Penn Badgley is stepping back some comments he made that rubbed some people the wrong way after complaining that some overzealous fans “molested” him during the height of his “Gossip Girl” fame.
Speaking with the Daily Beast, the 31-year-old actor was asked about his experiences with “semi-obsessive fame,” responding, “Well, not semi, pretty full-on obsession.”
As Badgley said, “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.”
Badgley later clarified his intention in using the word “molested.”
“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,” he said in a statement to People.
“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 behaviour,” he explained. “These are the same norms which support predatory men, but not exclusively predatory men. They affect, and infect, us all.”