Last week, while most people were home for the holidays reflecting on how blessed they were, comedian Beth Stelling opened up on Instagram about a very real issue. She called out her ex as an abuser and rapist and sent ripples through the comedy and internet world.
Her post explained that she realized other women who dated him had experienced similar stories, and she had been blindly protecting him because as strong as we are, sometimes that shit is confusing. Sometimes you’re dating an SAB and he goes from being just shady to truly a monster, but you can’t help but remember the one time he did a nice thing for you and wonder if there’s still a charming prince underneath it all. Spoiler alert: there never is.
Same girl in all of these photos (me). I’ve had an amazing year and you’ve seen the highlights here, so these photos are an uncommon thing to share but not an uncommon issue. You may be weirded out but do read on. I have a point. There are many reasons not to make an abusive relationship public, mostly fear. Scared of what people will think, scared it makes me look weak or unprofessional. When I broke up with my ex this summer, it wasn’t because I didn’t love him, it was because of this. And I absolutely relapsed and contacted him with things I shouldn’t have, but there are no “best practices” with this. When friends or comics ask why we broke up it’s not easy or comfortable to reply; it doesn’t seem like the appropriate thing to say at a stand-up show, a party or a wedding. It’s embarrassing. I feel stupid. After being verbally, physically abused and raped, I dated him for two more months. It’s not simple. After I broke up with him he said, “You’re very open and honest in your stand-up, and I just ask that you consider me when you talk about your ex because everyone knows who you’re talking about.” And I abided. I wrote vague jokes because we both live in L.A. and I didn’t want to hurt him, start a war, press charges, be interrogated or harassed by him or his friends and family. I wanted to move on and forget because I didn’t understand. I don’t want revenge or to hurt him now, but it’s unhealthy to keep this inside because my stand-up is pulled directly from my life. It’s how I make my living. My personal is my professional. That is how I’ve always been; I make dark, funny. So now I’m allowing this to be part of my story. It’s not my only story, so please don’t let it be. If you live in L.A., you’ve already started to hear my jokes about this and I ask you to have the courage to listen and accept it because I’m trying. Already since talking about this onstage, many women have come to me after shows asking me to keep doing it. Men have shown their solidarity. An ex-girlfriend of this ex-boyfriend came to me and shared that she experienced the same fate. Then there was another and another (men and women) who shared other injustices at his hand that..
Beth describes the gray areas best by saying, “And I absolutely relapsed and contacted him with things I shouldn’t have, but there are no “best practices” with this.” She didn’t name his name, but her current boyfriend and comedian Sam Morrill called out the sketchball on Twitter and he did the one thing a guilty AF guy would do – he deleted all his social media accounts. Several days later, he resurfaced with his own FB status, which we’re not going to share to not give him any more attention. But the summary was this: “I didn’t do it, she’s lying.” Okay bro. Textbook gaslighting.
Beth posted this story on Insta because she said she’s been talking about it on stage and wanted to give the full story since many of her friends know her ex through the comedy community. Meanwhile in a dive bar, ten new male comics are starting comedy for the first time by making a distasteful rape joke. Ugh. Shitty things can happen to betches too, and Beth’s brave call out and graceful handling of her situation is very admirable.
Not that it matters, but she’s funny AF too. Case in point, here’s one of her jokes: “My mom got a hysterectomy this summer, which was a huge bummer because it’s like, my childhood home is gone.”