Disturbing Allegations About Jerry Lewis Have Fans Reeling

The following article includes allegations of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

One of Jerry Lewis' last interviews left an indelible mark for being "painfully awkward" and tense. In late 2016, the legendary comedian gave a seven-minute interview to The Hollywood Reporter that went viral, as Lewis seemed resentful of having to talk, and snapped back when the interviewer asked the actor if he had considered retirement. Multiple celebrities praised Lewis for his ornery demeanor. "Love this and Jerry L. so much. The essence of every comedian on display," Jerry Seinfeld tweeted at the time. "I've watched this twice and winding up for number three. Best ever," Howard Stern wrote on Twitter. "Sums up how I feel when I sit down for an interview. I'm jealous of Jerry!" Sarah Palin wrote while retweeting the clip.

At one point in the interview, Lewis spoke about his son Joseph, who died by suicide in 2009. Years earlier, Joseph publicly accused his father of being abusive at home. This led to "The Nutty Professor" star disowning his son, who died destitute, per The Sun. "I've worked under the most painful conditions any man has ever felt in his life," Lewis told THR when speaking about his son's death. "But when I walk out on that stage, the pain goes away." Over the years, Lewis earned the moniker as the "Dark Prince" of comedy.

When Lewis died in 2017, scores of celebrities took to Twitter to share their fondness for the comedian. Nearly five years after his death, disturbing allegations surfaced, which inspired a much different online reaction.

Two co-stars spoke out against Jerry Lewis

Two women who worked with Jerry Lewis on movies in the 1960s have accused the actor of sexual assault. The allegations were detailed in a documentary for Vanity Fair. Karen Sharpe, who was Lewis' romantic interest in the 1964 film "The Disorderly Orderly," recalled when the actor allegedly accosted her in a dressing room before filming on the movie began. "He grabbed me. He began to fondle me. He unzipped his pants. Quite frankly, I was dumbstruck," Sharpe claimed to VF. The Golden Globe winner was able to thwart Lewis' advancements. "I could see that he was furious. I got the feeling that that never really happened to him," she recalled. Instead of continuing to work together, Sharpe offered to quit, but Lewis refused because her contract was already signed.

While working on the 1961 film "The Ladies Man," actor Hope Holiday was invited into Lewis' dressing room, where he reportedly locked the door. Holiday alleges that Lewis started discussing her physical features in detail and masturbated in front of her. "He starts to talk dirty to me and as he's talking, the pants open, and the ugly thing came out," she claimed to Vanity Fair.

Once news of Sharpe and Holiday's allegations broke, several fans took to social media to express their disgust. "F**k Jerry Lewis. F**k ALL attackers.I hope he's burning in hell," one Twitter user wrote. "Jerry Lewis's annoying 'Hey Lady!' catchphrase had much deeper subtext," another commented. "And Jerry Lewis is one of many who can rot in... the pages of Vanity Fair," a person wrote on Twitter.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).