Photo by Amanda Koellner
T.J. Miller has joined the ever-growing list of celebrity figures who have been accused of sexual misconduct. In the comedian’s case, the accusations date back to alleged incidents of sexual and physical assault that took place while Miller attended George Washington University.
According to an in-depth report from The Daily Beast, Miller was in a consensual relationship with an unidentified woman (called “Sarah” in the story) when on at least two occasions he “tried a lot of things without asking,” according to the alleged victim. “And at no point asked me if I was all right,” the woman recounted. “He choke[d] me, and I kept staring at his face hoping he would see that I was afraid and [that he] would stop… I couldn’t say anything.” Sarah had lost her virginity to Miller and, at the time, trusted him, which she said led to her taking some time to fully process the events.
One such incident took place months after the two met in the same GW comedy troupe, receSs. Sarah said that though she had had “a lot to drink” and admitted there are “parts of it I don’t remember,” she distinctly recalled Miller “shaking me violently” and punching her in the mouth while having initially consensual sex. When she awoke the next morning with a fractured tooth and bloody lip, Miller told her she had taken a drunken fall during the evening.
A few days later, she was kicked out of receSs and went to Miller for consoling. They once again engaged in consensual sex, but Sarah was sober this time, and said her memory of the “five-hour” ordeal was “crystal-clear.”
“We started to fool around, and very early in that, he put his hands around my throat and closed them, and I couldn’t breathe,” she told The Daily Beast. “I was genuinely terrified and completely surprised.” She said she now understands some people have a choking kink, but as she was had just started having sex three months earlier, was unaware of it at the time. Either way, she “had certainly not entered into any agreement that I would be choked. I was fully paralyzed.”
At one point, Sarah’s roommates heard her choking noises and what they described as “banging” and “a loud smacking noise.” They knocked on her door to check if she was okay, and she indicated that while she was, she’d talk to them in the morning. When Sarah returned to the bed with Miller, she said he “anally penetrated me without my consent, which I actually believe at that point I cried out, like, ‘No,’ and he didn’t continue to do that — but he also had a [beer] bottle with him the entire time. He used the bottle at one point to penetrate me without my consent.”
Miller left around 5:00 am, and when Sarah came down to find her housemates in the kitchen the next morning, they reportedly saw bruises on her body. “One roommate asked if she wanted to go to the police,” recalled Katie Duffy, a former GW student and Sarah’s ex-housemate. “Others offered to take her to the hospital, given how she looked.”
Miller and Sarah did not have sexual encounters again following that night. They met once more to discuss the incident. “T.J. said it was a ‘trust thing,'” Sarah said. “And that he thought I was into it.”
A year later, once Sarah had finally processed the events, she reported Miller to GW’s campus police. “I was not ready to process what was happening [the prior year],” she said by means of explaining why it took her so long to come forward, “and I have spent a lot of time in my life apologizing for not having shouted ‘no,’ and for not having told my roommates to get him out of here. I was not ready to reconcile the events taking place with the person I had known. It was so disorienting and so physically traumatic.”
With no physical evidence remaining a year later, the allegations were dealt with in a student court. Sarah’s roommates and friends familiar with the incidents testified in the proceedings, for which Miller was present with a lawyer and, on occasion, his father. The trial period lasted a few weeks and was apparently resolved, though the details of the ruling are protected under federal privacy laws. Sources told The Daily Beast that Miller graduated in 2003, but was “expelled after he graduated” as a means to satisfy both parties involved.
Stories about Miller’s college days have percolated in comedy circles for years. Many female comics and bookers told The Daily Beast they avoided working with Miller when they became aware of the allegations. Often, the source would be Miller himself, who in private conversations would either joke about punching a woman in the face during college or deny the “rumors” about his conduct back in college. Even though the story was relatively well-known, Sarah was at first reluctant to participate in The Daily Beast’s investigation, and it wasn’t until weeks into the #MeToo movement that she decided to open up about the accusations.
For his part, Miller has vehemently denied Sarah’s allegations. He released a joint statement with his wife, Kate Miller, stating they believe this is “an unfortunate resurgence of [Sarah’s] lies designed to wreak havoc on two happily married people in the public eye.” The statement opens,
“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 before making contradictory claims and accusations. She attempted to discredit both of our voices and use us against one another by trying to portray Kate to be a continuous abuse victim of T.J. (further efforts to hurt the two of us). She was asked to leave our university comedy group[, receSs,] because of worrisome and disturbing behavior, which angered her immensely, she then became fixated on our relationship, and began telling people around campus ‘I’m going to destroy them’ & ‘I’m going to ruin him.'”
“We stand together and will not allow this person to take advantage of a serious movement toward gender equality by allowing her to use this moment to muddy the water with an unrelated personal agenda,” reads another part of the Millers’ statement.
Sarah denied that she had come forward for any vindictive reasons. She said Miller “was a friend to me before” the incidents. “I didn’t want him in jail. I didn’t hate him. He was someone I cared about,” she added. “I don’t want to mess up his life. But he behaved in a way towards me that I have to live with… [and] I don’t think it’s appropriate that I carry this by myself.”
This is the first new story alleging Miller has a violent streak. Last December, he was placed under citizen’s arrest after allegedly assaulting a cab driver. Read more about these latest accusations at The Daily Beast, and find the Millers’ complete statement below.
Update: Comedy Central has canceled Miller’s puppet talkshow, The Gorburger Show. The program originated with 19 episodes on Funny or Die before moving to a pilot at HBO in 2015; CC eventually picked it up and aired one season from April 9th to June 4th of this year. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the decision not to move forward with a second season were made prior to the allegations arising, with one individual saying it happened back in July.
“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 before making contradictory claims and accusations. She attempted to discredit both of our voices and use us against one another by trying to portray Kate to be a continuous abuse victim of T.J. (further efforts to hurt the two of us). She was asked to leave our university comedy group because of worrisome and disturbing behavior, which angered her immensely, she then became fixated on our relationship, and began telling people around campus ‘I’m going to destroy them’ & ‘I’m going to ruin him.’
We are confident that a full consideration of accounts from and since that time will shed light and clarity on the true nature of not only this person’s character, and also on the real facts of the matter.
We stand together in stating this is nothing more than an unfortunate resurgence of her lies designed to wreak havoc on two happily married people in the public eye.
She began again to circulate rumors online once our relationship became public.
Sadly she is now using the current climate to bandwagon and launch these false accusations again. 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.
We stand together and will not allow this person to take advantage of a serious movement toward gender equality by allowing her to use this moment to muddy the water with an unrelated personal agenda. We feel we all have an obligation now more than ever to prevent people from using reporters to spin lies into headlines, and focus instead on what is real.
We both champion and continue to stand up for people everywhere who have truly suffered injustice seeking to have justice brought into their lives.”