Actor Bryan Callen charged with sexual assault and misconduct

<img class = "caas-img has preview" alt = "Bryan Callen, who can be seen here in 2015, is charged by four women with sexual inappropriateness. (Michael S. Schwartz / WireImage)"src ="–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTU2NA–/ / – ~ B / aDdBH3MD / "data-src /" /YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTU2NA–/–~B/aD01NjA7dz03MDA7c209MTthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg– /"/> Bryan Callen, who was seen here in 2015, is charged by four women with sexual inappropriateness. (Michael S. Schwartz / WireImage)

As soon as she saw his name, Katherine Fiore Tigerman broke out in a cold sweat. With a wet shirt, she flipped through her best friend's text messages, warning her that comedian Chris D & # 39; Elia was accused of dozens of women on Twitter for sexual misconduct. She had never seen the comic's stand-up. All she knew was that he was the best friend of Bryan Callen, a comedian and actor. And Callen, she had said for a long time, that those closest to her had once raped her.

Dazed, she logged on to Twitter to scan the allegations. She found that many of the tweets related not only to D & # 39; Elia's alleged wrongdoing, but also to that of his narrow circle of male comedians.

"My first thought was:" Will something happen to Bryan? "Tigerman recalled." When I read all the comments, I thought: here it comes. I've known how terrible this person has been for 20 years. And maybe I'm not the only one. "

In a statement to The Times, Callen relentlessly denied Tigerman's rape, saying that their meeting was mutually acceptable.

Tigerman is not the only woman who claims that Callen is sexually inappropriate with her. Since June 17, the day D'Elia started setting trends on social media, three other women have told The Times that they have been abused by Callen, 53, and have described unsettling sexual incidents that from personal injury to misconduct to annoying comments. Her stories suggest a pattern of behavior that spanned decades and dates back to at least 1999, when Callen, as Tigerman said, detained her and forced her to have sex when she asked him to stop.

In the years since, three women have claimed that the actor "The Goldbergs" continues to be both verbally and physically aggressive. An American Apparel saleswoman said Callen pinned her against a locker room wall in 2009 against her will and started kissing her. An aspiring actress who had a four-year affair with Callen during his marriage told her in 2016 that women have a "biological, original desire to be raped." A year later, a comedian said, he suggested giving him oral sex in return for stage time and money.

The story goes on

Callen denied all of these accounts. "Let me be very clear: I have never raped, forced myself on a woman or offered to exchange stage time for sex. NEVER, "he said in a statement to the Times." I know the truth. And all I can do is hold my head up, stay true to myself, my family, my audience and know that I will not allow the demolition culture to undermine what I know and what they know is the truth. "

In recent weeks, Callen has come to defend D & # 39; Elia, who said last month that he had only friendly relationships and did not "knowingly" persecute underage women. In a episode of his June 18 podcast, "The Fighter and the Kid," Callen described D & # 39; Elia as a "lady's man" whom he had "never seen or heard" while engaging in illegal activities. "And now I have to believe that because he's still a friend," he said.

<img class = "caas-img caas-lazy has preview" alt = "Bryan Callen, pictured in ABC's" Schooled ", left, and Chris D & # 39; Elia. (ABC / Getty Images)"src =" "data-src ="–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPtQ: // s.–~B/aD0xMDAwO3c9MTUwMDtzbT0xO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/ Chris D & # 39; Elia. (ABC / Getty Images)

Despite this claim, Callen had cleared his Instagram account of any traces of D & # 39; Elia within a few days. Previously, the comic had played his friendship in the app, which has 897,000 followers – about 1.4 million fewer than D & # 39; Elia. They performed together on stage in the Comedy Store, made stops at Joe Rogan's hugely popular podcast, and had even signed a contract this summer to do a prank show for Netflix. (The streaming network quietly scrapped plans for the documentaries after the headlines about D & # 39; Elia surfaced.)

Even Tigerman, who had been doing her best to avoid Callen since that night in 1999, was aware that Callen's friendship with D & # 39; was part of his public role. Every few years, against her better judgment, she said she would google his name, and most of the search results inevitably linked Callen to D & # 39; Elia.

