Penn Badgley Says He Has ‘Literally Been Molested’ by Fans During ‘Gossip Girl’ Fame

penn badglet literally been molested gossip girl fans fame
Penn Badgley attends the ‘You’ series premiere celebration hosted by Lifetime in New York City on September 6, 2018. Mike Pont/Getty Images for A+E

UPDATE 9/11 at 2:20 p.m. ET: Badgley released a statement to Us Weekly to clarify his headline-making remarks: “The point of my comment was not to confess a personal trauma. 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. Depending on so many factors, it can range from conscious abuse to something very unconscious — and that is the point I was making, cautiously, in the context of a conversation about fanaticism and cultural norms which support manipulative or abusive behavior. These are the same norms which support predatory men, but not exclusively predatory men. They affect, and infect, us all.”

Original story below:

Penn Badgley’s role as a stalker on the new Lifetime drama You brought back memories of his own personal experience with obsessive fans during his years on Gossip Girl.

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“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,” the actor, 31, told The Daily Beast in an interview published on Saturday, September 8. “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 cautious not to compare his past with that of the leaders of the #MeToo movement, but he said he was inspired to come forward after hearing Terry Crews’ story. (The Brooklyn Nine-Nine star, 50, has accused Adam Venit of sexual assault, which the Hollywood agent has denied.)

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“You’re led as a man, particularly, that when it happens you should feel great about it,” Badgley said. “Particularly when it comes from someone who’s feasibly an object of your desire as well.”

penn badglet literally been molested gossip girl fans fame
Penn Badgley on the set of ‘Gossip Girl’ in New York City on September 24, 2012. DISCIULLO/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

The MOTHXR frontman said he hopes that You will start “necessary conversations” in the wake of #MeToo. He added, “I think it’s significant that a show like this is coming out now.”

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Badgley starred as Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl from 2007 to 2012 alongside Blake Lively (Serena van der Woodsen), Leighton Meester (Blair Waldorf), Chace Crawford (Nate Archibald) and Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass). The musician dated Lively, 31, on screen and in real life during their time on the show. He is now married to Domino Kirke, while she is wed to Ryan Reynolds.

Badgley told Us Weekly in July that fans will likely compare the CW teen drama with You “until season 3.” He added, “If I was hesitant about every time somebody would think I was Gossip Girl, I would never leave my home. I would never walk outside, I wouldn’t introduce myself to anybody under the age of 47. … I’m not terribly concerned about it because actually I believe in this show now.”

You airs on Lifetime Sundays at 10 p.m. ET.

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