AceShowbiz - Rising comedy star James Veitch has been accused of sexual assault, including rape, by multiple graduates of his old college.
The British funnyman, 40, has surged to fame following a viral 2016 TED talk, bagging a book deal and an HBO Max special, "James Veitch: Straight to VHS", which launched earlier this month (Aug20).
However, several women who attended New York's Sarah Lawrence College at the same time as him reconnected after learning about the special, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and shared horrifying allegations of sexual misconduct.
More than a dozen women came forward with accusations after Meghan Klien, a postproduction supervisor in Los Angeles, who was a senior when Veitch was a postgraduate 2009, tweeted impulsively, "It was common knowledge to stay away from him when I was an undergrad... It makes my skin crawl to see someone like that succeed knowing how much he violated my classmates. #creep."
She deleted the tweet, but her old classmate Jael Simonson-Tunick got in touch and then collated stories on Facebook - before giving interviews with The Hollywood Reporter.
"Our little network started bringing in stories left and right," she says. "In just that first couple of days, I think I got three stories of rape and two of assault. What kept me going was my connection to these women - every woman that I talked to that first day I knew personally."
The allegations include multiple women accusing him of rape and others accusing him of assaults or harassment, including while directing plays at the college.
He has declined to comment but a source close to the star told THR he denies the allegations.
HBO Max chiefs have now pulled Veitch's special, with a spokesperson saying, "We were deeply disturbed to learn of these allegations of unacceptable behaviour by James Veitch and will be removing the special from our platform for now."
A representative for Conan O'Brien's production company, Team Coco, which produced the special after Veitch was a popular guest on his chat show, also disavowed the comedian. Meanwhile, bosses at Quibi, for whom he was to host a new series, are also reportedly editing him out of the programme.