When Tigerman first met him in 1994, Callen was not established as an actor or comedian. He was not yet in the opening season of "MADtv", the sketch comedy series that she would join four years after he left in 1997. He hadn't gotten roles in prestigious television shows like "Oz" or "Kingdom" or "Kingdom", in movies like "The Hangover" he scored cameos from his buddy, director Todd Phillips. And it would take years for him to appear regularly on the ABC family sitcom "The Goldbergs" and play a sports teacher and trainer who later became one of the main characters in the short-lived spin-off series "Schooled".

In fact, Tigerman's father, actor Bill Fiore, gave Callen one of his first acting appearances: a role in a New York theater production in the mid-1990s. Years later, when Tigerman moved to LA in 1999, she met Callen at a bank and he was excited about the prospect of leading the 23-year-old through the city. So they became friends, met for group evenings and exchanged stories about auditions. That spring she booked a television pilot, and Callen suggested taking her to a festive dinner in Chaya, the late industrial hub.

When he arrived to pick her up at her West Hollywood apartment, Callen immediately commented on her outfit, she said.

“I come down in these stupid jeans and a gray long-sleeved shirt and he says, 'What are you wearing a bra for? Girls don't wear bras. Pull it out! "Tigerman remembered, now 44. She laughed at it and they got into his car.

<img class = "caas-img caas-lazy has preview" alt = "Katherine Fiore Tigerman claims Bryan Callen raped her in 1999. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)"src =" "data-src ="–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTt// /uu/api/res/1.2/B10zYczwIsKe4wVhMcFA.Q–~B/aD0xNTAwO3c9MTAwMDtzbT0xO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/"/>Katherine Fiore Tigerman claimed that Bryan Callen raped in 1999 . (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

At dinner, she ordered a glass of wine and apologized for going to the bathroom. By the end of the meal, she had only consumed about half of the glass, but felt bad – bad and disoriented. Still, when Callen suggested going to a movie theater after dinner, she was obliged. Back in the car, he tried to find a newspaper kiosk where he could buy a newspaper to look up the seasons, but finally decided to stop at his home to do so.

In his house on the Sunset Strip, the two sat on the couch and Callen started kissing Tigerman. She felt uncomfortable and still felt sick, so she went to the bathroom.

“I remember looking in the mirror and saying, 'OK, you just have to tell him to take you home. It's not going well, ”said Tigerman. "I had to sit with him and have a conversation about how we were best friends and I was in love with another guy."

But when she came out of the toilet, she said, Callen was at the door immediately. He stepped behind her and stared at her in the mirror. "Look how hot you are. You could be a Playboy Playmate, ”she said, he told her.

Within a few moments, she said, she was in his bedroom, where he was pressing her onto the mattress. When he ran his hands over her body, she said, she kept saying "no". Her thoughts drifted to a crime series she'd recently seen on television, in which a woman repeated her name to her perpetrator to humanize herself.

"So I said: & # 39; I am Katherine. I am Katherine. Since I am. Please, that is not what I want to do," she said. "And he says:" You will love it. We will just get this out of the way. You will love it. You will be my friend. "

She felt powerless. If she screamed, she feared that no one would hear her from his private home. She didn't think she could escape under the weight of his body. So "check them out", finally stopped begging and remained silent.

So Callen doesn't remember the incident. He told The Times Thursday that Tigerman's allegation of rape was "demonstrably wrong" and said they "BOTH agreed to have sex".

Tigerman said that after the 1999 encounter ended, she immediately started crying and looking for her underwear. Her butt had been thrown to the floor where Callen's dog had chewed holes in her. He noticed her tears and tried to calm her down.

"Aw, come on. What am I, a big bad rapist? I'm not a big bad rapist, "she said." Come on, you'll be my friend now. We had to get this out of the way. "

Callen did not answer a question about this comment.

