Comedian Andy Gross has been accused of sexually harassing a student during a performance at Purdue University orientation.
The Los Angeles-based performer called the female orientation leader on stage to assist with part of his routine and proceeded to make a number of crude comments referencing his genitalia and asking her to touch his leg.
Several students walked out of the show – which was said to have been distasteful throughout – and the university in West Lafayette, Indiana, has vowed never to associate with Gross again.
One of the more than 7,000 students in attendance was freshman Andora Fess of San Francisco, who described the ventriloquist and illusionist’s alleged harassment to the Indianapolis Star.
‘He made [the student] 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,’ she said.
Fess said Gross then instructed the student stand back-to-back with him, at which point he made her touch his upper thigh as he joked about ‘at least getting a feel’.
‘In the beginning it was disbelief and extreme discomfort. I know I was pretty angry and just in shock that this seemingly very famous person was treating women like this at a school,’ Fess said, adding that the comedian made several jokes at the expense of women.
At one point Gross is said to have referenced Matt Lauer, the disgraced NBC host who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
‘It was just very distasteful, and once he started doing that, people in the audience started to get up,’ Fess said.
‘He came into the crowd, and none of the women would volunteer, and he just kept making sexual jokes even as the crowd was leaving.’
Following Gross’ set, a Purdue official got on stage and said the performance was not a representation of the university and its values.
The school later issued a statement saying accounts of exactly what happened have differed, but that parts of the performance were ‘clearly inappropriate and contrary to the university’s values’.
The school’s Center for Advocacy, Response and Education also released a statement on Twitter, writing: ‘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. If you were impacted by this evening’s event and need to speak with someone, please remember that support is available 24/7.’
Students responded to the bizarre performance on social media with the hashtag #AndyGrossisGross.
The comedian has stayed silent since the appearance, and his representatives have not returned requests for comment from multiple news outlets, including DailyMail.com.