Penn Badgley Clarifies Claim That He was 'Molested' During 'Gossip Girl' Fame
By Rachel McRady
Penn Badgley felt he needed to further explain himself after a remark he made about being "molested" during his Gossip Girl days started getting picked up by multiple news outlets.
"The point of my comment was not to confess a personal trauma," he said in a statement to People. "I was speaking about the way emotional and physical boundaries are violated for someone in the public eye, who is seen as an object of desire."
In his interview with the Daily Beast, Badgley -- who is currently portraying a dark and disturbed stalker on Lifetime’s You -- recalled portraying heartthrob Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl and how some of the show’s fans had what he called a "pretty full-on obsession” with him.
"I think as an actor you can become an object of desire, which is something women are already accustomed to more or less around the world,” he said. "I’ve definitely been, I mean I don’t want to sound sensationalist, but I’ve literally been molested -- just in the literal sense of the word -- by many people in the moment. Because that’s what they do.”
Badgley was careful not to compare his experiences to some of the women in the #MeToo movement, but did say that the story of Terry Crews coming forward after an alleged assault inspired him.
"You’re led as a man, particularly, that when it happens you should feel great about it,” he said of unwanted advances. "Particularly when it comes from someone who’s feasibly an object of your desire as well.”
The often private actor noted in the interview that he was pleased that You is coming out at this pivotal time.
"I think it’s significant that a show like this is coming out now, because if it had come out any other time, we might not have have been having these necessary conversations around it,” he explained. "And we might have been all too ready to consume something that I think actually has some really dangerous seeds in it.”