WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.- Some students at Purdue University said they are not happy after a comedian’s performance Saturday night. Many students said comedian Andy Gross’s act, as part of Purdue’s freshman orientation, was offensive and sexist. They also said he sexually harassed at least one audience member.
Some of the students described how Gross asked a female volunteer from the audience to come on stage, and then requested that she place her hand on his leg. Upset students say there were other sexually harassing set-ups, including when Gross asked the same female volunteer to “press up against me back to back, cheek to cheek.”
Video also appears to show gross referencing his own apparent sexual arousal. Many students walked out.
“We only stayed for about twenty or twenty-five minutes, because we tried to sit through it, but there was a point where some of the jokes were offensive,” said freshman Jessie Keown, “but I was hoping it would get better but it just, like, kept going downhill.”
Some said the lead-up to Gross’s routine was a serious presentation about avoiding sexual harassment and assault.
“After that we were all inspired, and then Andy Gross came on stage,” said freshman Eva Toscos.
“If there’s anything you can’t joke about on a college campus, its sexual harassment and then to go do it on a stage in front of everyone,” said freshman Kirsten Lindemann.
But where that line between offense and humor falls depends on who you ask.
“Personally, I thought the show was pretty funny, but I can see why people took jokes in a certain way,” said freshman Luke Hendriks, “I think he could have reassessed the audience.”
Hendriks continued, “and I can see why certain people like left and whatever, and I respect that, but I think it’s getting a little blown out of proportions.”
Purdue released a statement saying: “On Saturday night, a comedian performed as part of our BGR student orientation closing session. Accounts differ as to what exactly happened on stage, but some portions of the performance were clearly inappropriate and contrary to the university’s values of respect and support for all. 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.”
We did reach out to Gross for comment via social media, but have so far not received a response.