Comedian Chris D’Elia was one of stand-up’s rising stars. Until his controversial role on season two of the Netflix thriller, You triggered an onslaught of public sexual misconduct allegations. Playing “Henderson,” a charismatic Hollywood celeb who is secretly a pedophile and rapist, D’elia’s performance hit close to home for a number of young women who say the actor exposed himself to them without consent.
Chris D’elia’s Short-Lived Career
Chris D’Elia, the son of TV director Bill D’Elia, grew up in New Jersey and Los Angeles. After dropping out of New York University, the budding actor decided to give stand-up a try and has been performing as a stand-up comedian since 2006. He appeared in various Comedy Central specials before landing a lead role on Whitney Cummings’ NBC sitcom Whitney.
Following Whitney, Chris D’Elia became a podcast host and the star of Undateable on NBC, which ran from 2014 to 2016. His three comedy specials, Incorrigible, Man On Fire, and No Pain were all released straight to Netflix. Through this streaming service, D’Dlia’s fan base grew. He was the natural choice for an arc on You, the popular young adult thriller which stars Penn Badgley as a crazed, homicidal stalker. However, the second season of You, which premiered in December 2019, would mark D’elia’s last mainstream gig for some time. Throughout 2020, allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment abounded against the once-popular star.
Chris D’Elia in ‘You’
Allegations of Sexual Misconduct
In June of 2020 Simone Rossi (@girlpowertbh) posted on her Twitter account: “I still can’t believe Netflix cast Chris D’Elia as the pedophile in the season two of “You” like the literal IRONY.” This viral post was followed by a thread in which she shared screenshots from a 2014 conversation with Chris D’Elia. In the messages, it’s clear that D’Elia is coaxing the girl into meeting up and sending photos. She was 16 at the time.
After Simone Rossi broke her silence, writing, “for the longest time I thought it was embarrassing for ME that I was interacting with this older man but he was the one who DM’d me on Twitter and was the one who was twice my age and was the one that used the power imbalance between us to his advantage so f*** chris d’elia,” it did not take long for many other women, including underage women, to come forward with their own Chris D’elia horror stories.
Chris D’Elia Responds To New Sexual Misconduct Allegations
The Los Angeles Times detailed the account of Julia Holtzman, another high schooler whom Chris D’elia reached out to through social media. Holtzman, who was 16 at the time, chose not to meet up with the then 36-year-old actor, but she saved telling screenshots that prove D’elia’s desperate attempts. While D’elia tried courting underage girls online, he also was sexually harassing women closer to his own age. Actress Megan Drust told CNN that D’Elia exposed himself to her in her car while she was giving him a ride home. D’elia continued to masturbate even after Drust expressed her shock. “You’re defiling my car!” she reportedly told him.
Another woman, who remains anonymous, said that when she was working as the manager of the Kimpton Schofield Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio, Chris D’Elia also exposed himself to her. While staying at the hotel before his set at Cleveland Masonic Theater, D’Elia phoned the front desk with a complaint and when the manager came to check on his room, she found D’elia waiting naked. Laura Vitarelli, another woman, also encountered D’elia in another hotel ploy. Vitarelli said she and a friend arrived at what they thought was a party — the address had been provided by D’Elia — but was really just his hotel room. The comedian then pressured both women to stay. That was when “we knew we had to get out of there so we left as fast as we could,” Vitarelli told CNN.
The Aftermath of the Allegations
Chris D’elia’s career immediately imploded following the sexual misconduct allegations last spring. His former co-star — and former friend — Whitney Cummings has spoken out, tweeting that she believes the allegations and is “devastated and enraged” by what she’s learned. She wrote: “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.” Comedy Central has also removed a 2011 episode of Workaholics, “To Friend a Predator,” from both Hulu and Amazon Prime in which D’Elia guest stars a child molester. Like his turn as the sex criminal Henderson in You, the performance appears now in extremely poor taste.