Bryan Callen, seen right here in 2015, is being accused of sexual impropriety by 4 ladies. (Michael S. Schwartz / WireImage)
As quickly as she noticed his identify, Katherine Fiore Tigerman broke out in a chilly sweat. Her shirt damp, she scrolled by the textual content messages from her greatest good friend alerting her that comic Chris D’Elia was being accused of sexual misconduct by scores of girls on Twitter. She’d by no means watched the comedian’s stand-up. She simply knew that he was the perfect good friend of Bryan Callen, a fellow comic and actor. And Callen, she’d lengthy informed these closest to her, had as soon as raped her.
Lightheaded, she logged onto Twitter to scan the allegations. She discovered that lots of the tweets referred not simply to D’Elia’s supposed misconduct however to that of his tight circle of male comedians.
“My first thought was: ‘Is something going to happen with Bryan?’” Tigerman recalled. “Reading all the comments, I thought: Here it comes. I’ve known how terrible this person is for 20 years. And maybe I’m not the only one.”
In a press release to The Times, Callen adamantly denied raping Tigerman and mentioned that their encounter was consensual.
Tigerman is just not the one girl to say that Callen was sexually inappropriate along with her. Since June 17 — the day that D’Elia began trending on social media — three further ladies informed The Times that they’d been mistreated by Callen, 53, describing troubling sexual incidents starting from assault to misconduct to disturbing feedback. Their tales counsel a sample of conduct that spans many years, going again no less than so far as 1999, when, Tigerman mentioned, Callen held her down and compelled her to have intercourse with him as she pleaded with him to cease.
In the years since, three ladies claimed, “The Goldbergs” actor continued to be each verbally and bodily aggressive. An American Apparel saleswoman mentioned that in 2009, Callen pinned her towards the wall of a becoming room towards her will and commenced to kiss her. An aspiring actress who had a four-year affair with Callen whereas he was married mentioned he informed her in 2016 that ladies have a “biological, primal desire to be raped.” One 12 months later, a feminine comic mentioned, he prompt she give him oral intercourse in change for stage money and time.
Callen denied all of those accounts. “Let me be very clear: I have never raped, forced myself upon any woman nor offered to trade stage time for sex. EVER,” he said in a statement to the Times. “I know the truth. And I can only hold my head up high, remain true to myself, my family, my audience and know that I will not allow the cancel culture to subvert what I know and as importantly, what they know, is the truth.”
In latest weeks, Callen has come to the protection of D’Elia, who mentioned final month that he’d solely ever had consensual relationships and hadn’t “knowingly” pursued underage females. On a June 18 episode of his podcast, “The Fighter and the Kid,” Callen described D’Elia as a “ladies’ man” whom he’d “never seen or heard” participating in criminality. “And right now I have to believe that, because he’s still a friend,” he mentioned.
Despite that assertion, inside days, Callen had scrubbed his Instagram account of any hint of D’Elia. Previously, the comedian had performed up their friendship on the app, the place he has 897,000 followers — about 1.four million fewer than D’Elia. They appeared onstage collectively on the Comedy Store, did stints on Joe Rogan’s massively well-liked podcast and had even closed a deal this summer season to make a prank present for Netflix. (The streaming community quietly scrapped plans for the docuseries after the headlines about D’Elia surfaced.)
Even Tigerman, who’d tried her greatest to keep away from Callen since that evening in 1999, was conscious that Callen’s friendship with D’Elia was a part of his public persona. Every few years, she mentioned — towards her higher judgment — she’d Google his identify, and inevitably many of the search outcomes linked Callen to D’Elia.
When Tigerman first met him in 1994, Callen was not established as an actor or comic. He had but to be solid on the inaugural season of “MADtv,” the sketch comedy sequence she herself would be part of 4 years after his departure in 1997. He hadn’t landed roles on prestigious tv reveals like “Oz” or “Kingdom” or scored cameos from his pal, director Todd Phillips, in movies like “The Hangover.” And it will be years earlier than he turned a sequence common on the ABC household sitcom “The Goldbergs,” taking part in a health club instructor and coach who was later one of many fundamental figures on the short-lived spinoff sequence “Schooled.”
In truth, Tigerman’s father, actor Bill Fiore, gave Callen one among his first appearing gigs: a job in a mid-’90s New York City theater manufacturing. Years later, when Tigerman moved to L.A. in 1999, she bumped into Callen at a financial institution and he expressed pleasure on the prospect of displaying the 23-year-old round city. So they turned associates, assembly up at group dinners and buying and selling tales about auditions. That spring, she booked a tv pilot, and Callen prompt he take her out to a celebratory dinner at Chaya, the late trade hang-out.
