Bryan Callen gives up effort to sue husband of woman who claims comedian raped her

Bryan Callen
Bryan Callen, seen in 2018, has asked L.A. Superior Court to dismiss a lawsuit he filed against Gabriel Tigerman. (Timothy Norris/Getty Images)

Bryan Callen has abandoned his quest to sue the husband of a woman who says the comedian raped her.

On Monday, Callen’s attorney filed a request asking the Los Angeles Superior Court to dismiss Callen’s lawsuit against Gabriel Tigerman, whose wife, Katherine Fiore Tigerman, claims that Callen sexually assaulted her in 1999. Fiore Tigerman was one of four women who described Callen’s alleged misconduct in a July 2020 Times investigation; the stand-up comic adamantly denied all of their accounts.

Less than two months after The Times story was published, Callen launched a legal effort to seek unspecified damages from Gabriel Tigerman, who Callen claimed intended “to have Mr. Callen blacklisted, destitute, [and] never to work again,” according to his September 2020 complaint.

Callen argued that Tigerman had embarked on an “ongoing campaign to destroy [the comic’s] livelihood” by reaching out via email and Twitter to comedy clubs who planned to host Callen. On Sept. 14, Tigerman tweeted that any venue that booked Callen was “sending the very clear message that [they] support sexual abusers and don’t believe victims.”

In response to Callen’s lawsuit, in November 2020 Tigerman’s attorney filed an anti-SLAPP motion. Anti-SLAPP laws — SLAPP stands for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” — are designed to protect against meritless lawsuits that chill the exercise of First Amendment rights.

In California, anti-SLAPP statutes allow the potential for early lawsuit dismissal and, if successful in this case, would have required Callen to pay Tigerman’s legal fees. (Tigerman raised $33,300 for such fees on GoFundMe.)

Katherine Fiore Tigerman, seen here in July 2020, claims that Bryan Callen raped her in 1999.
Katherine Fiore Tigerman, seen here in July 2020, claims that Bryan Callen raped her in 1999. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

In January, Judge Monica Bachner issued a tentative ruling in Tigerman’s favor, stating that Callen “did not meet his burden of demonstrating a probability of prevailing on his claim.”

“[Callen’s] complaint is based on [Tigerman’s] public and private communications with [Callen’s] agents and performing venues regarding published allegations of sexual assault against [Callen] and therefore constitute conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of free speech in connection with ‘an issue of public interest,'” Bachner wrote, adding that Callen had “no evidence suggesting that absent [Tigerman’s] communications, the venues and agencies would not have cancelled his contracts.”

Following last summer’s Times investigation, Callen was dropped by his talent representatives at the Creative Artists Agency and Innovative Artists in August. A Netflix prank show he was set to make with Chris D’Elia was scrapped a month prior, shortly after D’Elia himself was accused of sexual misconduct.

Meanwhile, Callen said he was forced to leave his Kast Media podcast “The Fighter and the Kid,” which he co-hosted with former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub, because advertisers would no longer support a program he was a part of. He has since taken to Patreon to release his own podcast content for $5 a month. On his website, Callen currently has upcoming stand-up tour dates listed in Des Moines, Phoenix, Tampa and San Antonio.

Following Judge Bachner’s tentative ruling, Callen and Tigerman came to an out-of-court settlement in March. Tigerman’s lawyer, Alex Little, said his client “did not pay any money” to settle the case and was “extremely pleased” with the result of the “absurd and malicious lawsuit [that] was a desperate attempt to silence the brave survivors and advocates who spoke out against him.”

Callen’s attorney, Jesse B. Levin, did not respond to a request for comment.

In a statement, Gabriel Tigerman — an actor who has appeared on television shows such as “Silicon Valley” and “Supernatural” — vowed to speak out against Callen “until women are safe from him.”

“With this dismissal, survivors and their advocates should feel confident that they can speak the truth, without fear of retribution, even when their abusers have power and money,” Tigerman said. “With all that is publicly known now, anyone who still hires Callen sends a clear message that they do not care about protecting women from this serial sexual predator.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.