<img class = "caas-img caas-lazy-preview" alt = "Tigerman, now 44, said she felt inspired to talk about Callen after reading similar allegations about his friend Chris D & # 39; Elia . (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)"src =" "data-src ="–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoT: // s.–~B/aD0xMDAwO3c9MTUwMDtzbT0xO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/, to speak after reading similar allegations about his friend Chris D & # 39; Elia. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Tigerman told Callen that he had to drive her home, which he did. Back in her apartment, she called her best friend and then her friend Rino Romano, both of whom remembered their disturbed phone calls and confirmed Tigerman's account. Romano drove to her, but she was so annoyed that he didn't let him touch him.

"I just wanted to kill the guy," Romano recalled. "I tried to gently encourage her to do something about it, but she insisted that it was better to leave it behind."

Tigerman admitted that if he told anyone about the alleged incident, she threatened to part with Romano. She feared that if her father found out, he would deal with Callen physically and end up in prison. And the idea of ​​going to the police and submitting a rape set felt too physically invasive. So she went alone to get pregnancy and STD tests.

Finally, Callen stopped calling. But Tigerman continued to entrust those closest to her to the alleged attack. Within a year, she had shared the story with another actress. Her husband Gabriel Tigerman heard the story early in her advertising in 2006. And her best friend, actress Jenny Wade, found out about the incident in 2014. All three confirmed these reports in interviews with The Times.

When Callen's star opened, other women said, his brazen behavior continued. In 2009, Callen entered an American clothing store in Pittsburgh. Rachel Green, an employee there, had no idea who he was. But her colleagues recognized him and pulled up IMDb to show her his credits. The actor had now ventured to the second floor of the store – an area that required employee supervision. So Green pulled him up and helped him collect clothes that he wanted to try on. He was friendly, she said, even though he had come out of the locker room several times only with his boxer shorts.

The next day, Callen returned to the shop and asked Green again for help. This time he was wearing a speedo.

"It was one of those tight, rough little things," she said. "He ran out of the dressing room to grab something, so I went in to get the clothes he had already tried on. And then he comes in, presses me against the wall, closes the curtains, and starts to close my neck kiss when he asks me if I'm going to get into trouble. "

Shocked, Green said she pushed Callen away and ran down the stairs to tell her colleagues he was trying to mess around with her.

"I remember I didn't really take it seriously, which I honestly felt guilty about for a few years," said Lydia, a staff member who asked that her last name not be used. Lydia is one of two employees who told The Times that Green immediately informed them that something unpleasant had happened to Callen that day. "Since I would see him on TV over the years, I would say," That was really wrong, and I tried to make fun of it. "

Callen denied having ever forced herself on a woman.

<img class = "caas-img caas-lazy has preview" alt = "Bryan Callen will appear on KROQ's" Kevin & Beans April Foolishness "in 2018. (Timothy Norris / Getty Images)"src =" "data-src ="–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwT// /uu/api/res/1.2/fl5PUc3s_GtYIf0QvGmSgw–~B/aD0xMDAwO3c9MTUwMDtzbT0xO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/ 2018. (Timothy Norris / Getty Images)

Callen often played out his reputation as a self-proclaimed "dirt bag". In a 2016 episode of his podcast with comedian Whitney Cummings as a guest, Callen joked about how he had been sexually harassed since the beginning of her career. Cummings then revealed that after a comedy show, Callen had once asked for a drive home and pulled out his penis in her car. He said he didn't remember the incident, but "believe (d) her version of events".

"My definition of" creepy "is: If I like you, you will know it, in the front and in the middle," he said. "It's when guys somehow pull this gentleman thing and he's a really nice guy and then you see and he has his cock out. You're a serial killer. Be honest about your creepy stuff, of course I've always been."

Although Cummings laughed when she told the story of "The Fighter and the Kid", she also said that Callen was the type who "doesn't hear much" no … or you don't listen to it. You don't take it seriously. "

"I'm a rapist," answered Callen jokingly.

"I remember saying," Oh, I just have to have sex with him because he won't take a "no" answer. I'm just going to do that to make him go away, ”Cummings said on the show. She declined to comment on this article.

