Multiple Women Accuse Chris Noth of Sexual Assault
Content warning: This article contains mentions of alleged sexual assault incidents and predatory behavior.
In 2021, "Sex and the City" star Chris Noth was accused of sexual assault and predatory behavior by multiple women. The first allegations emerged in December of that year, when two of the alleged survivors told The Hollywood Reporter — under the pseudonyms Lily and Zoe — that the "Sex and the City" reboot Noth starred in, "And Just Like That," triggered them to come forward. A third alleged survivor, under the pseudonym Ava, spoke to The Daily Beast and POPSUGAR about how her story initially went unheard. A fourth woman, country-pop singer Lisa Gentile spoke out about her alleged sexual assault in December of that year as well.
Lily, a then-31-year-old journalist, reached out to The Hollywood Reporter in August 2021 to share her story, and Zoe, a then-40-year-old working in the entertainment industry, reached out to the outlet that October. "Seeing that he was reprising his role in 'Sex and the City' set off something in me," Zoe told the outlet. "For so many years, I buried it." But in 2021, she decided "to try to go public with who he is."
Zoe recalled meeting Noth in 2004 while she was working at a firm in Los Angeles that celebrities conducted business with. She was 22 and he was 49 at the time. "This was peak 'Sex and the City,'" she told THR. "He was like a god to us." She then alleged that Noth began calling her work number and leaving "kind of flirty" voicemails. Her former boss backed up the claim while speaking to the outlet. Things then escalated when Noth reportedly invited her over to the pool at his apartment building, where her friend also lived. While in the jacuzzi, the actor allegedly left a book for her to read and asked her to return it to his apartment when she had a chance to look through it. Zoe alleged that at his apartment, he raped her.
Meanwhile, Lily told THR that she met Noth while working as a VIP section server in a New York City nightclub when she was 25 and he was 60. He was married with children at the time. The journalist said she was "truly star-struck" at the time and was thrilled when he asked her out to dinner. The two reportedly had drinks and then went to his apartment, where Noth allegedly raped her. "I was feeling awful. Totally violated. All of my dreams with this star I loved for years were gone," she told THR.
In a statement to THR at the time, Noth responded to the sexual assault allegations, calling them "categorically false." "These stories could've been from 30 years ago or 30 days ago — no always means no — that is a line I did not cross," he said. "The encounters were consensual. It's difficult not to question the timing of these stories coming out. I don't know for certain why they are surfacing now, but I do know this: I did not assault these women."
Ava came forward with her story to The Daily Beast in December 2021. The woman, a then-30-year-old tech CEO, claimed the alleged assault took place when she was 18 working as a hostess at the New York City restaurant Da Marino. At the time, she was pursuing an acting career. Ava was open about the experience to her family and friends at the time of the alleged assault. She also spoke out about it in 2017 amid the height of the #MeToo movement, when survivors would share their stories of alleged sexual assault by other celebrities in email chains. Regardless, her accusations of Noth were never reported on.
POPSUGAR spoke with Ava about how she felt about the resurgence of Noth in the spotlight amid the "And Just Like That" reboot and the fallout amid sexual assault accusations. "It did take me finding my own success in business to feel confident enough to share my story in 2017 . . . Much of me hoped my experience with Noth was unique or at least not something that happens anymore," she shared. "Reading the 2015 account from Hollywood Reporter and Noth's statements in response to our stories was disappointing." Ava admittedly said that when the "Sex and the City" movies came out years after her assault, she and her friends "boo'd and flung popcorn every time he came on screen. "Not the most mature response, but honest."
Following her decision to share her story with The Daily Beast, Ava said, "My family and I have spent a week in fear." She also said she had a sense of relief that other women were being heard. Rather than stick behind Noth, shortly after the allegations emerged, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis released a statement in support of "the women who had come forward and shared their painful experiences." Ava told POPSUGAR she felt "grateful for the support of these powerful women, and hopeful it encourages others to feel safe sharing their accounts." The tech CEO added, "Their commendations remind me of why I shared my experience in the first place: for the well-being of other women, for personal closure, and as a catalyst for his self-reflection."
After Ava moved on from life as an actor, she had a big moment of realization about how instances of sexual assault continue to plague the industry. "Actors are taught they are expendable and replaceable. After starting my own company, I understood a major issue when I was acting was that there was rarely, unlike in business, harassment prevention training or an HR department to file complaints with," she shared, noting, "But this is changing. The industry is listening now, and it's important to come forward with honesty if something happens to you."
Ava alleged that on one occasion, Noth pulled her onto his lap and groped her. At first, she said, she found it "electrifying" because he used those same hands to hold the fictional Carrie Bradshaw. The tech executive told The Daily Beast that on another night, the actor followed her through the kitchen of the restaurant and into the office where she went to get her paycheck. "He acted as if we had intentionally snuck off together clandestinely," Ava said of Noth, whom she claimed was heavily intoxicated. The "Sex and the City" actor then began to digitally penetrate her until he felt a tampon, she claimed. "At first, it felt as though I was the only person in the universe who could hear me saying no," she reported. "I was so hopeful that would be the end of it." However, Noth allegedly continued to pursue her. "He wasn't hearing 'no,' but he heard me when I said 'not here' and convinced him that I would meet him somewhere else," she said, adding that he allegedly offered to send a car to her place but she did not answer.
