oh hi, I normally write jokes, but here's a serious thing:
I was a young athlete (ok, golfer). I was really good at it, especially for my age. As a result, I was surrounded by people older than me the majority of the time. That’s how I ended up being groomed by a man in his twenties, when I was 14.
Despite the fact that I have dealt with guilt and shame around what happened to me for the last 12 years of my life, I know there is only one person to blame. That being said, the reason I wanted to share this is because despicable people are very rarely able to do despicable things unless they are operating around people who allow it to happen. Despite my incredibly cynical nature, I do believe that most people are good (don't you dare tell anyone I said this, it'll ruin my brand). And, as much as this forthcoming sentence really makes me want to vom, I believe that we can change the world if we want to (ew).
Most of the people I was surrounded by were “good people”. But they definitely knew. I heard jokes being made. I’m a big fan of jokes and I like making and hearing jokes about the worst thing I’ve ever been through (as long as they are good jokes). This wasn’t the case; it was shoddy writing, the execution was always abysmal, and most disappointingly, the jokes were at my expense, not his. Knowing that people not only knew what he was doing to me, but that they also made me the butt of the joke, only added to my younger self’s feelings of confusion, guilt and self loathing - “well, if they think it’s my fault too, it must be”.
I have only told a small group of my very closest friends what happened to me, and I had no intention of sharing it any further than that. This is because I don’t want to be defined by someone else's actions, and I really don’t want anyone's pity. Most importantly, exposing him feels all too much like exposing myself. Intellectually it’s easy to see that it is not my fault and never was, but people who do this shit know exactly what they are doing - and they know how to make you feel like you were somehow equal party to their inappropriate behaviour. I have the best family in the world, and my abuser deliberately made sure that they would never find out - he also managed to convince me that if I spoke up, the people I loved the most would hate me.
The reason I have decided to speak up now is because comedy is wonderful, and I’ve met some of my favourite people within it. But Chris D’Elia (and sadly many more) are proof that this shit is rife in our industry and the world. Some of the comments I have seen within the past couple of days echo this sentiment and have been triggering (to say the very least).
Just like during my childhood, there are too many bystanders and enablers who could do more. It is not a few bad dudes lurking in alleyways, it’s a culture, and it’s affecting way more people than any of us can see - there are too many women and men, just like me, with stories of their own. Contrary to what I’ve heard from some woke dudes who think they’ve fixed it with their one man shows, #metoo isn’t over just yet.
I’ve been at gigs where self-proclaimed feminists have scoffed at me for saying I don’t like Seinfeld because he dated a literal child. I’ve been told I’m uptight because I think Louis CK is a piece of shit. I was called heartless because I don’t think Kobe should posthumously be seen as a hero. Please stop picking and choosing who you think should get a free pass with this garbage behaviour. It’s never ok and it needs to be called out. If you are someone who is able to see Chris D’Elia is awful because he’s a dogshit comedian, please also see it when someone is actually talented.
For fucks sake, and this really shouldn’t have to be said - but like maybe just don’t support comedians (or anyone) who have groomed children or assaulted anyone??? There are loads of great ones who haven’t! For example, because of what happened to me, I didn’t start dating until my twenties - so not only am I hilarious, but I have literally never gone near a teenager. What I am trying to say is, I know I'm sharing my life's greatest trauma here, but just watch my comedy, cheers.