When he arrived to choose her up at her West Hollywood condominium, Callen instantly commented on her outfit, she mentioned.
“I come downstairs in these dumb jeans and a gray long sleeve shirt and he goes, ‘What are you wearing a bra for? Girls don’t wear bras. Take it off!’” recalled Tigerman, now 44. She laughed it off they usually bought in his automobile.
At dinner, she ordered a glass of wine and excused herself to go to the restroom. By the tip of the meal, she’d consumed solely about half the glass however felt off — nauseous and disoriented. Still, when Callen prompt they head to a movie show after dinner, she obliged. Back within the automobile, he tried to discover a newsstand the place he may buy a paper to search for showtimes however finally determined to cease at his home to take action.
At his home above the Sunset Strip, the 2 sat down on the sofa and Callen started kissing Tigerman. She was uncomfortable and nonetheless felt sick, so she went to the lavatory.
“I remember looking in the mirror and being, like, ‘OK, you just have to tell him to take you home. This isn’t going right,’” Tigerman mentioned. “I needed to sit with him and have a conversation about how we were best buds and I was in love with another dude.”
But when she emerged from the restroom, she mentioned, Callen was instantly exterior the doorway. He moved behind her, observing her within the mirror. “Look how hot you are. You could be a Playboy Playmate,” she mentioned he informed her.
Within moments, she mentioned, she discovered herself in his bed room, the place he pushed her down on the mattress. As he ran his arms over her physique, she mentioned, she stored saying “no.” Her thoughts drifted to a criminal offense present she’d lately seen on TV by which a girl repeated her identify aloud to her abuser in an try and humanize herself to him.
“So I said, ‘I’m Katherine. I’m Katherine. It’s me. Please, this is not what I want to be doing right now,’” she mentioned. “And he’s like, ‘You’re gonna love this. We’re just going to get this out of the way. You’re going to love this. You’re going to be my girlfriend.”
She felt powerless. If she screamed, she feared nobody would hear her from his personal home. She didn’t suppose she may escape from underneath the burden of his physique. So she “checked out,” ultimately ceasing her pleading and remaining silent.
This is just not how Callen remembers the incident. He pressured to The Times on Thursday that Tigerman’s declare of rape is “demonstrably false,” saying they’d “BOTH agreed to have sex.”
Tigerman mentioned that after the 1999 encounter was over, she instantly started crying and looking for her underwear. Her bottoms had been thrown on the bottom, the place Callen’s canine had chewed holes in them. Noticing her tears, he tried to calm her down.
“Aw, come on. What am I, a big bad rapist? I’m not a big bad rapist,’” she mentioned he informed her. “Come on, you’re gonna be my girlfriend now. We needed to get this out of the way.”
Callen didn’t reply to a query about this remark.
Tigerman informed Callen that he wanted to drive her home, which he did. Back at her condominium, she known as her greatest good friend after which her boyfriend, Rino Romano, each of whom remembered her distraught cellphone calls and corroborated Tigerman’s account. Romano drove to be along with her however she was so upset she wouldn’t let him contact her.
“I just wanted to kill the guy,” Romano recalled. “I tried to gently encourage her to do something about it, but she insisted it was better to put it behind her.”
Indeed, Tigerman acknowledged, she threatened to interrupt up with Romano if he informed anybody in regards to the alleged incident. She feared that if her father discovered, he would get right into a bodily altercation with Callen and find yourself in jail. And the thought of going to the cops and submitting a rape package felt too bodily invasive. So she went alone to get being pregnant and STD exams.
Eventually, Callen stopped calling. But Tigerman would go on to open up to these closest to her in regards to the alleged assault. Within a 12 months, she had shared the story with a fellow actress. Her husband, Gabriel Tigerman, heard the story early on of their courtship in 2006. And her greatest good friend, actress Jenny Wade, realized in regards to the incident in 2014. All three confirmed these accounts in interviews with The Times.
As Callen’s star rose, different ladies mentioned, his brazen conduct continued. In 2009, Callen walked into an American Apparel retailer in Pittsburgh. Rachel Green, an worker there, had no concept who he was. But her colleagues acknowledged him and pulled up IMDb to indicate her his credit. The actor, in the meantime, had ventured to the second flooring of the shop — an space that required worker supervision. So Green trailed him upstairs and helped him collect garments he needed to attempt on. He was pleasant, she mentioned, although he did emerge from the becoming room sporting solely his boxer briefs quite a few instances.
The following day, Callen returned to the shop and once more requested Green’s assist. This time, he was sporting a Speedo.
