A civil suit filed in California federal court Tuesday accuses comedian Chris D’Elia of child sexual exploitation and violation of child pornography laws.
The plaintiff, who goes by the name of Jane Doe in the filing, says she was a 17-year-old high school student when she connected with D’Elia on social media in 2014. Her statement says the 34-year-old D’Elia knew the girl was underage, even commenting on a photo of her dressed for “spirit day” while at school.
The filing says the comedian invited her to one of his shows. She attended one in Connecticut where, the complaint says, he engaged in sexual activities with her before going onstage. During those interactions, the lawsuit claims D’Elia asked the plaintiff several times to tell him how old she was and she told him she was 17. (Connecticut law says the age of consent at 16.)
Thereafter, “he constructed a manipulative, controlling, and abusive dynamic,” the complaint states, in which he demanded she provide sexually explicit images of herself over the Internet. When she refused, reads the complaint, D’Elia “psychologically punished her.”
The filing says that D’Elia “solicited and received” over 100 sexually explicit photos and videos from the girl, “all in violation of federal child pornography and sexual exploitation laws.”
D’Elia was previously accused by two women of exposing himself in separate incidents, one in 2011 and one in 2018, with their stories detailed in a report on CNN.com. Earlier, D’Elia was accused of soliciting underage girls on social media.
After those accusations surfaced, CAA dropped the actor-comedian as a client. He also was let go by management company 3 Arts Entertainment. Netflix, meanwhile, scrapped an upcoming unscripted prank show in which D’Elia was featured.
In February after the original accusations surfaced, D’Elia released a long video statement confronting the deluge of sexual misconduct allegations against him saying in part, “I do know how it looks with all the stuff that’s been said…I know it looks bad, and it doesn’t show the full scope of what happened.” He claimed, “I stand by the fact that all my relationships have been consensual and legal. That’s the truth.”
However he continued, “sex controlled my life. And I have a problem…I need to do work on that.”
Later in the video, he apologized to all who had been impacted by his activities saying, “I’m sorry.”
The complaint says that while D’Elia “claims ‘this was always about sex’ to him, it was much more to Ms. Doe. It was about child pornography and child sexual exploitation.”
In a statement issued when the original accusations surfaced, D’Elia’s representatives sent the following to Deadline:
“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,” he said. “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.”
D’Elia has made three comedy specials at Netlix. The comedian also had a three-episode arc on the Netflix series You in 2019, in which he played a man who menaces a 15-year-old girl. D’Elia’s character was killed off. The comedian also played Whitney Cummings’ boyfriend on NBC’s Whitney, a role that Cummings said she wrote for D’Elia.
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