Jessica Szohr calls the numerous sexual assault claims brought against Ed Westwick "shocking" in a new interview with Cosmpolitan.
The Gossip Girl alum has denied claims from two of the three women who allege Westwick assaulted or attempted to rape them. The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating one woman's alleged account, but no charges have been filed against the actor as of yet.
Szohr, who dated her co-star between 2008 and 2010, spoke to Westwick's character and the "difficult time" he's going through: "It's a difficult subject right now for anyone that's involved on either side. I don't even really know how to answer it, if I should, because I don't want anything to get twisted, because I have known Ed for years and know how lovely he is, and don't think he would ever put someone in a position like that."
She then appeared to question his accusers, continuing, "It's difficult, because you don't want someone you know to go through that or do that to someone, or knowing them well, knowing that you don't think they would, and you don't want, for the girls that are coming forward, it's like, are they stretching the truth?"
Despite defending Westwick, Jessica said she's happy survivors of sexual misconduct have more courage than ever to speak up.
"It's just, it's a touchy, tough thing that you pray it's not true and that with, outside of even him, all these different topics coming up, I'm glad that there's notice being put on it for women that are going through it," she added.
"But I also think it's a touchy, crazy thing too," Szohr shared, "because some people are going into these different situations and they're not coming out true. So it's like, well, why are people making it up, because that takes away from the girls that are going through it. And then it's also hard to go back and try to get evidence from things that were so long ago."
Jessica broached the topic sensitively, admitting that because she was not present, "I can't say it did or it didn't happen."
"But I know him well and I've known him for years," the actress noted, "and I found it shocking. And I hope that it's untrue, but I also feel bad for anyone that's been in that situation, for the women that have to deal with that, for the situations that are true."
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Jessica confirmed to the magazine that she has been in contact with Westwick, who she described as having a "difficult time." She explained, "He's being accused of something that he's publicly saying he didn't do. So it's, you know, tough on him. His show got canceled."
From Ed's perspective, Szohr said, "You know, he's like, 'The truth will come out and hopefully people see that and hopefully that's it.' It's just such an unfortunate thing all around. And I have to be so careful, because it's not my situation and I don't—I wasn't there. So it's hard to speak on behalf of those girls or him.
Her remarks concluded, "I don't know those girls at all, and they could be lovely and awesome and all that. From the Ed I know and working with him for five years and having a friendship through all of that and after, it was shocking. It was shocking."
Westwick has disputed the claims brought against him via social media, saying in one statement, "It is disheartening and sad to me that as a result of two unverified and provably untrue social media claims, there are some in this environment who could ever conclude I have had anything to do with such vile and horrific conduct."
"I have absolutely not, and I am cooperating with the authorities so that they can clear my name as soon as possible."