“It was one of those tight gross little things,” she mentioned. “He ran out of the fitting room to grab something, so I went in to get the clothes he’d already tried on. And then he comes in, pushes me against the wall, closes the curtains and starts kissing my neck as he asks me if I’m going to get in trouble.”
Shocked, Green mentioned she pushed Callen off of her and ran downstairs, telling her colleagues he’d simply tried to make out along with her.
“I remember not really taking it seriously, which is something I have felt guilty about, frankly, for a couple of years,” mentioned Lydia, a co-worker who requested that her final identify not be used. Lydia is one among two co-workers who informed The Times that Green instantly informed them one thing untoward had occurred with Callen that day. “As I’d see him on TV over the years, I’d be like, ‘That was really not OK, and I tried to laugh it off.’”
Callen denied ever forcing himself on any girl.
Callen typically performed up his repute as a self-proclaimed “dirtbag.” In a 2016 episode of his podcast that includes comic Whitney Cummings as a visitor, Callen joked about how he’d been sexually harassing her since early in her profession. Cummings then revealed that Callen had as soon as requested for a journey home after a comedy present and pulled his penis out in her automobile. He mentioned he didn’t keep in mind the incident however nonetheless “believe[d] her version of events.”
“My definition on ‘creepy’ is that if I’m into you, you’re gonna know it, front and center,” he mentioned. “It’s when guys kind of pull this gentleman thing and he’s being a really nice guy and then you look and he’s got his dick out. You’re a serial killer. Be honest about your creepy. Which, of course, I’ve always been.”
Though Cummings was laughing as she recounted the story on “The Fighter and the Kid,” she additionally mentioned she gleaned that Callen was the kind of man who does “not hear ‘no’ a lot … or you don’t listen to it. You don’t take it seriously.”
“I’m a rapist,” Callen replied in jest.
“I remember being like, ‘Oh, I’m just going to have to have sex with him because he’s not going to take ‘no’ for an answer. I’m just gonna do this to get him to go away,’” mentioned Cummings on the present. She declined to remark for this text.
Callen, who described Cummings as a “good friend,” mentioned that they’d “ranted ad nauseam about showing her my penis on my podcast, which is no secret to anyone at this point anywhere.”
Cummings was not the one feminine comic who remembers a shocking expertise with Callen. Tiffany King first met Callen whereas acting on the comedy circuit in Hollywood, and although he was all the time “touchy feely” along with her, she counted him as a good friend. He’d given her stage time earlier than one among his gigs in Houston, so when she discovered herself down on her luck in 2017, she put his identify on a listing of contacts to reach out to.
In the midst of a contentious divorce and preventing for custody of her daughter, King had been looking for monetary support from colleagues. At the time, she was living in Pennsylvania, and noticed that Callen had a present inside driving distance. When she arrived on the Helium Comedy Club, she approached Callen and commenced crying as she relayed her state of affairs.
“He goes, ‘Are you on drugs?’” King said. “‘I don’t understand you, Tiffany. You’re a really beautiful woman. But there’s something that’s always been off about you. You need to learn how to work with what you’ve got.’”
He declined to offer King monetary help but invited her out to dinner after his show. She said they ate and then Callen asked if she could give him and his opening act a ride back to their Airbnb. About two minutes from the destination, she said the opener — who goes by the name Stevie Blue Eyes but is legally named Steve Pearson — asked to be let out of the car. King said she obliged and continued down the road to drop off Callen. But instead of getting out of the vehicle, she said, he asked: “How about that blow job?”
“I’m not going to give you a blow job for stage time,” she responded.
“No, I’ll give you some money too,” King said he told her.
She said she rebuffed him and drove home in tears. But in his statement to The Times, Callen denied ever offering to “commerce stage time for intercourse.” And Pearson — an ex-convict who spent time in federal prison for selling drugs — insisted that King dropped him and Callen off simultaneously. “We bought out on the identical time and went upstairs,” he said. “There was no separation. He was by no means alone along with her.”
But The Times spoke to two female comedians who said King told them each about the incident that same year. King also shared the experience in a one-woman show she performed in January.
“It was so humiliating,” she said. “He was somebody I looked up to as a comedian who had control over something I loved. If it had been another woman, she could have done it and killed herself the next day because she felt so horrible.”
