Bryan Callen is suing the husband of a woman who claims that the comedian raped her, arguing her spouse is out to ruin his career.
On Wednesday, Callen filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that Gabriel Tigerman has launched an “ongoing campaign to destroy [the comic’s] livelihood” via “threats, harassment and intimidation of third parties that dare contact him.” Tigerman is married to Katherine Fiore Tigerman, who in July told The Times that in 1999, Callen held her down on a bed and forced her to have sex with him. She was one of four women who claimed that Callen was sexually inappropriate with them in a story that described his alleged assault, misconduct and disturbing comments.
Callen adamantly denied all of the women’s stories and stressed that his encounter with Fiore Tigerman had been consensual. On social media, he quickly vowed not to “lay low,” promising his fans that he wouldn’t “post a statement and disappear.”
Though he has since taken a leave of absence from his podcast, "The Fighter and the Kid," Callen has continued to book upcoming stand-up dates despite the fact that he was dropped by his Hollywood representatives, the Creative Artists Agency and Innovative Artists, in August. Callen, best known for his roles on ABC's "The Goldbergs" and "Schooled," was also set to make a Netflix prank show with comic Chris D'Elia — but the program was scrapped after D'Elia was accused of sexual misconduct in June.
Upon learning about Callen’s future gigs, Gabriel Tigerman reached out via email and Twitter to a number of the comedy clubs that booked Callen. On Sept. 14, Tigerman tweeted that the venues were “sending the very clear message that [they] support sexual abusers and don’t believe victims” by hosting Callen’s shows. His message garnered support from some prominent voices in the comedy world, including Jen Kirkman, who said she would donate $5 to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network on behalf of any person who told Indiana’s Helium Comedy Club “that they are disappointed for them booking credibly alleged rapist Bryan Callen.” (Kirkman, who has two comedy specials on Netflix, was a writer for many years on E!'s "Chelsea Lately.")
The Times confirmed on Wednesday that four locations — Brickyard Comedy Club in Oklahoma City, Skyline Comedy Club in Appleton, Wis., Spokane Comedy Club in Washington and DC Improv in Washington, D.C. — recently pulled Callen’s shows from their schedules. He is still slated to perform this fall at five different venues in Ohio, Missouri, Texas and Indiana.
Callen blames the cancellation of his gigs on Tigerman’s “vengeful interference,” according to his lawsuit.
“Driven by the false allegation that Mr. Callen assaulted his wife over 20 years ago, Mr. Tigerman has sent and continues to send Mr. Callen’s representatives and others direct demands that they cease doing business with him, or else be falsely branded as supporters of sexual assault,” Callen’s complaint reads.
None of the four clubs that scrapped Callen’s gigs responded to questions from The Times about their decision to nix the dates. CAA and Innovative — both of which Callen says dropped him a day after Tigerman reached out to them — declined to comment.
In a statement provided by his lawyer, Andrew Baum, Callen said he filed the lawsuit because “I take my innocence, reputation and right to due process very seriously, and I will not stand by while someone tries to destroy my livelihood over something I did not do.”
Tigerman’s legal representative, Alex Little, responded to the filing by noting that Callen had been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women and “is now trying to silence the husband of a woman that he reportedly raped. We are confident the court will see Callen’s lawsuit for what it is: a desperate attempt to attack anyone who supports his accusers.”
Callen is seeking unspecified damages from Tigerman — whose “apparent objective is to have Mr. Callen blacklisted, destitute, never to work again,” per the complaint — and says the impact of his lost work has been “nothing short of devastating.”
Tigerman and his wife have launched a GoFundMe to help pay their legal fees.
On Twitter, meanwhile, Callen has tried a different tack with fellow comedian Kirkman. On Wednesday, he publicly asked her to appear on his Patreon podcast to discuss why she was “so passionately invested in destroying the life of someone you don’t know based solely on hearsay.” Kirkman did not respond to his invitation and told The Times she had no comment about his outreach.