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Comedian Chris D'Elia Accused of Pursuing and 'Grooming' Underage Girls

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

This week, actor and comedian Chris D’Elia, who stars in the Netflix show “You” as a pedophile, was accused on Twitter of sexually harassing and soliciting underage girls. He quickly retaliated in a statement to People by stating “all of my relationships have been both legal and consensual” and that he “never knowingly pursued any underage women at any point.”

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Unfortunately for D’Elia, his accuser Simone Rossi had saved email interactions between she and the actor that prove she wasn’t lying. Her accusations quickly went viral, prompting numerous others to come forward with their own accounts ranging from soliciting nude photos from a 17-year-old to exposing himself to women in a hotel.

People were quick to shame these young women for not saying no to D’Elias advances, pointing out that they were old enough to know better and shouldn’t have consented to anything. Rossi retaliated with the following:

asking why a 16 year old girl replied back to a famous person who DM’d her first is d*mb. you look d*mb. you’re telling me if a famous dude DMd you his email when you were 16 you’d just immediately block him? bro i was 16. it was exciting. until i later realized it was PREDATORY.

that’s the entire problem. we don’t warn girls enough of predatory men. these older men are preying on you. it’s not exciting. it’s concerning. that is why i’m speaking out. i don’t want anyone else to go through what so many young girls have already.

First of all, sexual predation is almost never about sex, it’s about power. Using your status as a celebrity to coerce women of any age to engage in sexual activity with you because you can is at the very least creepy and, when those females are under the age of 18, criminal. It’s very clear from all of these exchanges that he was perfectly aware of the fact that he could get away with acting like a sleazeball because of his status. In fact, it would seem that he would never have thought twice about it if Rossi hadn’t have gone public about it.

But secondly, and more importantly, children are not mature enough to consent nor are they necessarily capable of identifying when someone is being predatory. Teenagers are just discovering who they are and are just figuring out what sex and relationships are supposed to look and feel like. It’s up to adults to model appropriate healthy relationships that are made up of two individuals who are both engaging as equals in the decision as to how and whether or not to engage in any physical or emotional relationship. A grown man should never, under any circumstance take advantage of the inexperience and naïveté of a child to get what they want. Period. End of story.

And finally, I’d like to point out that all of this happened via the privacy and relative anonymity of social media. Parents often don’t know what their children are engaging in on social media and I don’t even think they are aware of the dangers that come with their children participating on the myriad of different platforms out there. Predators are clever and eager to pounce on vulnerable young women because they know nobody is watching. Perhaps the most important lesson to gain from this story is for parents to have frank and frequent conversations with their children making them aware of what predation looks like and what to do if they are ever approached. 

Let me be clear, the blame for the interactions between these girls and D’Elia lies solely with him, because he was the adult who should have both known better and behaved with more integrity. But as a society, we can only stop sexual harassment/abuse/assault if we educate our children about the danger, keep an open line of communication with them so that they know who they can trust if something does happen and then make sure we take the appropriate actions to insure that it never happens again. We must stay vigilant and we must continue holding those in positions of power to higher standards.

Image via Wikicommons

Originally published: June 18, 2020
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