According to a new report from The Daily Beast, comedian and former Silicon Valley star, T.J. Miller, has been accused of physical and sexual assault. An alleged victim — who chose to remain anonymous and goes by "Sarah" in the story — claims that Miller assaulted her while the two were in college, and were later addressed by a student court at George Washington University. Miller, for his part, released a joint statement with his wife, Kate, to The Daily Beast:
[The alleged Victim] “began again to circulate rumors online once [my and Kate’s] 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.”
As has reportedly been the case with many of the recent sexual assault and harassment allegations sweeping the entertainment industry, the accusations against Miller have “been buzzed about in Hollywood and stand-up circles for years,” according to The Daily Beast. Sarah herself disclosed the alleged abuse to some of her (now-former) comedy-troupe colleagues, but says that most of them chose to support and believe Miller’s denial.
In 2001, Sarah and Miller developed a friendship through a shared interest in receSs, a comedy troupe at George Washington University. According to Sarah, her first memory of Miller’s alleged abuse occurred a few months later while the two were “fooling around.” She admits, however, that after having “a lot to drink,” many of the details of that incident have always remained fuzzy. “I’m not interested in forcing a pretend memory on anyone,” she says. “15 years later, I remain terrified of accusing someone of something they didn’t do, but I have a visual and physical memory of that.”
The following morning, Sarah woke up with a fractured tooth and a bloody lip. She recalled that Miller had punched her in the mouth during sex the night before, but he claimed her injuries were the result of a drunken fall, Sarah says. Several days later, Sarah — who had lost her virginity to Miller and struggled to accept her recollection of the initial abuse — turned to Miller for comfort after losing her spot in receSs. That evening, they attended a party. Sarah claims that she’d had no more than two drinks when she and Miller went back to her apartment and began having consensual sex. However, Sarah says he quickly became violent again and that the details of the second assault have always been “crystal-clear.” Over the course of the next “five hours,” Sarah says, Miller forcefully and nonconsensually choked her to a degree that raised concern from her roommates, who had heard her “choking audibly.” That same evening, Sarah also claims that Miller nonconsensually penetrated her anally and nonconsensually penetrated her with a beer bottle.
After Miller left, Sarah recounted the assault to her roommates. One of those roommates, who requested to remain anonymous, confirmed this detail to The Daily Beast:
“I knew T.J. was in her bedroom and I was in my bedroom, which was a wall away,” the source said. “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 [Sarah] she was very upset, and… had said he had hit her in a very violent way.”
Katie Duffy, another former housemate of Sarah’s, confirmed Sarah’s recollection of the incident as well:
“One night, she had [Miller] back, and late at night… [a housemate and I] heard quite a lot of fighting [sounds] and banging, and loud, violent sounds [in the room next to us],” Duffy said. “So we knocked on the door of our housemate [Sarah], and asked if she was OK. She did indicate she was OK. Whatever response she gave, we felt we didn’t have to intervene further, at least at the time… Looking back, I wish we had done more to intervene, but we didn’t know what was going on… This is a girl I didn’t know very well, but it didn’t mean I didn’t have the power to go into that room, and remove her from that situation, and protect her. We did what we thought was the right thing at the time. It wasn’t enough.”
Duffy also recalled Sarah’s appearance the morning after the second alleged assault. “She looked like she had been through a rough night—I recall seeing bruises [on Sarah],” Duffy said. “One roommate asked if she wanted to go to the police. Others offered to take her to the hospital, given how she looked.”
Both of these former housemates — when asked later during the GWU student court case that occurred as a result of Sarah reporting the alleged abuse to campus police a year later — testified to both the noises they heard that night, as well as to Sarah’s bruised appearance. Three additional sources confirmed that Sarah had confided similar details about the evening to them as well.
Several days after this second alleged assault encounter, Sarah and Miller met one last time before falling out of touch entirely. After confronting him about the violence, “T.J. said it was a ‘trust thing’… and that he thought I was into it,” Sarah claims. Later, when Sarah chose to disclose the alleged abuse to some of their mutual, comedy-troupe friends, she says they mostly shrugged off her allegations. Four of those mutual friends, who each conveyed similar sentiments while speaking to The Daily Beast off the record, claimed that Miller “couldn’t have done this.” One of those friends, who testified on behalf of Miller in GW student court via phone said: “I have never heard of another woman [who dated him in college] make any kind of allegation or insinuation that he was anything but a good guy.”
Sarah struggled to process the abuse in the immediate aftermath, and waited nearly a year to take action against Miller. At that point, because of the lack of viable physical evidence, the case went to GWU student court. Sarah was told that the case had been resolved several weeks later, but when asked for comment by The Daily Beast in response to a campus PD report or details of the student court trial, a GW spokesperson only said that: “Because of federal privacy law (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or, FERPA), we are not able to provide information about current or former students’ education records.”
As a result of Sarah’s original allegations nearly a decade ago, and in addition to Miller’s own reported reference of the incidents in private conversation, many women in comedy have been wary of Miller. “Very commonly, women have warned each other [in entertainment] about him… and about what happened in college,” comedy festival organizer and publicist, Maura Brown, told The Daily Beast.
When asked for comment from Bustle, we received a joint statement from Miller and his wife, Kate.
“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.”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.