Disgraced comedian Chris D’Elia has been outed as a creep who uses social media to lure female fans into sexual scenarios, even some who are minors. After a flood of grooming allegations were unleashed on Twitter, five women came forward to share their stories with the LA Times. Since then, D’Elia has been denounced by fellow comedians and You co-star Penn Badgley. He’s been fired from his agency. Plus, several streaming services have pulled his ep of Workaholics on which he played a pedophile. The stand-up offered a bizarre apology last week that insisted he was innocent, and now he’s doubling down with a defense worthy of Brock Turner’s lawyers for its WTF*ckery.
Page Six reports D’Elia has released some of the email exchanges referenced in the outpouring of accusations. Here’s how reporter Oli Coleman described one:
(D’Elias reps) 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.
These reps also provided a 2014 exchange between D’Elia and a female fan in which he suggested they make-out—before asking her age. When she said she was 16, his reply was “Oh sh**. I thought you were at my [standup] show. Gotta be 18 [to get into that] at least. My bad. Bye.”
Essentially, D’Elia admits that he slides into the DMs of young female fans to try to set up hookups and score provocative “pics.” But being that kind of creep—while gross—isn’t illegal. His focus is rewriting the narrative that he is a pedophile. However, D’Elia’s released emails suggest he might have been less interested in age of consent, and more interested in establishing plausible deniability.
The third email appears chosen because in it a fan declares she’s “21 now and [down to f***].” In her interview with the LA Times, the same woman said she was 16 at the time. To D’Elia, this is three examples that exonerate him from the grooming allegations by showing he had—or asked for—some meager proof of age. However, if he was genuinely concerned about impropriety—as opposed to the appearance of impropriety—would “24” followed by question mark have been a satisfying answer?
Beyond that, women on Twitter offered a massive amount of screenshots showing what D’Elia’s longtime colleague Whitney Cummings called “a pattern of predatory behavior.” And yet all D’Elia has offered in response are three message exchanges, which attempt to essentially blame a young woman for flirting with him. This is the kind rape culture bullsh*t that promotes the idea that men are uncontrollable in their lusts, and therefore women are to blame for any sex that happens, even when it’s nonconsensual. Maybe some of these girls did flirt with D’Elia and were excited by having a famous comedian they liked respond. However, that doesn’t mean these girls were some devious Lolitas out to topple him. As Cummings said, he—as a man in his 30s—should have been the “adult” in the situation.
Nonetheless, D’Elia and his unnamed reps want you to know that while he’s a confessed creep, that doesn’t prove he’s a criminal. As they told Page Six: “It is important that the public has all the information to make an informed decision on the coordinated attacks on Chris D’Elia. These messages help prove that all of Chris’s relationships were both legal and consensual.”
Three messages could not prove either, and if these are the best he’s got, that’s more telling than D’Elia might realize.