Claims About Jared Leto Preying on Underage Women Have Resurfaced Yet Again & These Have Been Circulating For Over 20 Years

Content warning: sexual violence

There’s just some Twitterdome tension that we could never foresee, like the Twitter drama between Dylan Sprouse, James Gunn and Jared Leto. While tweet-driven arguments might not seem productive, this Twitter squabble may have exhumed some old sexual assault allegations against Jared Leto.

Cosmopolitan reports that last week, Dylan Sprouse tweeted a late-night message accusing Jared Leto of basically being a resident creep.

Although DMing legal young women isn’t a crime in itself, Sprouse’s tweet prompted other celebrities to speak out about Leto. Director James Gunn responded to Sprouse’s initial tweet by saying, “He starts at 18 on the Internet?”

Yikes! Gunn’s tweet implies a more disturbing accusation than that of Sprouse. Because Gunn notes that Leto allegedly hits on of-age women on the internet, Gunn appears to be alleging that Leto comes on to underage girls IRL.

After Gunn tweeted out these accusations, another Twitter user accused the director of defamation of character. “If I was @JaredLeto I'd be contacting my lawyers for libel,” the user writes. Gunn could be vulnerable to a credible lawsuit via Leto’s legal team. According to Slate, accusations published on social media platforms aren’t immune to defamation lawsuits. However, it’s important that we listen (or read) Gunn’s concerns about Leto’s apparently questionable behavior—because we should take accusations about sexual crimes seriously, regardless of who they involve. 

Nevertheless, the same user clarifies why he believes Gunn is slandering Leto’s notoriously not-so-stellar reputation. “It's from Reddit fan fiction. Gunn is treating it as a real accusation. If you have any real evidence I'd love to hear it,” the user adds.

The fan fiction that this user mentions refers to a ubiquitous fan fiction about how two women, “Jennifer” and “Megan,” essentially had a threesome with Leto after 30 Seconds to Mars played a gig in an obscure college bar.

Though this fan fiction, with its realistic nature of the narrative, resurfaced numerous times in different forums, by different people, it has been notoriously debunked as a fictional tale. And while some fan fictions can read as eerily realistic fantasies, and there is an off chance that Gunn could be duped by these dubiously non-fictitious accounts of fiction, there are several women who have accused Leto of pedophilia and sexual assault beyond that story.

Prior to the creation and consequential rebirths of this gruesome Leto-inspired fan fiction, in 2005 an anonymous source told the New York Post that Leto allegedly has an affinity for younger women and would often text underage girls. “He’s a serial texter. He is constantly texting these 16- and 17-year-old girls. It’s really kind of creepy,” the source said.

Regardless, this claim isn’t the only account of recrimination against Leto. Albeit the infamous Leto fan fiction from the early 2010s might have skewed the lines between fiction and non-fiction, the fan fiction did inspire some former fans to recount their alleged sexual experiences with Leto. However, not all of these intimate allegations were consensual.

In a since-deleted message board about rape allegations against Leto specifically, which was recovered by a different message board, an anonymous source alleged Leto molested her. In her claim, the woman notes that she was only 17 at the time, which could make her underage and therefore legally unable to consent to any sexual acts with a legal adult (depending on where in the United States this happened, of course).

In the user's comment, she writes, “I hooked up with him several years ago and I was about 4 months over 17.” The age of consent in the United States is an ever-changing, problematic gray area in general. This woman’s comment was published in 2010 and there are no discerning details about where this alleged sexual crime took place, which can make it improbable to decipher if this claim could be considered statutory rape. Although we can’t definitively determine where this alleged incident took place, based on the woman’s accusations, she said she didn’t consent to every sexual act.

Though the commenter begins her post with claims that Leto had sex with her when she might have been under the age of consent, she continues, “I think he got pleasure out of hurting me, in retrospect, but I was too young and didn't know that then…. I would tell him to slow down or to change position to ease the pain a little. After that, I'd get attitude.” 

