In a time where society is literally changing due to a global pandemic, apparently, our mindsets are still stagnant. That is what is very clear to me when we see the Whitney Cummings is being blamed for what her co-star, Chris D’Elia did. Why? Well, misogyny seems to be the clear answer here. Here are the many reasons why that is wrong and totally counterproductive to solve the issue of sexual harassment in Hollywood.
Chris D’Elia’s predatory behavior is his own fault
It seems that it would be a pretty easy concept for people to understand. But alas, it’s hard to fight the ingrained gender norms and old misogynistic views. It has come to light that Chris D’Elia was harassing underage girls. Some of the girls were at just the age of 16. Many of the victims recall that Chris D’Elia often tried to solicit nude pictures of them. Most of Hollywood is calling him out on this and he was even dropped by the CAA.
Chris himself denies these accusations:
“I know I have said and done things that might have offended people during my career, but I have never knowingly pursued any underage women at any point. All of my relationships have been both legal and consensual and I have never met or exchanged any inappropriate photos with the people who have tweeted about me. That being said, I really am truly sorry. I was a dumb guy who ABSOLUTELY let myself get caught up in my lifestyle. That’s MY fault. I own it. I’ve been reflecting on this for some time now and I promise I will continue to do better.”
Whitney Cummings responds to the news
Whitney was obviously heartbroken at hearing Chris D’Elia’s sexual harassment news. After a few days she responded to the whole event saying this:
“It’s taken me a couple of days to process the information I have learned about Chris. I’m devastated and enraged by what I’ve read and learned. This is a pattern of predatory behavior. This abuse of power is enabled by silence. Now that I’m aware, I won’t be silent. Girls should be able to be a fan of a comedian they admire without becoming a sexual target. It’s the adult’s responsibility to be an adult.”
Why is Whitney Cummings getting the heat?
Shortly after Whitney’s post, fans started to throw the heat at her. Whitney Cummings has worked with Chris D’Elia over the past. He was her love interest in her own sitcom ‘Whitney’ and they were even close friends.
Some people are convinced that Whitney knew that this happening behind the scenes and did nothing to stop it. One fan on Twitter wrote:
Whitney, all due respect, but you’ve been best friends with Chris for years and years… parties and tours and events together… how can you expect us to believe you weren’t aware? Especially when his other friends (Brian callen, the weird guy with the mullet) are pigs too?
When another fan commented that Whitney would not have known about it, this was shown as proof that Whitney might have:
Some even compared comedians acting like cops and enabling problematic behavior of each other:
Comedians need to stop protecting & enabling each other. Basically acting like cops..
Secondly, Whitney Cummings has evolved as a comedienne and has often incorporated feminism in her comedy and professional work. It is for this reason people are blaming Whitney Cummings for not stopping Chris harassing underage girls. One person wrote how adult women let this predatory behavior happen:
Can’t imagine how hard the last few years have been for the minors or teenagers who had their whole view of the world and their own identities shaped by predatory behavior and the silence of adult women around them that made them feel that this was normal and OK.
Whitney Cummings responds to the accusations
In response to the heat she is getting, Whitney responded to the matter. She shared one of the snippets of her Netflix Comedy Special:
— Whitney Cummings (@WhitneyCummings) June 23, 2020
In the snippet, we see Whitney Cummings recalling her own experience when a really old person tried to harass her. She explained that when you get harassed at a young age, you may not understand what’s happening to you until much later in life. She also shared a clever tip in fighting the harassment from really old men. You just pretend the old man is having a medical emergency and get out of there.
In another tweet, the comedian shares:
I’m talking to a lot of female comics who are being accused of “knowing” about predatory behavior. Dudes don’t show us their phones at work. Everyone must be 21 to enter a comedy club. Women should not have to take on the blame, guilt, and consequences of mens behavior?
This is proof that Whitney Cummings did not have an idea that Chris D’Elia was messaging underage girls and harassing them. So, Whitney is someone who has strong principles of feminism, and her entire Netflix comedy special, Can I Touch It, had a strong focus on her experience as a woman to showcase gender inequality. It doesn’t make sense for her to associate with Chris D’Elia had she known about the behavior. She would have also called him out on it.
Blaming Whitney for something she didn’t do is counterproductive
So, it is clear that Whitney Cummings was not aware of the harassment taking place from Chris D’Elia. She is denying it. Why then must we always be quick to put the blame on the woman and not the man?
It’s the same case when a married man cheats on his wife, people paint the mistress as some sort of seductress villainess who manipulated a very gullible man. Or, sometimes we blame the wife for forcing the husband to go and cheat on his wife. In every scenario, society is stuck on finding ways to blame the woman.
Let me ask you this. Did Whitney Cummings sexually harass underage girls or boys? No. Did she know that Chris did? As per her, no. Is she someone who is against sexual harassment and assault? Yes. Is she a feminist that fights for equality for women and shares her experience as a woman to raise awareness about the problems? Yes. Then why are we blaming her?
It’s high time then we shift the blame to where it is supposed to be at. Chris D’Elia himself. He made the conscious decisions of messaging multiple underage girls and using his fame and power to sexually harass them.
Instead, raise awareness about sexual harassment and donate to charities that are fighting this issue
This would be a different article if Whitney Cummings had known about the predator behavior of Chris D’Elia. But, in either case, I personally feel we should raise awareness about these issues and fight them rationally.
It’s perfectly understandable to feel angry when you realize the young girls will have to face traumatic memories for the rest of their lives due to Chris D’Elia. But you can do something substantial about it and share resources to fight sexual harassment. Moreover, you can also donate to organizations fighting these issues.
You can find information on anti-sexual assault and sexual harassment agencies here:
You can read Bustle’s article listing organizations that fight sexual harassment here. Some examples are:
1) RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): Provides information, resources, and support for the survivors. There’s also a hotline and 24/7 live chat. You can donate to them on their official website.
2) No More: A coalition endeavoring to prevent sexual violence. You can purchase their NO MORE products and the money goes to charities working for prevention.