Warning: this piece contains extremely graphic descriptions of sexual assault and/or violence.
Former Silicon Valley and The Emoji Movie star T.J. Miller has been accused of sexually assaulting and punching a woman while in college. He denies the accusations, but others who attended college with him have come forward to corroborate the woman’s story, while more women on social media have recounted their own abusive stories about him.
An anonymous woman going by the pseudonym Sarah told The Daily Beast that she and Miller started out in a consensual relationship while attending George Washington University in 2001, where they joined the same comedy troupe. One night during sex, she says Miller shook her violently and punched her in the mouth with no warning, causing a fractured tooth and a bloody lip. Because she had been drinking that night, Sarah doesn’t remember the incident in its entirety, but says the memory of the violence itself remains clear. When she confronted Miller about it the next morning, he claimed that she had fallen down while drunk.
Although the incident was unsettling, Sarah continued to see Miller, and says she was initially in denial about the incident. “I couldn’t bring myself [at the time] to believe this had happened ... It was me not wanting it to be true.”
After her friends left, Miller continued to sexually assault her
She also says that in a separate sexual incident during a college party, Miller began to choke her so tightly that she made audible choking sounds, causing her housemates to knock on her door to ask if she was all right. They heard “banging, and loud, violent sounds,” according to one of them, and felt concerned. She dismissed them at the door, either by saying “I don’t know” or indicating yes, according to differing accounts. After her friends left, she says Miller continued to sexually assault her by anally penetrating her without her consent, both with his penis and a beer bottle.
“He just tried a lot of things without asking me, and at no point asked me if I was all right,” said Sarah. Witnesses confirmed to The Daily Beast that she had bruises on her skin the next morning.
She stopped seeing Miller afterwards, but did talk to him once more, where he allegedly called the abuse “a trust thing” and said he thought she had been into it. Nearly a year later, Sarah says she raised accusations about the incident to campus police, though the university declined to comment, citing federal privacy laws. Other “knowledgable sources” told The Daily Beast that a student court expelled Miller because of it, albeit after he graduated in 2003.
Sarah decided to speak up publicly after months of seeing the #MeToo movement roil the ranks of Hollywood and numerous other industries.
Miller strongly denied the accusations today in a joint statement with his wife, Kate Gorney, on Instagram. They claimed that Sarah “was asked to leave our university comedy group because of worrisome and disturbing behavior” and alleged that she was fixated on their relationship.
“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, but also on the real facts of the matter,” reads the statement, which is attached to a photo of the couple embracing.
But other women have since accused Miller of verbally abusive and threatening behavior as well. Back in September, film critic Danielle Solzman tweeted a transphobic email that she says someone in the comedy circle sent to her, with the author’s name removed. Today, she announced that T.J. Miller had been the author. In the email Miller allegedly wrote, “You’re not a transgender, you’re not a tranny- your [sic] a fucking asshole daniel.”
Arkansas comedian Lauren Ashley Bishop also affirmed Sarah’s story on Twitter, and recounted how Miller had threatened her in the past while she was seeking a restraining order against her ex-partner, who was also Miller’s friend. Miller allegedly had said he would destroy her career if she continued to seek the restraining order, but she persisted. “I know this girl,” she wrote. “Believe her.”