Now THIS Is A Witch Hunt…The Bitter Actress’s Old Score


Cross and Yi

Actress Charlyne Yi ( you may remember her on “House”—well, maybe not)  tweeted last week :

“I think about the first time I met David Cross 10 years ago & he made fun of my pants (that were tattered because I was poor). Dumbfounded I stared at him speechless and he said to me ‘what’s a matter? You don’t speak English?? Ching-chong-ching-chong.’

“I will say this: I can tell the difference between this man making a joke vs condescending me,” Yi wrote later. “This happened 10 years ago and I sure as hell hope he’s changed (or at the very least, he’s scared enough to not be his racist self).”

Now Cross, a very funny improvisational comic and actor best known for “Arrested Development” (he was also in the first two “Men in Black” films) is being attacked on social media as a a racist. He purports to be flummoxed.

“I don’t remember this at all!” he said in a tweet this week. Cross later tweeted to Yi,

“Charlene, i dont remember this at all! It’s bonkers to me and WAY, way out of character. DM me so I can understand all of this.”

Mark this down as one more way social media allows people to be worse human beings, and makes the world a meaner, nastier place.

Yi, who has obviously held a grudge for a long, long time (Career just didn’t work out the way you hoped, eh?) exploited social media to get some media buzz by accusing a colleague of being a jerk ten years ago. This, in turn, calls down on Cross’s head the Web Furies, harms his reputation, and there isn’t a thing he can do to defend himself, whether he said what she claims, or not.

This is a blinding Golden Rule breach by Yi. Who among us would like to have this happen—a bad moment in a single personal interaction suddenly made public just to cause us humiliation and embarrassment? It seems as if Yi, lacking a salacious story of being propositioned, assaulted or raped by Harvey Weinstein, decided to see if recounting the time David Cross was a jerk to her could get some cheap publicity. And it worked!

Right now I’m trying to make a mental list of all of the people, including girls friends, rivals, random acquaintances and others, who could tell an anecdote about me ten years old or more that would make me want to hide my head under a bag. It’s pretty long. I bet your list is too.

Author/blogger Amy Alkon, as she often does, succinctly nailed what’s so wrong with what Yi has done to Cross ( that is, besides the unfairness, the Anita Hill-style ambush, the Golden Rule defiance, and the sheer vindictive meanness…):



Yi’s late hits on Cross do nothing to make me hold a negative view of his character; at worst, he was a jerk a decade ago. That’s irrelevant to who he is in 2017. Charlyne, in contrast, has shown me that she’s a mean, untrustworthy jerk now.

I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with her.

10 thoughts on “Now THIS Is A Witch Hunt…The Bitter Actress’s Old Score

  1. Jack,

    “… a very funny improvisational comic and actor …”

    His improv skills are impeccable, but not nearly so with his comedy. Even his more recent sketches tend to be politically based and his stand-up is entirely so. Even several far-left friends find it over the top; he seldom makes jokes, just vindictive turns of phrase. What’s worse, it can’t even hold up as expository prose or observational commentary because it doesn’t has no rhetorical value either.

    That said, I agree with the points you made and the article was well stated.

    • He sure doesn’t tell jokes. Have you ever seen his bit as the auditioner whose audition consists of convincing the auditioners that he’s flailing in his audition? It’s beyond brilliant.

      I think he’s a comic actor. You’re right.

  2. “Right now I’m trying to make a mental list of all of the people, including girls friends, rivals, random acquaintances and others, who could tell an anecdote about me ten years old or more that would make me want to hide my head under a bag.”

    Sorry, Jack, I’m…a little confused by where you have gone on this one. Maybe I’m tired…

    So say you were a jerk ten years ago to somebody. That’s what Cosby and Weinstein were – and to many, and egregiously so, and even more than ten years ago. So…it’s a Golden Rule violation, now, for someone who was (or even just thinks) she was a victim of bullying, to out the bully?

    • You are equating saying something rude, being uncivil, breaking a date, blowing off an event, with rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment?

      The former, and what Cross allegedly said, aren’t bullying. When bully is redefined as “not being nice once,” the term loses all meaning. Seriously—you really think there is no statute of limitations on one-off examples of bad behavior that in fact hurts nothing but feelings momentarily? I wrote a piece a while agon about a daughter of a famous scholar who suddenly published an accusation that he had molested her 30 years earlier. She had never mentioned this to him; he the public accusation was her first. She had no proof but a suddenly recalled memory. Her father denied it.

      I wrote that she should have handled it privately. Using publicity as a weapon against a prominent person is cruelty, unless there is no other recourse, and there are genuine damages or criminal activity. If there are multiple victims, that’s a material difference. The Cosby victims came forward because he was actively attacking another victim, and pretending to be innocent. David Cross is just a comic. He isn’t an advocate for Asian Americans or posing as social justice warrior If Yi had an old beef, it was up to her to raise it to him, directly and in private, giving him a chance to apologize, make amends, or not. Golden Rule.


  3. When did people become so fragile that someone saying something unkind to them one time is something they carry around for a decade? Cross’ own wife tweeted that she was only concerned about Yi’s “feelings and safety” right now. Safety? Are you kidding me? Maybe it was a joke, or maybe Cross really was being a total asshole. Either way, it was just WORDS, and it was ten goddamn years ago

    • “When did people become so fragile that someone saying something unkind to them one time is something they carry around for a decade?

      Fact of life: diverse people have diverse levels of fragility, which lead to diverse responses to unkindness, or other perceived mistreatment.

      Like me, for example: I have reached the end of my patience with attempting to post comments on this blog, doing exactly as the intuitive interface suggests, only to never see the comments posted. “One would think he’d have gotten the message MUCH sooner.” Well, screw WordPress, at least.

  4. “…my pants (that were tattered because I was poor).”

    I’d be curious to know what others think about the probability that this part of the young woman’s statement is true? Her bio indicates significant work on stage and film ten years ago. A new pair of plain pants can be had for 20 dollars, and perfectly respectable second hand ones for dirt cheap.

    I’m in tattered pants myself right now, but it’s because they’re comfortable and I’m lazy.

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