GROSSED OUT: Purdue students claim comedian Andy Gross made sexually inappropriate jokes, comments & contact during a campus performance.— Julia Deng (@Julia_Deng) August 19, 2018
This video shows one moment with a student volunteer that made people uncomfortable... and prompted students to walk out. @WISH_TV pic.twitter.com/fQxWjJlEYS
A well-known illusionist and comedian Andy Gross took the stage at Purdue University over the weekend to entertain the freshmen at the institute’s orientation event.
But the performance that was supposed to be amusing took an unexpected turn when Gross decided to call a female college student on stage to serve as a volunteer.
"He brought up one of our Supers, which is a leader in our BGR orientation program, and he proceeded to harass her," said freshman Andora Fess of San Francisco. "He made her stand closer and closer to him and made a joke about that giving him a erection and making his pants seem to say 'let me out,' referring to his genitals."
The Los Angeles-based performer allegedly made the student stand back-to-back with him despite of her apparent reluctance and discomfort. While at it, Fess said, Gross made her touch his upper thigh and made a distasteful joke about "at least getting a feel" after performing a magic trick.
"I was pretty angry and just in shock that this seemingly very famous person was treating women like this at a school, and he continue to make jokes at the expense of women," Fess said. "It was just very distasteful, and once he started doing that, people in the audience started to get up. He just kept making sexual jokes even as the crowd was leaving."
Many of the students sitting in the audience were mortified by the comedian’s idea of jokes and walked out in middle of his disturbing performance in protest.
Following Gross’ part, a representative from the university took the stage and said the performance was not a representation of the university and its values.
"Some portions of the performance were clearly inappropriate and contrary to the university’s values of respect and support for all," a spokesperson for the college told BuzzFeed News in a statement. "We will not work with this comedian again and are proud of our students who are standing up and voicing their concerns about the performance."
Students also took the matter to social media and created the hashtag #AndyGrossIsGross on Twitter.
If anyone saw the show at Purdue tonight, I hope that you can join me in boycotting Andy gross. We need to recognize sexual harassment for what it is and not let it go unpunished. No means no no matter where you are and who is watching. #AndyGrossIsGross— allisynsmith (@allisynsmith) August 19, 2018
#BGR18#andygrossisgross— Ryan (@rgrunsten) August 19, 2018
Huge discomfort at Andy Gross’s performance at BGR. Very uncomfortable sexual jokes, participants crying afterwards... Tears in audience as well. Many started walking out, eventually all did. TL’s/supers are apologizing. “This isn’t BGR, this isn’t us.”
pretty sure purdue students are willing to put our rivalry with iu on hold so that we can put all of our vengeful energy into ending andy gross’s career #AndyGrossisGross— leah (@lkline1998) August 19, 2018
Seeing the Class of 2022 and BGR staff take a stand against Andy Gross's disgusting "performance" makes me proud to be a Boilermaker. Sexual harassment/assault is not a joke and will NEVER be tolerated. #AndyGrossIsGross— Jonathan Carter (@jjcart21) August 19, 2018
The school's Center for Advocacy, Response and Education (CARE), which is overseen by the school's dean of students, also released a statement on Twitter and offered counseling and support services to students.
CARE was contacted earlier this evening regarding a performance during the BGR closing ceremony that was described as harassing and offensive. As a result, a CARE advocate responded to campus to offer support to students.— CARE at Purdue (@CAREatPurdue) August 19, 2018
As of yet, the comedian hasn’t commented on the ensuing outrage. However, the university’s administration made it clear it won’t work with Gross anymore.
Banner Image Credits: Pexels / Monica Silvestre