DM about her allegations against D'Elia. "I was being preyed on, and when you’re that young, and especially when you’re talking to someone so famous, you think it’s cool and exciting."
Rossi said the thought of her 17-year-old sister going through something similar prompted her to tweet her experience. Rossi told Refinery29 much of her email correspondence with D'Elia took place in 2014, with their final conversation taking place in January 2015. Rossi alleges D'Elia twice made comments about making out with her, asked for "pics," and followed her on Instagram, where she says she had the name of her high school in her bio.
Other women shared similar accounts of emailing with the comedian and receiving requests for pictures. In a statement to TMZ, D'Elia denied the accusations.
"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."
However, he also apologised for getting "caught up in [his] lifestyle."
"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," he added. "I own it. I’ve been reflecting on this for some time now and I promise I will continue to do better."
This denial is a disappointment to Rossi.
"I will be severely disappointed if he tries to deny it," she told Refinery29 before the statement was released. "My voice and the voice of countless other women and girls deserve to be heard and believed."
A rep for D'Elia directed Refinery29 to his comment to TMZ. Netflix declined to comment.