4 Women Accuse Comedian Bryan Callen of Sexual Assault and Misconduct
A little over a month after comedian Chris D’Elia was accused of sexual misconduct, one of his closest friends is also at the center of allegations. According to a new report from the L.A. Times, four women have gone on the record to accuse comedian and The Goldbergs star Bryan Callen of sexual assault and misconduct. The allegations span back to 1999, when former MADtv cast member Kathryn Fiore Tigerman alleges Callen raped her. Tigerman told the Times that she watched the allegations against D’Elia play out last month, and when Callen’s name began to be mentioned she felt “relief” and thought, “‘Oh, I’m not by myself in this. I finally feel powerful against him.’ And if I can give that feeling to somebody else, that would be great.”
Like Tigerman, three other women shared their allegations against Callen in detail with the Times. A former American Apparel employee named Rachel Green accused Callen of pinning her against a dressing-room wall in 1999 and kissing her, which she immediately reported to her co-workers. Claire Ganshert, who was an aspiring actress when she met Callen in 2012 when she was 23 and working at a New York coffee shop, said she had a four-year affair with Callen while he was married, and that he told her in 2016 that women have a “biological, primal desire to be raped.” A comedian named Tiffany King also alleged that, in 2017, Callen tried to pressure her to give him oral sex in exchange for stage time and money at a time when he knew that she was struggling financially. “It was so humiliating. He was somebody I looked up to as a comedian who had control over something I loved,” King told the Times. “If it had been another woman, she could have done it and killed herself the next day because she felt so horrible.”
In a statement to the Times, Callen denied all of the allegations. “Let me be very clear: I have never raped, forced myself upon any woman nor offered to trade stage time for sex. EVER,” his statement read. “I know the truth. And I can only hold my head up high, remain true to myself, my family, my audience and know that I will not allow the cancel culture to subvert what I know and as importantly, what they know, is the truth.” Callen accused Ganshert of “mud-slinging” in order to “get her name in the press.” Ganshert told the Times that what Callen did to her when she was young was “more in the gray area,” adding, “I think that story is relatable. I am not a victim but I’m standing up for that 23-year-old girl by saying that a 45-year-old man should have known better.”
Update, August 3: Callen has changed course on his initial decision to address the allegations “in detail” on his podcast, instead announcing in an Instagram post on August 2 that he is “taking a leave of absence” from the podcast, The Fighter and the Kid, which he co-hosts with former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub. In the video, Callen again denied the allegations from the L.A. Times report and said he will not “lay low” or post a “stale” statement.
“I never thought in a million years that I’d be sitting here defending myself for something I did not do 21 years ago. So this is me saying that I categorically and absolutely deny all the allegations against me,” Callen said. “I have been characterized as someone that no one, no one who knows me — not my friends, not my family, not my fans — would ever recognize. And that’s because that’s not who I am.” Callen added that it’s “not a video about cancel culture” and that the Me Too movement is “one of the most important movements of my lifetime,” but that “social media and the press alone can act as judge, jury, and executioner.” Watch the full clip below.