Alice Ripley apologizes, denies ‘vile’ accusations of grooming

Broadway star Alice Ripley is apologizing to young fans for their “misinterpretations” of interactions they had with her — but vehemently denies “vile” accusations of grooming.

“It is a misinterpretation of my actions to say I manipulated anyone, and more shockingly, that there was abuse,” she wrote to Page Six in a statement. “Yet here we are on this slippery slope, because terms like ‘grooming’ are being thrown around … To be accused of this most vile thing, of which I am innocent, is crushing,”

Ripley explains that performances of the musical she won a Tony for, “Next to Normal,” “were truly safe spaces for people who had been touched by mental illness,” and that teen girls flocked to the show for repeat viewings, many of whom “imprinted their own mothers onto my character, [or] saw themselves in the daughter.”

Ripley describes her interactions with such fans as “a quick hello at the stage door” or “[seeing] people in my dressing room for a couple minutes before or after the show,” adding that “on rare occasions,” she would “have a quick meal” with one.

“It’s now clear that a few of these fans had their feelings badly hurt because they received attention and then they felt ‘ghosted,’” by her lack of subsequent regard for them, she continues, “and I truly apologize for that.”

Actress Alice Ripley and the cast of "Next to Normal" perform on stage during the 63rd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2009
Alice Ripley gained a large following after starring in the Tony-winning show, “Next to Normal.”
WireImage

All four of Ripley’s accusers claim she took advantage of girls as young as 13. Some admitted they had looked to Ripley as a mother figure, while others claimed to have fallen in love with the actress.

“Inevitably, they had their own fan dramas and jealousies, and I stayed out of that as much as I could,” the star writes, which seemingly nods at the accounts of two accusers — Brie Lynn and “Liz” — who said fans would battle over who received the most of Ripley’s attention during a show.

A screenshot of Brie Lynn's TikTok video about Alice Ripley allegedly grooming her as a child.
TikToker Brie Lynn was the first to claim Ripley groomed her as a child.
TikTok/Brie Lynn

Accuser “Liz” told The Daily Beast that she was one of the girls who viewed Ripley as a mother figure, but believes the star took advantage of her vulnerability.

A screenshot of Brie Lynn's TikTok video about Alice Ripley allegedly grooming her as a child.
Lynn claims an “insane” fan of Ripley’s tried to kill her.
TikTok/Brie Lynn

“What Alice does, whether she is consciously doing it or subconsciously doing it, is she knows how to sense where you are vulnerable and where you are desperate for love and attention, and she just goes for it,” Liz said.

“For me, I was very much looking for an older sister, even like a mother-type figure. So that’s kind of what she was for me.”

Alice Ripley performing in 2017.
Alice Ripley denies grooming or manipulating her fanbase.
Getty Images

Lynn has accused Ripley of carrying on sexual conversations with her as a minor, while accuser Leo called their relationship “intimate.” She was 16 at the time.

Days after TikToker Lynn became the first to publicly speak out against Ripley, three others came forward to add their voices, claiming they, too, were manipulated as teens into forming a “cult-ish,” Ripley-centered fan base primarily consisting of queer girls.

TikToker Brie Lynn claims Alice Ripley groomed her
Lynn claims their first conversation was about Ripley wearing lingerie.
TikTok/Brie Lynn

“I never meant to give anything but positive reinforcement,” Ripley’s statement concludes, “and I’m sorry anyone felt slighted.”

But “grooming,” she says, “refers to sexual abuse of a minor, which is the most despicable act imaginable. It implies that I wanted something or asked for something, and that is not true.”

Ripley won a Tony for “Next to Normal” in 2009. The following year, the show won a Pulitzer, becoming only the eighth musical in history to do so.

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