Callen, who described Cummings as a "good friend," said they "scolded ad nauseam about showing her my penis in my podcast, which is no secret for anyone at the time".

<img class = "caas-img caas-lazy-preview" alt = "Whitney Cummings, seen here with Chris D & # 39; Elia, a former Costar, against whom she spoke last month. (Associated Press)"src =" "data-src ="–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQ/ uu / api / res / 1.2 / DsqTAz3JpBlyHa0IvN1WBQ– ~ B / aD05NzM7dz0xNTAwO3NtPTE7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24- / https: //media.zenf57/5 Elia, a former Costar, spoke out against last month. (Associated Press)

Cummings was not the only comedian to remember a surprising experience with Callen. Tiffany King first met Callen when she appeared on the comedy circuit in Hollywood, and although he was always "sensitive" to her, she counted him as a friend. He had given her stage time before one of his appearances in Houston. When she lost her luck in 2017, she wrote his name on a list of contacts she could reach.

In the midst of a controversial divorce and struggle for custody of her daughter, King had sought financial support from colleagues. At the time, she was living in Pennsylvania and saw that Callen had a show within driving distance. When she arrived at the Helium Comedy Club, she approached Callen and started crying as she passed on her situation.

"He says," Are you taking drugs? "Said King." I don't understand you, Tiffany. You are a really beautiful woman. But there is something that is always wrong with you. You have to learn how to do it. "work with what you have. & # 39;”

He declined to offer King financial aid, but invited her to dinner after his show. She said they had eaten and then Callen asked if she could give him and his opening act a ride back to their Airbnb. About two minutes from the finish line, she said the opener – who bears the name Stevie Blue Eyes but is legally called Steve Pearson – asked to be let out of the car. King said she was committed and continued down the street to drop Callen. But instead of getting out of the vehicle, she asked, "How about that blowjob?"

"I'm not going to give you a blowjob for stage time," she replied.

"No, I'm giving you some money too," King said to her.

She said she rejected him and went home in tears. But in his statement to The Times, Callen denied ever offering to "trade stage time for sex." And Pearson – an ex-convict who had spent time in federal prison selling drugs – insisted that King drop him and Callen at the same time. "We got out at the same time and went upstairs," he said. "There was no separation. He was never alone with her."

But The Times spoke to two comedians who said King had told them about the same year incident. King also shared the experience in a solo exhibition that she performed in January.

"It was so humiliating," she said. “He was someone I looked up to as a comedian and who was in control of something I loved. If it had been another woman, she could have done it and killed herself the next day because she felt so terrible. "

<img class = "caas-img caas-lazy has-preview" alt = "Comedian Tiffany King, who says Bryan Callen asked her to give him oral sex in return for stage time and money. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)"src =" "data-src ="–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNT// /uu/api/res/1.2/fpUh8_LWVV2uBzLyCJ.K9g–~B/aD0xMDAwO3c9MTUwMDtzbT0xO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/"/>Comedian Tiffany King, Bryan Callen says she asked him oral sex to give in exchange for stage time and money. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

A young woman who had a four-year affair with Callen said that her illegal interactions with the comic felt so "devalued and demoralized" that her mental health suffered. Claire Ganshert was 23 when she met Callen when she was working in a barista in a New York café. It was 2012 and he was in town to make the film "My husband is a loser". When the actor entered the café, Ganshert recognized him immediately from an episode of "Sex & the City". When she served him, they had a conversation and revealed that she hoped to become an actress herself. He invited her to play after her shift, and she was thrilled, her eyes wide when she saw his companions in the flesh like John Stamos.

"The grandiosity of everything – I was so impressed and overwhelmed, and that carried over to Bryan," said Ganshert, now 31. "It started to fall in love on my part."

During the five weeks that Callen was filming in the city, he and Ganshert started a sexual relationship. She said that she did not yet know that he had been married since 2008.

After the film was over, Ganshert said, she and Callen continued to see each other in New York and Los Angeles. He told her that he wanted to help her with her career and gave her advice on securing parts.

