[Warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.]
In an extensive investigative report published today by The Daily Beast, an anonymous woman has come forward with allegations of physical and sexual assault against The Emoji Movie and Silicon Valley star T.J. Miller. The alleged assault happened when the two were in college at George Washington University in the early ‘00s, when the woman says Miller physically and sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions while they were engaged in a romantic relationship. The case was eventually addressed by a student court at the university, and has reportedly been an open secret in the comedy world for years, with some sources reporting that Miller has joked about “punching a woman when he was in college” in private.
The woman’s story is quite graphic and disturbing, including descriptions of encounters where Miller hit and choked her during sex and penetrated her multiple times, once anally and once with a beer bottle, without her consent, leaving her bruised and bloody and prompting her roommates’ concern. (One recalls, “My [other] roommate was in my bedroom with me and we heard a loud smacking noise, and we were concerned… The very next day when we talked to [her] she was very upset, and… had said he had hit her in a very violent way.” Another says, “one roommate asked if she wanted to go to the police. Others offered to take her to the hospital, given how she looked.”)
Five people who were also students at GWU at the time have corroborated the woman’s story, which she brought to campus police a year later. She says, “I was not ready to process what was happening [the prior year], and I have spent a lot of time in my life apologizing for not having shouted ‘no’ ... I was not ready to reconcile the events taking place with the person I had known. It was so disorienting and so physically traumatic.” Eventually, the university told the woman that the issue “had been resolved,” and although The Daily Beast was unable to find out exactly what happened due to federal privacy laws, it was able to confirm that Miller graduated in 2003.
Miller and his wife Kate gave a joint statement to The Daily Beast denying the story, describing the woman making the accusations as jealous and unstable and themselves as the victims in the situation. “We met this woman over a decade ago while studying together in college, she attempted to break us up back then by plotting for over a year,” they say. “She was asked to leave our university comedy group because of worrisome and disturbing behavior, which angered her immensely ... and began telling people around campus, ‘I’m going to destroy them.’” The statement goes on to say, “It is unfortunate that she is choosing this route as it undermines the important movement to make women feel safe coming forward about legitimate claims against real known predators.”
Asked about the statement—which was issued preemptively after Miller found out that The Daily Beast was working on a story—the woman says that she’s been living with what happened for many years, an experience made all the more traumatic by Miller’s rapidly rising celebrity, and “I don’t think it’s appropriate that I carry this by myself.” She adds, “It is unfathomable to me that he doesn’t understand that he actually put me through something I have to live with, that I never would’ve chosen ... that I actively had to spend years and years… un-programming.”