Penn Badgley is addressing the multiple sexual misconduct allegations against his You season 2 co-star, comedian Chris D'Elia. In You, D'Elia played a famous stand-up comic who is revealed to be a sexual predator.
D'Elia, 40, denied any illegal or nonconsensual activity when he addressed the allegations last week, but did apologize for getting "caught up in my lifestyle." During Badgley's appearance on The Los Angeles Times' podcast Can't Stop Watching on Tuesday, the 33-year-old actor was asked about the allegations.
"You know -- it did affect me deeply," Badgley said. "I was very troubled by it. I am very troubled by it."
"I don't know Chris," he continued. "I know that, if there's anything we need to do in this age, it's to believe women."
D'Elia was first accused of misconduct by a Twitter user named Simone Rossi last Tuesday. She shared screenshots of alleged emails between her and the comedian from when she was 16. The emails appear to show D’Elia asking Rossi to meet up after his live shows and requesting photos from her. Other Twitter users then shared allegations of their own, including user @michaelacoletta, who accused him of soliciting nude pictures from her when she was 17 years old and constantly messaging her to come backstage at his shows.
Badgley shared that given the accusations against the comedian, show producers reached out to 17-year-old actress Jenna Ortega -- who played the character Ellie, one of the women preyed on by D'Elia's character -- to "make sure she felt safe."
"I also am thinking about how to somehow not -- the idea that a show like ours would indirectly, unwittingly be a haven for people who are abusive is disturbing," Badgley said. "What does it take to change that? Because it's not just vetting individuals. There needs to be a change in culture and attitude so that that kind of behavior is so clearly reprehensible, it's so clearly, like, anti-human."
Badgley said that more needs to be done than simply naming predators.
"One thing that our culture tends to do quite systematically and methodically is to revel in identifying villains so that the system can remain evil," he said. "What is really important is to recognize that the policies that underwrite every given system -- the practices, the regulations, the laws that underwrite every one of these systems -- which act as a haven for the individuals that take advantage, namely white men. And women -- but, you know, white people, and white men. And white men of a particular breed, who are successful and charismatic."
Meanwhile, in D'Elia's statement last week, he insisted that all his relationships have been legal and consensual.
"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," the statement reads. "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."
According to multiple reports, D'Elia has been dropped by his agency, CAA, following the allegations against him. On Sunday, his Whitney co-star, Whitney Cummings, also spoke out in support of his accusers.
"It's taken me a couple days to process the information I have learned about Chris," Cummings tweeted. "I'm devastated and enraged by what I've read and learned. This is a pattern of predatory behavior. This abuse of power is enabled by silence. Now that I'm aware, I won't be silent. Girls should be able to be a fan of a comedian they admire without becoming a sexual target. It's the adult's responsibility to be an adult."
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