Jeff Ross Denies Raping Underage Girl, Says 'Dangerous Environment' at Comedy Clubs Is 'Real'
"Let me be clear, these disgusting allegations asserted against me are absolutely not true," said the comedian
Jeff Ross is denying allegations that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a minor.
On Monday, the comedian and Dancing with the Stars alum, 54, issued a statement on Twitter in response to resurfaced accusations that he pursued a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl starting in 1999. Ross said "this story is old news."
"It's taken a lot of discipline for me not to respond until now because I believe this is a mental health issue — and I support people when they are hurting," he wrote. "But let me be clear, these disgusting allegations asserted against me are absolutely not true. I have never engaged in any sexual relationship with a minor."
Ross' accuser came forward with her story in an October 2019 Facebook post, alleging that the actor raped her while she was asleep. "I have only just recently realized just how f----d up this all is, and was - I seriously do not want any predator to ever get away with stuff like this," reads the post.
In his statement this week, Ross claimed that his accuser and her husband "have been harassing me for years," and that he plans to "take legal action based on these untrue horrific allegations."
"... No one, no matter how sick they are, should be allowed to continue to try and benefit from false stories while attempting to destroy others," Ross wrote. "I'm proud of my reputation — not just as a comedian but as a human being and an ally to women."
The accuser — who did not share her name publicly — did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
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Ross continued in his social media post, however, to state that the culture surrounding comedians that is currently being called out by victims "is real." He added that he supports reforming the comedy environment to be less predatory.
"The dangerous environment currently being exposed at the comedy clubs is real. I wholeheartedly support change, and vow to do more to make my community safer for everyone," he wrote.
"Although this accusation is false," he continued, "I want there to be no doubt of my commitment to victims of sexual assault. Love and respect, Jeff Ross."
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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.