Stand-up comedian and actor Bryan Callen, known for playing high school gym teacher Rick Mellor on The Goldbergs, has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by four women. The allegations, which range from assault to misconduct to inappropriate comments, span over two decades, according to a Los Angeles Times investigation.
Callen, who appeared regularly on ABC’s The Goldbergs and on its now-canceled spin-off Schooled, will not be returning to The Goldbergs for Season 8, according to Variety. The trade reports that sources say Callen’s absence in the upcoming season is due to plot reasons and not the sexual allegations leveled against him. TV Guide has reached out to ABC for comment.
Allegations against Callen go back to 1999, when former MADtv cast member Katherine Fiore Tigerman told the L.A. Times she was raped by Callen. A former American Apparel employee named Rachel Green gave an account of Callen attempting to force himself on her in a fitting room in 2009, during which he pinned her to a wall and kissed her neck. Claire Ganshert, with whom Callen had a four-year affair with while he was married, said Callen once told her in 2016 that women have a “biological, primal desire to be raped.” Another comedian, Tiffany King, alleged that Callen offered her stage time at a comedy club they both performed at, as well as money, for sexual favors as recently as 2017.
In a statement to the L.A. Times, Callen denied the allegations. “Let me be very clear: I have never raped, forced myself upon any woman nor offered to trade stage time for sex. EVER,” said Callen. In the statement, which can be read in full below, he called Tigerman’s rape allegations “demonstrably false” and referred to Ganshert’s allegations as “mud-slinging.”
Tigerman said she felt compelled to speak out after Callen’s friend, actor and comedian Chris D’Elia, was accused of sexual misconduct in June. (D’Elia has denie the allegations.) Tigerman told the L.A. Times that she felt “relief” when Callen’s name surfaced alongside D’Elia’s, saying she realized, “‘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.” King added that her experience with Callen was, “So humiliating. 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.”
Read Callen’s full statement:
“Let me be very clear: I have never raped, forced myself upon any woman nor offered to trade stage time for sex. EVER. Yes my friend Whitney Cummings and I have ranted ad nauseum about showing her my penis on my podcast, which in no secret to anyone at this point anywhere. As to the woman who claims I raped her 21 years ago: that is demonstrably false. Katherine Fiore and I went on a date. We went to my place. We got intimate and began to have sex at which point she looked at me and said, ‘Wait, I don’t want to just be a one night stand.’ I immediately stopped and we spoke about her expectations and our 5 year friendship. Several days later Katherine called me and we recapped our evening and hung up as friends. In 2001, she did multiple auditions to play the role of my wife in a television show that would have had us working together every day for years. That is not what rape victims do. And her actions speak volumes.”
“Equally false is the mud-slinging from a woman whom I had a prior relationship with, seemingly determined to get her name in the press. While there were years of friendly texts and emails exchanges, taking me up on career introductions or her asking to join me at shows, I was clearly not a power player, although her dark false accusations try to paint a different picture. She must have forgotten about the recent email she sent me apologizing for her unrelated misdeeds and promising going forward to only treat me with kindness and respect. 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 these women know, is the truth.”