Stephane Cardinale – Corbis, Getty Images
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.
Blake Jenner waited over a year to make a statement only to victim blame Melissa Benoist and make himself look like the real victim? And only a few weeks after she welcomed her newborn? His manipulative and victim blaming “apology” means nothing. #IStandWithMelissa— 𝓪𝓁𝒾𝒶𝓈 (@itsjustanx) October 8, 2020
LISTEN— Nat ミ☆ Blackpink (@brie_sparkles) October 8, 2020
Blake Jenner waited a year to come back with a counter argument against Melissa Benoist.
After she’s happily married, settled down & had a healthy, beautiful baby boy.
On top of that, he twisted the story in his favour, GASLIGHTING AT ITS FINEST.#IStandWithMelissa
So Blake Jenner’s “apology” was him admitting to abusing Melissa for a paragraph, then blames it on his “trauma” and tries to put the blame on her. Sorry, but that doesn’t sound like an apology to me. #IStandWithMelissa pic.twitter.com/2AQcUPLug7— Victoria 🍒 (@spicy_vic) October 8, 2020
Many others chose to disregard Jenner's post and flood the hashtag with love and light, and several thank yous, for Benoist.
Anyway, @MelissaBenoist is a precious bean that deserves the world and will forever be a brighter ray of light than anything that poo stain could dream of being. #IStandWithMelissa pic.twitter.com/QbfPHvQ1db— SpookyWhob🎃👻 #IStandWithMelissa (@Magnum_Dorkus) October 8, 2020
#IStandWithMelissa because domestic violence survivors deserve better than having their brave voices be drowned by the abusers' cheap sympathy gain stunt— T ♡ (@aGHOSTappeared) October 8, 2020
"This brilliant woman is a light. Her heart has remained open and a full despite the many difficulties she has faced, and her generous spirit fills the world with more love. I continue to be in awe of her." -Chris Wood about Melissa Benoist. ❤️#IStandWithMelissa pic.twitter.com/XH9qd9URMv— ᴄᴀᴍɪs ʙᴀᴋᴇʀ ⫬⩖⫭ (@benoixtwoodd) October 9, 2020
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.