In the wake of comedian Chris D’Elia being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women last week, we’ve seen a number of comedy figures get called out for inappropriate behaviour or impropriety. Among them is Jeff Ross, who has been accused of having a relationship with an underage girl over 20 years ago. Ross has publicly denied the allegation—first made last year on Facebook—that he started a relationship with a 15 year old girl who was working at a New York comedy club. Ross was 33 at the time. The allegations resurfaced this week as women in the comedy industry came forward to share their tales of abuse and misconduct on the comedy circuit.
Ross, famous for his insults on Comedy Central roasts, posted a statement on Twitter saying that “I have never engaged in any sexual relationship with a minor.” He added that the claims have been investigated multiple times and that “the witnesses and evidence do not support these despicable allegations.”
But he ended the statement by expressing his support for those calling out sexism in comedy. “The dangerous environment currently being exposed at the comedy clubs is real. Although this accusation is false, I want there to be no doubt of my commitment to victims of sexual assault.”
Ross and D’Elia aren’t the only ones facing the heat. In the UK, comedian George Rigden put out a statement admitting to abuse, manipulation and sexual harassment. “I am a big part of an endemic toxicity in the arts,” he said, adding that he’d spent two years trying to become a more respectful person with the help of therapists and friends.
In another high profile case, Joey Diaz and Joe Rogan came under fire after Twitter users shared a 2011 clip from The Joe Rogan Experience. The controversial video featured comedian Joey Diaz sharing an anecdote about making women perform oral sex on him in order to get stage time at popular comedy club The Belly Room. Rogan responded to the story with uproarious laughter, and both are now getting blasted by their peers in the comedy industry.
Joe Rogan has not yet responded to the video or the online commentary, but Joey Diaz has been tweeting enough for the both of them.