The tech CEO reported the incident to her parents, who then told Da Marino, but the restaurant reportedly did not take the allegations seriously. Da Marino did not respond to The Daily Beast's request to comment. Noth's publicist told the outlet the actor "denies this as ever happening and has no idea who this woman is."
In the wake of Zoe, Ava, and the actor Zoe Lister-Jones coming forward about their alleged sexual assault incidents, musician Gentile claimed she experienced the same. During a December 2021 press conference, the singer, alongside her attorney Gloria Allred, gave a testimony of the alleged assault in 2002. Like Ava, Gentile said she met Noth at Da Marino.
The two "became acquaintances," Gentile claimed. On one night, Noth offered to drive her home and asked to go into her apartment, the singer alleged. While in her apartment, "He started kissing me almost right away. Then he leaned against the kitchen countertop and forcibly pulled me against him," adding that he "became more aggressive" as he groped her breasts, the country-pop singer claimed. Noth then allegedly exposed himself and pulled Gentile's hand down to touch his erection, she claimed at the press conference. "No, I don't want this," she recalled telling the actor, who then reportedly stormed out of her apartment calling her "a tease and a b*tch."
Gentile alleged that Noth called her the next day and threatened that if she ever told anyone what happened, "he would ruin my career, that I would never sing again, and that he would blacklist me in the business." The singer decided to speak out about the alleged sexual assault "in support of the other four women who have courageously come forward before me." She then suggested other alleged survivors seek legal action against Noth. "I feel that we should have our day in court to seek to hold Mr. Noth accountable for what he did — and also speaking out to ensure the rights of my nieces, my goddaughter, and future victims of sexual harassment and assault," Gentile concluded.
The singer and her attorney, Allred, also responded to the statement from the leading "And Just Like That" women who condemned Noth. "Lisa and I appreciate their words of support for the previous accusers of Chris Noth, and now we urge Sarah, Cynthia, and Kristin to take action to speak out in support of the Adult Survivors Act as Lisa and I are doing today," Allred said, noting that the statute of limitations to seek criminal action against Noth had expired in Gentile's case.
Lister-Jones also spoke out about her alleged assault following the THR report. In a December 2021 Instagram post, the actor said a friend had asked her for her reaction about Noth's "And Just Like That" character, Mr. Big, dying in the first episode, to which she candidly admitted, "I felt relieved." "I couldn't separate the actor from the man, and the man is a sexual predator," Lister-Jones alleged. "I hadn't thought of this man for so many years, and yet there was a virility to my language that came from somewhere deep and buried."
Lister-Jones claimed that while working at a New York City nightclub owned by Noth (The Cutting Room in Manhattan), the "Sex and the City" actor was "consistently sexually inappropriate" toward her and a fellow female promoter. She also alleged that while she worked as a guest star on "Law & Order," Noth was "drunk on set." "During my interrogation scene he had a 22 oz. of beer under the table that he would drink in between takes," Lister-Jones claimed. "In one take he got close to me, sniffed my neck, and whispered, 'You smell good.' I didn't say anything. My friend at the club never said anything. It's so rare that we do."
She continued, "My experiences are small in comparison to the accounts of assault that have so bravely been shared today. But navigating predation at any level is a burden all women have to bear. And for the most part there is no accountability, and no consequence." Lister-Jones added, "Chris Noth capitalized on the fantasy that women believed Mr. Big represented." A rep for Noth did not respond to People's request to comment on the allegations. However, a source told the outlet, "To allege Chris was drunk on the set of "Law & Order" is also entirely false."
After the first three alleged victims came forward, Noth was dropped by his talent agency and CBS crime drama, "The Equalizer," E! News previously reported. Meanwhile, Noth's "And Just Like That" character, Mr. Big, dies of a heart attack in episode one of the reboot's first season after completing a ride with his favorite Peloton instructor, Jess King. In an effort to combat the association of its bikes with death, Peloton released a cheeky commercial spearheaded by Ryan Reynolds's Maximum Effort marketing company on Dec. 13, 2021, featuring Noth and King. The ad emphasized the health benefits of cycling.
Following THR's report on Noth's sexual assault allegations, Peloton removed the ad from all of its social media outlets. Reynolds, who does a voice-over in the commercial, also took down the ad from his Twitter account. In a statement to THR, a Peloton spokesperson said, "Every single sexual assault accusation must be taken seriously." They further explained, "We were unaware of these allegations when we featured Chris Noth in our response to HBO's reboot. As we seek to learn more, we have stopped promoting this video and archived related social posts."
If you or someone you know would like to speak with someone who is trained to assist sexual assault survivors, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.