D’Elia, whose TV credits also include Undateable and The Good Doctor, most recently had a role in Season 2 of the Netflix series as Henderson, a beloved comedian who is secretly a pedophile. In real life, multiple women have come forward to say that D’Elia preyed on them, some of whom were minors at the time.
Learning of the claims made “did affect me deeply. I was very troubled by it. I am very troubled by it,” Badgley told the Los Angeles Times. “I know that, if there’s anything we need to do in this age, it’s to believe women.”
Badgley also worried that YOU‘s ongoing narrative, one that regularly trades on toxic masculinity, in any way fosters such behavior. “The idea that a show like ours would indirectly, unwittingly be a haven for people who are abusive is disturbing. It’s very disturbing,” he said. “What does it take to change that? Because it’s not just [about] vetting individuals. There needs to be a change in culture and attitude so that that kind of behavior is so clearly reprehensible, it’s so clearly, like, anti-human.”
Badgley also shared that the producers of YOU reached out to Jenna Ortega, the 17-year-old actress who shared scenes with D’Elia in Season 2, after the initial allegations emerged earlier this month.
“The first thing our producers did was reach out to Jenna… just to make sure she felt safe. We can feel safe and sound there,” he said. “So, as far as our show is concerned… there’s only so much we can take responsibility for. And I say ‘we’ pretty broadly, because we’re all doing different things. I’m, at the end of the day, an actor, and I don’t have a lot to do with a lot of this stuff. But I do think, in the future, I would like that to change, personally.”
Shortly after the allegations surfaced, D’Elia issued a statement to TMZ, which in part read, “I know I have said and done things that might have offended people during my career, but I have never knowingly pursued any underage women at any point. All of my relationships have been both legal and consensual and I have never met or exchanged any inappropriate photos with the people who have tweeted about me.”