Bryan Callen accused of sexual assault by 4 women, stand-up comic insists he never traded 'stage time for sex'
'I will not allow the cancel culture to subvert what I know and as importantly, what they know, is the truth,' the 53-year-old said
Actor and comedian Bryan Callen, 53, has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by multiple women, making him the latest in the stand-up industry to find themselves in the crosshairs of the #MeToo movement.
Katherine Fiore Tigerman was first who confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Callen had behaved inappropriately around her. Since June 17, the day that Callen's best friend Chris D'Elia started trending on social media after several women accused of sexual misconduct, three other women have come forward as well.
The women described troubling sexual incidents ranging from assault to misconduct to disturbing comments that suggested Callen had been displaying this pattern of abuse going back as far as 1999.
Tigerman, who shared that she had first met the comedian in 1994, said her father, actor Bill Fiore, gave Callen one of his first acting gigs, a role in a mid-’90s New York City theater production but they were never anything more than friends.
However, after a night out together in 1999, she said held her down and forced her to have sex with him as she pleaded with him to stop. She said he went ahead with it despite her protests, and afterward, tried to calm her down when he saw her crying.
"Aw, come on. What am I, a big bad rapist? I’m not a big bad rapist,’” she said he told her. "Come on, you’re gonna be my girlfriend now. We needed to get this out of the way."
She revealed she went and told her best friend and then-boyfriend Rino Romano, of the incident. The latter corroborated her claim. "I just wanted to kill the guy," Romano told the Times. "I tried to gently encourage her to do something about it, but she insisted it was better to put it behind her."
The other women have told accounts where Callen was verbally and physically abusive to them. One of them, an American Apparel saleswoman, said the comedian pinned her against the wall of a fitting room against her will in 2009 and began to kiss her.
Another, an aspiring actress who had a four-year affair with while he was married, said he told her in 2016 that women have a "biological, primal desire to be raped." In 2017, the third woman, a female comedian, said he suggested she give him oral sex in exchange for stage time and money.
The women have already received support from Amy Schumer, who posted a lengthy statement on her Instagram page and asked them to call her to talk about their experiences.
"Thank you to the brave women coming forward and sharing their stories," she wrote. "You are saving the women who may have come after you. And to the comics who are annoyed with me for standing with these ladies what are you so afraid of? Available on my number in my bio if anyone wants to talk about Bryan or any one else who has sexually assaulted you."
Callen, however, has denied all of the allegations against him. "Let me be very clear: I have never raped, forced myself upon any woman nor offered to trade stage time for sex. EVER," he told the Times in a statement. "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."
Tigerman's claims, in particular, Callen claimed, were "demonstrably false." He insisted the encounter was consensual and that they "BOTH agreed to have sex."