Fans Stand With Melissa Benoist After Blake Jenner's Admission of Abuse
His post has been called out for victim-blaming.
Content warning: This post describes domestic violence.
At Thanksgiving last year, Melissa Benoist posted a candid video in which she opened up about being a survivor of intimate partner violence. Though she did not name names, she detailed stories of emotional, verbal, and physical abuse. Now, nearly a year later, her ex-husband, Glee star Blake Jenner, has posted his own response to the abuse allegations. And though he purports to be taking "full responsibility," many fans have called out his post for victim-blaming. In response, #IStandWithMelissa has been trending on Twitter.
Jenner's post begins by noting that "over the past 11 months" he has been "thinking about how to address a personal situation made public in late-2019." He does not name Supergirl star Benoist, but the timeline and the specific details around a violent and abusive event—Jenner admits to throwing his phone and hitting "my former partner in the face"—match Benoist's post and account.
In the lengthy post, which is typewritten across six Instagram slides, Jenner starts by admitting his fault. "I take full responsibility and accountability for the hurt that I inflicted during my relationship with my partner—emotionally, mentally and yes, physically," he writes at the top of slide two.
However, one paragraph down on slide two, Jenner shifts to "both-sides-ing" the intimate partner violence. "Without absolving myself of any responsibility, it is important to understand that there was mental, emotional, and physical abuse on both ends." The rest of the post talks about "discrepancies" about how he remembers the abuse and alleges that Benoist was also violent to him. (Importantly, Benoist herself admitted to fighting back against abuse in her 2019 video.)
In the majority of his post, Jenner seems to attribute being an abuser to the nature of a "toxic" relationship. Fans, too, called out his post for itself being toxic, victim-blaming, and not an "apology," as he called it in the final slide.
In response, fans sent their support to Benoist with the hashtag #IStandWithMelissa.
Many commented on the timing of Jenner's post, which comes weeks after Benoist and her husband, The Vampire Diaries' Chris Wood, welcomed their first child.
Many others chose to disregard Jenner's post and flood the hashtag with love and light, and several thank yous, for Benoist.
Benoist herself hasn't responded to Jenner's Instagram post—nor does she have to. She spoke her truth in her 2019 Instagram video, and we wish her and her new little family peace moving forward.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence and need help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). You are not alone.