A young woman who had a four-year affair with Callen said she felt so “devalued and demoralized” by her illicit interactions with the comic that her mental health suffered. Claire Ganshert was 23 when she met Callen while working at a barista at a New York City coffee shop. It was 2012, and he was in town filming the movie “My Man Is a Loser.” When the actor walked into the cafe, Ganshert recognized him immediately from an episode of “Sex & the City.” As she served him, they struck up a conversation and she revealed that she was hoping to become an actress herself. He invited her to set after her shift, and she was thrilled, her eyes wide as she saw his costars like John Stamos in the flesh.
“The grandiosity of it all — I was so starstruck and beside myself, and that transferred to Bryan,” said Ganshert, now 31. “It started an infatuation on my part.”
During the five weeks Callen was in town filming, he and Ganshert began a sexual relationship. She said she was not yet aware that he had been married since 2008.
After the movie wrapped, 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, offering her advice on how to secure parts.
“He would say things like, ‘When you go into an audition room, you definitely can’t wear an engagement ring. You need to make them think they can fuck you,’” she said. “I’m a theater actor, but he kept telling me I needed to be funny and create content based off of me sexualizing myself.”
One of her co-workers at the time said she remembered thinking: “‘This guy is sleazy.’ He’s, what, 40? It wasn’t illegal, but she was an impressionable, aspiring actor,” said the friend, one of two who confirmed Ganshert’s account to The Times. “She talked about him all the time. He brought her to things, and he’d always say he’d introduce her to a casting director or somebody. It was this weird relationship where he was sort of like a mentor but they would hook up.”
Still, Ganshert was so taken with “his extreme and aggressive energy” that she pushed down any negative feelings. Once, during a 2016 visit in Philadelphia, she said he told her that women have a “biological, primal desire to be raped.” She did not challenge him.
Callen said Ganshert’s claims were false, arguing that she was “mud-slinging” in an attempt to “get her identify within the press.” He also noted that in 2019, she wrote him an email “apologizing for her unrelated misdeeds and promising going ahead to solely deal with [him] with kindness and respect.” He did not specify what misdeeds he was referring to, but Ganshert said she did apologize to him last year for once showing a friend messages that Callen sent her.
After ending her sexual relationship with Callen in 2016, Ganshert said she began seeing a therapist who helped her realize that the comic took advantage of the power dynamic between them.
“I was just a wide-eyed girl starting out in the industry when he swooped in,” Ganshert said. “There were these moments that were so intense, where it felt like he was really seeing me for my sexuality and my mouth and my body. Now, I see that for what it was. When I would start talking, he didn’t care what I had to say. No, he didn’t expose himself to me backstage — the things he did were more in the gray area. And I think that story is relatable. I am not a victim but I’m standing up for that 23-year-old girl by saying that a 45-year-old man should have known better.”
Tigerman, too, said she views the act of speaking out about Callen as an act of love for her younger self. As she navigated Hollywood, she often encountered reminders of what had happened. After booking “MADtv,” she turned up to find Callen’s nameplate still on her dressing room door. A friend even convinced her not to bail on a chemistry read with him for a television series because it was “just work.”
In his statement, Callen pointed out that Tigerman did multiple auditions to play his character’s wife on a show “that may have had us working collectively on daily basis for years.”
“That is just not what rape victims do,” he said.
Tigerman, who only remembered auditioning with Callen once, said she was at Mel’s Diner with a friend when her agents called her to tell her about the chemistry read. She hung up, began sobbing and told her friend she could not work with a man who she said assaulted her.
But her friend, also an actor, advised her to “not let [Callen] win. If you miss out on this job, then he wins,” she recalled.
“She mentioned she was raped by an actor she was purported to do a chemistry learn with,” the friend told The Times, although he said he no longer remembered the name of the actor. “And I keep in mind forcing her to go to the audition. I’m a really persuasive individual. I gave an Independence Day speech. ‘By you not going, that individual wins.'”
Tigerman also had aging parents whose medical care she was financing, and felt like she shouldn’t pass up the opportunity for a gig. But at the audition, she said, she was so shaky and anxious that she botched it. She said she “stupidly” never considered the possibility that she might end up working with Callen on a permanent basis.
Indeed, she didn’t get the job. And eventually, she left acting — though not because of Callen.
In 2013, while in labor with her first child, Tigerman contracted an an infection and went into septic shock. She was positioned in a coma and placed on life assist, her physique in organ failure. During the three months she spent within the hospital, docs continuously poked and prodded her physique, which not felt like her personal. The trauma of all of it was “compounded” by what Callen had carried out to her years earlier, she mentioned.
“So when Bryan’s name started coming up on Twitter last month, for the first time in 20 years, I started feeling relief,” she mentioned. “’Oh, I’m not by myself in this. I finally feel powerful against him.’ And if I can give that feeling to somebody else, that would be great.”