Amid many women coming forward with stories about sexual harassment and assault, actress and comedian Charlyne Yi shared her story on social media about a man in show business with a higher status who made her feel small. Earlier this week, she recounted her first interaction with David Cross, a more established comedian who is 20 years her senior, which took an offensive turn.
“I think about the first time I met David Cross ten years ago & he made fun of my pants (that were tattered because I was poor),” the House actress wrote on Twitter. “Dumbfounded I stared at him speechless and he said to me ‘what’s a matter? You don’t speak English?? Ching-chong-ching-chong.’” She continued, “Then after he saw I was offended he asked me if I was going to fight with him karate in a southern accent.”
Yi went on to point out that at the time of this alleged incident she was 20 years old. She added, “I sure as hell hope he’s changed (or at the very least, he’s scared enough to not be his racist self).”
David Cross responded to the allegations with his own post, writing:
I would never intentionally hurt someone like that. I do not remember doing this when I met her. I do remember meeting her though. She was the then girlfriend of a good friend of mine and we were about to start working on a movie together. I am NOT accusing Charlene [sic] of lying and I’m truly sorry if I hurt her, it was never my intention to do that.
Cross, however, did express doubts about the events that transpired during their first meeting, adding, “I reached out to her privately and expressed that and more, including the possibility that perhaps we are both misremembering *exactly* what happened that night?” He ended the note by defending his character: “I can’t believe I have to write this but I am not a racist nor a bully and loathe them in real life.”
Update: In two additional tweets, Cross put forth his own theory for what happened that night: He was probably doing his “Southern redneck character.”
Update: David Cross’s wife, actress Amber Tamblyn, has defended him on Twitter after a user mentioned her in a tweet criticizing him. “He said he was sorry, publicly, several times,” she tweeted. “Please don’t @ me in conversations dragging my husband. Thanks.”