Bryan Callen Taking Leave of Absence from Podcast After Denying Sexual Misconduct Allegations
"This is me saying I categorically and absolutely deny all the allegations against me," said the actor in a video message on Instagram
Comedian Bryan Callen is speaking out after denying allegations of sexual assault or misconduct by four women.
In a report from the Los Angeles Times on Friday, The Goldbergs actor, 53, was accused of raping actress Katherine Fiore Tigerman in 1999, among other allegations from women who came forward. In a statement shared on Twitter on Friday, Callen denied all of the claims.
"Let me be very clear: I have never raped, forced myself upon any woman nor offered to trade stage time for sex. EVER," he wrote. "The horrific and false allegations originated in today's LA TIMES will be addressed in detail in a special Saturday night edition of my podcast TFATK tomorrow. I will now allow the cancel culture to subvert what I know and as importantly, what these women know, is the truth."
Rather than addressing the allegations as he planned to do on a Saturday installment of his podcast The Fighter and The Kid, Callen posted an Instagram video message on Sunday denying the reports. He said he will "obviously" be taking a hiatus from the weekly podcast, which he co-hosts with former UFC heavyweight Brendan "Big Brown" Schaub.
"When you're in a situation like I am, you get a lot of advice from a lot of different people, and it usually falls into two different categories: they either tell you to post a statement and disappear, or they say lay low and let the news cycle pass you by," said Callen in the three-minute clip, captioned "For my fans." "Well, for better or for worse, I'm not doing any of that."
The comedian said he "never thought in a million years" he would be "defending" himself against sexual assault allegations. Callen explained why he wanted to refute the claims on-camera rather than in a written statement.
"This is me saying I categorically and absolutely deny all the allegations against me," he said. "I wanted you to see me say that, I didn't want to post some stale statement. I wanted you to hear that come out of my mouth."
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Callen said the reports "characterized" him as someone those who know him best would never "recognize." He added of the claims: "Those are not things that I would ever do. That is not how I have ever lived my life."
The comedian went on to support the #MeToo movement while also demanding due process in the wake of the allegations.
"I happen to believe ... that the #MeToo movement is one of the most important movements of my lifetime, because for the first time in history it gives women recourse against the abuse of power, and that makes the world a better place. And that is not a political statement, that's just fair play. And I believe in fair play," said Callen.
"But I also believe in due process," he continued, "and we live in a very strange time where anybody can make an allegation against you and you are guilty until proven innocent. It's just a fact that social media and the press alone can act as judge, jury and executioner. … When something like this happens, this is pretty much the only way you can defend yourself."
In the report published Friday, actress Tigerman alleged that Callen raped her in 1999. Tigerman claimed Callen held her down and forced her to have sex with him in his bedroom after a night out — despite her pleading with him to stop, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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While Tigerman said she later shared the alleged incident with her now-husband Gabriel Tigerman and friend Jenny Wade, she said she didn't feel comfortable going to the police at the time. She explained to the Times that submitting a rape kit felt "physically invasive." She also feared that if her father — actor Bill Fiore — found out, he would get into a physical altercation with Callen.
A second allegation against Callen was from a decade later, when he walked into an American Apparel store in Pittsburgh in 2009. Rachel Green, an employee there at the time, assisted the actor while he was shopping, alleging that he stepped out of the fitting room with nothing but boxer briefs multiple times, she told the Times.
Green alleged that things escalated the following day when Callen returned to the store and requested she help him again. She told the Times that on that occasion, Callen came out of the dressing room wearing Speedos and allegedly tried to kiss her. Green said she ran out of the dressing room and told her colleagues what had happened.
Also in the report, comedian Tiffany King alleged that Callen asked her to perform a sexual act in a car in 2017 after they had just had dinner together. When King said no, she claimed Callen offered to pay her.
A fourth woman, Claire Ganshert, told the Times that she met Callen while she was working as a barista in New York City in 2012. She explained to the newspaper that the two began a sexual relationship that later ended in 2016. Ganshert claimed Callen told her that women have a “biological, primal desire to be raped.”
Ganshert later learned he was married to Amanda Humphrey. While Ganshert said she was not a "victim," she still felt Callen's behavior was inappropriate and that he should have known better.
The sexual assault and misconduct allegations made against Callen come after his wife Humphrey filed for divorce in February. The estranged pair tied the knot in 2008.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.