Penn Badgley Says He Was Molested By Gossip Girl Fans

Catherine Michelle

September 11, 2018

Penn Badgley


He’s starring in one of this year’s most buzzed about new shows – and he’s got a lot to say about his previous experience front and center in the limelight!


Before You – the new, highly-anticipated Lifetime series which also stars Shay Mitchell – came along, Penn Badgley was lighting up the screen as Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl.




Gossip Girl was a cultural phenomenon with a fierce, loyal fanbase. Penn reveals that phase in his life helped him learn to navigate the attention that comes with being part of a popular project – including unwanted advances from overly enthusiastic fans, which he says he went through at the time.


The 31-year-old actor shared:


“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 — I’ve definitely been, 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.”


His statement, made during an interview with The Daily Beast (the outlet says he was “thoughtful and cautious” as he discussed the topic), quickly went viral.


Penn Badgley 2


And now, Penn has released a follow-up statement to clarify what he meant. He told People:


“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.”