Penn Badgley reacted to the sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against his You co-star Chris D’Elia, telling the Los Angeles Times that he was “very troubled by it.” D’Elia was accused of sexual harassment, including soliciting nude photos from minors, by multiple women last week. He also played a predatory comedian named Henderson who similarly exploited underage girls on You’s second season. Speaking on the Los Angeles Times’ Can’t Stop Watching podcast, Badgley said, “It did affect me deeply. I was very troubled by it. I am very troubled by it. I don’t know Chris. I know that, if there’s anything we need to do in this age, it’s to believe women.” Badgley also revealed that You producers had contacted 17-year-old actress Jenna Ortega, who played a teenager victimized by D’Elia’s Henderson on You’s second season, after the allegations against D’Elia broke last week. “The first thing our producers did was reach out to Jenna, who played Ellie, the girl opposite Chris in those scenes, just to make sure she felt safe. We can feel safe and sound there,” Badgley said.
Badgley has been open in the past about his discomfort with portraying You’s main character, Joe Goldberg, a murderous psychopath who nonetheless developed an avid fanbase among the show’s viewers. “The idea that a show like ours would indirectly, unwittingly be a haven for people who are abusive is disturbing. It’s very disturbing,” Badgley continued on Can’t Stop Watching. “Does a show like ours help to create that culture? Well, I know that at least our show … thinks about things in a dismantling, deconstructive manner. I would hope that at least our show is not serving to uphold these kind of, like, bunk ways of being and these systems, right?”