The Real Reason Comedian Chris D’Elia Is Facing Legal Trouble
3rd March 2021

The following article includes allegations of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of minors.

Nearly nine months after dozens of social media users came forward on the platform with allegations of comedian and actor Chris D’Elia engaging in sexual misconduct and other, extreme behaviors with them when they were minors, a new lawsuit has become the first measure in pursuing legal recourse against the previously lauded stand-up star. 

The lawsuit, which was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on March 2, 2021, and was subsequently obtained and published by The Hollywood Reporter, stated that D’Elia had knowingly pursued and enacted a sexual relationship with a teenager, with the minor sending him more than 100 photos and videos, half of which would be categorized as child sex abuse footage, a more updated phrase for “child pornography.” The plaintiff in the suit, who was given the pseudonym “Jane Doe” in the court document filed by her attorneys, was 17 at the time the private message exchanges took place in 2014; D’Elia was 34.

While a spokesperson for D’Elia responded to the news of the suit with the assertion that “Chris denies these allegations and will vigorously defend against them in court,” the events outlined in the motion have made the prospect of court all the more likely — especially following similar high-profile controversies in comedy within the past few years.

The detailed lawsuit against Chris D'Elia has the comedian under further scrutiny

According to the 27-page motion filed against Chris D’Elia in March 2021 (via The Hollywood Reporter), Jane Doe began messaging with D’Elia back in 2014, after the 17-year-old direct messaged him on Instagram as a fan. Following a brief correspondence, D’Elia then allegedly invited Doe to a comedy show, as well as allegedly requesting the minor give him her Snapchat info. Before their meet-up, D’Elia purportedly requested Doe send him explicit images of herself, which Doe obliged. 

Upon finally meeting at the Foxwoods Resort Casino show venue in Connecticut, the stand-up comic invited Doe back to his hotel room, per the lawsuit. After realizing Doe had brought a friend to accompany her, D’Elia purportedly refused to open his door until her friend finally left. Upon letting Doe in, he allegedly proceeded to instruct the teenager to undress him before instigating a sexual encounter “approximately ten minutes after she arrived,” per the filing. 

In addition to one more alleged encounter following the show, D’Elia allegedly continued to communicate with the girl over the next six or seven months, who recalled in the suit that she sent the comic “more than 100 sexually explicit photos and videos” to D’Elia within that time, half while she was still a minor. The suit claimed Doe ended “most contact” with D’Elia in 2015 before finally blocking him on Snapchat in 2017.

The Chris D'Elia lawsuit echoes multiple prior allegations of abuse against him

News of the lawsuit comes only months after Twitter user Simone Rossi first came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Chris D’Elia in June 2020, which she posted publicly on the site. At the time, Rossi described how D’Elia had “groomed” her through a series of private messages in 2014, including screenshots of emails sent between the two when Rossi was only 16 years old. One purported screenshot featured a message from D’Elia to Rossi in which the comic seemingly attempted to solicit a sexually explicit photo from the then-minor.

After Rossi’s Twitter thread went viral, other women swiftly came forward with similar experiences, including another woman known by the user handle @SheRatesDogs who shared a screenshot of a text that claimed D’Elia “exposed himself” to a female employee at a Cleveland hotel in 2018 after the employee had responded to a request to fix a malfunctioning air conditioner. After @SheRatesDogs shared the story, including screenshots of the text conversation that took place following the alleged incident, the Twitter user subsequently posted that she had collected “30 firsthand accounts, 100 other anonymous stories, video screen recordings, text/Snapchat/email/Instagram/Twitter screenshots, corroboration from female comics, [and] character witnesses from people who worked at venues” all involving D’Elia.

Chris D'Elia has repeatedly denied the growing allegations against him

Despite the number of women who have come forward since the first allegation against Chris D’Elia went public in June 2020, the comedian and actor has repeatedly denied the mounting number of accusations against him. Shortly after Simone Rossi and others provided screenshots of their social media and email exchanges with D’Elia on social media — the majority of which took place when the women were minors and/or under the age of consent — the comic issued a statement on the matter in an exclusive with TMZ, blaming any and all communications with women who were then teenagers on being a “dumb guy.”

“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,” D’Elia told the tabloid, adding that “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.” Despite the fact that D’Elia professed no knowledge of participating in activities that would eventually be outlined in the lawsuit — namely, soliciting child sexual abuse images and soliciting minors, per The Hollywood Reporter — he nevertheless stated that he was “truly sorry,” going on to explain that he was “a dumb guy” who “let [himself] get caught up in the lifestyle.”

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org for additional resources.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services at www.childhelp.org/hotline.

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