"He said things like," If you go into an auditorium, you definitely can't wear an engagement ring. You have to make them think they can fuck you, "she said." I am a theater actor, but he kept telling me I had to be funny and create content based on me sexualizing myself. "

One of her associates at the time said she remembered thinking: "This guy is shabby." He is what, 40? It wasn't illegal, but she was an impressive, aspiring actress, ”said the friend, one of two who confirmed Ganshardt's report to The Times. "She was talking about him all the time. He brought her to things and he always said he would introduce her to a casting director or someone. It was this strange relationship where he was like a mentor, but they would meet. "

Nevertheless, Ganshert was so taken with "his extreme and aggressive energy" that she suppressed negative feelings. She once said during a visit to Philadelphia in 2016 that he had told her that women have a "biological, original desire to be raped." She didn't challenge him.

Callen said Ganshert's claims were false, arguing that she was "throwing mud" to "find her name in the press." He also noticed that she emailed him in 2019 apologizing for her unrelated misdeeds and promised to treat him with kindness and respect only. He didn't specify what wrongdoing he was referring to, but Ganshert said she apologized to him last year for showing the news of a friend Callen had sent her.

After she ended her sexual relationship with Callen in 2016, Ganshert said she saw a therapist who helped her realize that the comic was taking advantage of the dynamics of power between them.

"I was just a big-eyed girl who started out in the industry when he came in," said Ganshert. "There were moments that were so intense that it felt like he really saw me because of my sexuality, my mouth and my body. Now I see it for what it was. When I started talking, he didn't care what I had to say. No, he didn't expose me backstage – the things he did were more in the gray area. And I think this story is understandable. I'm not a victim, but I stand up for this 23-year-old girl by saying that a 45-year-old man should have known better. "

<img class = "caas-img caas-lazy has-preview" alt = "Tigerman hopes that speaking about her experience with Callen will encourage other women to feel less alone. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)"src =" "data-src ="–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTctN/ uu / api / res / 1.2 / blI9F9JFJQYMtgIv0QeQbQ– ~ B / aD0xMDAwO3c9MTUwMDtzbT0xO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u / https: // "/> Tigerman is confident to talk to Callen about their experiences will encourage other women to feel less alone. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Tigerman also said that she saw the act of speaking about Callen as an act of love for her younger self. As she navigated through Hollywood, she often came across memories of what had happened. After booking "MADtv", she showed up and still found Callen's nameplate on her door to the dressing room. A friend even convinced her not to rely on chemistry he had read for a television series because it was "just work".

In his statement, Callen pointed out that Tigerman had made several auditions to play his character's wife on a show "where we worked together every day for years".

"Rape victims don't," he said.

Tigerman, who only remembered auditioning with Callen once, said she was with a friend in Mel's dinner when her agents called to tell her about the chemistry she had read. She hung up, started to sob and told her friend that she couldn't work with a man whom she said had attacked her.

But her friend, also an actress, advised her "not to let (Callen) win. If you miss this job, he will win," she recalled.

"She said she was raped by an actor who was supposed to do a chemistry reading with him," the friend told The Times, although he said he no longer remembered the actor's name. "And I remember compelling her to go to the audition. I'm a very convincing person. I gave an Independence Day speech. & # 39; if you don't go, that person wins." Http:// "

Tigerman also had aging parents whose medical care she financed, and felt that she shouldn't miss the opportunity to perform. But when she auditioned, she said, she was so shaky and worried that she messed it up. She said she had never "stupidly" thought about the possibility of working with Callen permanently.

In fact, she didn't get the job. And finally she left acting – but not because of Callen.

During labor with her first child in 2013, Tigerman contracted an infection and suffered septic shock. She was put in a coma and given life support, her body had organ failure. During the three months she was in the hospital, doctors constantly nudged and nudged her body, which no longer felt like her own. The trauma of everything was aggravated by what Callen had done to her years ago, she said.

"When Bryan's name reappeared on Twitter last month for the first time in 20 years, I felt relieved," she said. "& # 39; Oh, I'm not alone in this. I finally feel powerful against him. & # 39; And if I could give this feeling to someone else, it would be great."