Bryan Callen is vowing not to "lay low" as he faces allegations of sexual misconduct — though he acknowledges that he will take a leave of absence from his podcast.
In an impassioned video posted to his Instagram account Sunday, Callen categorically denied all the allegations. He said that despite advice to the contrary, he would not "post a statement and disappear" after four women told The Times that they had been mistreated by the comedian. One of the women, Katherine Fiore Tigerman, said that in 1999, Callen held her down on his bed as she pleaded "no" and raped her. One woman said he pinned her into a fitting room and kissed her against her will, another said he solicited oral sex in exchange for stage time, and the fourth said Callen told her that women have a "biological, primal desire to be raped."
"I never thought in a million years that I'd be sitting here defending myself for something I did not do 21 years ago," Callen said, referring to Tigerman's allegation. He later added: "I have been characterized as someone that no one, no one who knows me — not my friends, not my family, not my fans — would ever recognize. And that's because that is not who I am. That is not something I could do — those are not things that I would ever do. That is not how I ever lived my life."
Callen added that he would "obviously" be taking a leave of absence from his podcast, "The Fighter and the Kid," which is cohosted by former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub. Colin Thomson, chief executive of Kast Media, the company that hosts the podcast, said he had no comment on the allegations.
Callen's Instagram video comes after the 53-year-old said Friday — the day The Times published its investigation — that he would release a "special Saturday night edition" of his podcast to address the accusations. The podcast never materialized, and the idea was derided by some high-profile figures on Twitter, including "Black Monday" comedian Yassir Lester, who said, "LMAO WHAT?!? You’re addressing the rape allegations against you in a special edition of your podcast?!? He bout to LIE LIE."
LMAO WHAT?!? You’re addressing the rape allegations against you in a special edition of your podcast?!? He bout to LIE LIE https://t.co/edmOWx3ySN
— Yassir Lester (@Yassir_Lester) August 1, 2020
Responding to Lester's tweet, Chrissy Teigen joked: "Where else would you get an honest, unbiased opinion than your own podcast."
On Instagram, Callen said he believes that the #MeToo movement is important because "it gives women recourse against the abuse of power." But, he added, he also believes in due process and dislikes the idea that "social media and the press, alone, can act as judge, jury and executioner.
"And I don't think that's good for anybody. And by the way, I don't know how to fix that. I don't think anybody in particular is even to blame. But when something like this happens, this is pretty much the only way you can defend yourself. So this is me standing up and saying that I have been falsely accused of terrible things that I did not do."