(While pain can be a kink for some people, it’s important that all parties consent to every act and feel comfortable enough to back out of any sexual or romantic act, without feeling vilified for doing so. However, the user accuses Leto of allegedly giving her “attitude” when she would refuse consent. Intimidation and not listening to a partner during sex and any form of intimidation or coercion can still be considered sexual assault or harassment, depending on the situation, because it undermines your right over your own body.)

Despite her alleged consent, the user claims that she still didn’t feel comfortable with these alleged sexual acts. RAINN notes that even after copulation, sexual assault survivors can seek legal help, because being convinced to consent to any sexual act is still considered rape, and if a sexual encounter felt like rape, then it’s considered rape.

Regardless, this woman’s story is only one of many prevailing claims against Leto. In 2013, another user published a lengthy post about a formidably similar scenario with Leto. In her post, the woman accused Leto of pedophilia. 

Echoing the aforementioned claims, another user’s accusations hold some striking similarities:  “I met [Leto] when I was 17 (a naive innocent girl) on one of his movie sets in Brooklyn, when he was turning 34,” the user claims. Later in her post, she details she would often meet Leto at hotels near Gramercy Park in New York. Though 17 is the official age of consent in New York, the user claims that Leto told her to verbally tell him that she was 14 or 15.

The commenter adds, “[Leto] was very pushy into coercing me to do sexual acts with him and he was quite rough and forceful.” 

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH), sexual coercion can include physical and non-physical tactics to convince a person into sexual activities that they wouldn’t otherwise consent to. Likewise, the OWH notes that sexual coercion also encompasses being repeatedly asked to take part in a sexual activity. Sexual coercion also includes deceitful promises that the abuser will stop if the victim is uncomfortable; however, the abuser likely won’t honor these claims. The Guardian reports that survivors of sexual coercion are often oblivious to this crime, which can severely alter a person’s relationship with sex itself.  Beyond these latent emotional and mental effects, sexual coercion infringes on a person’s consent and trust.

The user alleges that this sexual assault wasn’t a singular event. She claims that Leto continued to have often nonconsensual intercourse with her from the time she was 17 to the time she was 21. Nevertheless, his alleged actions have an ever-present impact on her.

“I'm 26 now and I learned from it, I don't ever want to be treated like that by any man. It just will always hurt whenever I see [Leto] on tv or in a magazine, I just see the man who took advantage of my innocence and pressured me into things sexually that I'd never done and wasn't ready to do at that time,” the user writes.

Regardless, Leto isn’t new to controversy. Gizmodo reported that Leto attempted to debunk rumors that he gifted used condoms to his Suicide Squad co-stars. Despite the fact that Leto himself said that he gave used condoms to his fellow cast members, Leto told Entertainment Weekly that his previous statements were a joke.

It’s still debatable whether or not Leto actually gave his co-stars pre-used latex gifts; however, none of that affirms any of the multiple sexual assault claims against him. 

In a Reddit thread about Leto’s performance in Suicide Squad, comments quickly divulged into the actor’s behavior on and off set. Yet, one commenter writes, “I have a cousin who goes to an expensive private high school in LA. One of her friends is the daughter of a certain famous model from the 80's/90's and has been having sex with Jared Leto as a 13/14 year old.” Regardless of inconsistent consent laws in the U.S., this claim qualifies as statutory rape in any state.

Though the commenter retells their cousin's narrative, the user notes:
"He's made her get an app that deletes messages after they're seen. And he knows she's under 18 because one of her friends took a picture of a message he sent her (before it was deleted) that said "can you come over tonight" and she said "no my parents are home". Feel free to call bullshit but I have a feeling someone will find out soon enough and he's going to be in deep shit..."

There are countless similar accusations about how Jared Leto has coerced women into copulation, groomed underage women, and convinced consenting women into age or teen-play.

While these claims have been omnipresent in online forums for the last 20 years, Dylan Sprouse and James Gunn have helped redirect necessary scrutiny to these serious allegations. However, it’s a bit conspicuous that these women have been telling their stories for years, yet we haven’t listened nor have we taken their claims seriously—until Sprouse and Gunn indirectly tweeted about them. 

Her Campus has reached out to these women who have shared their allegations.