Dane Cook slammed after learning he was dating resurfaced 18-year-old
Comedian Dane Cook is under fire again as TikTok users slam the 50-year-old’s relationship with girlfriend Kelsi Taylor, who started dating him 5 years ago when she was 18 years old. A TikToker has reignited the age gap controversy while criticizing Cook’s TikTok biography, which says “growing up against my will”.
TikToker Nathaniel (@nathanielrosenberg), a creator who makes humorous videos, filmed himself reacting to a screenshot of Cook’s biography.
“Has anyone else noticed that ever since Dane Cook started dating a teenager, he’s been trying to act like he’s a teenager too?” Look at this. “Growing up against my will.” What do you mean by “growing up”, you are 50 years old! This is your girlfriend growing up against your will,” the TikToker claims in the video.
@nathanielrosenberg how are you other kids #danecook #dating ♬ original sound – nathaniel
Cook is a comedian and actor who rose to popularity in the 1990s and 2000s, although his acting career has faltered in recent years. Despite the drop in acting gigs, Cook has more than 3.7 million subscribers across TwitterInstagram and TikTok.
Cook is no stranger to controversy – he’s reportedly been accused of stealing jokes from fellow comedians Louis CK and Joe Rogan, criticized as unfunny by other famous comedians and scrutinized for the difference of age in her five-year relationship with Taylor.
Taylor is an actress, singer, fitness instructor and influencer with over 37,000 followers on Instagram. Cook first opened up about her relationship with Taylor in 2017 on Instagram. In 2019, the couple publicly celebrated their two-year anniversary when Taylor was 20, according to We Weekly.
Five years after their relationship began, TikTok has reignited controversy and criticism over the couple’s age gap and Taylor’s age when they started dating.
“I’m sorry, what??” asked one user in the comments section of the viral TikTok.
“Surprised? no. disappointed? also no. disgusted? yes,” another wrote.
“They started dating when she was 18 and they were ‘friends’ before that,” TikTok creator Nathaniel replied in the comments. “His jokes aren’t the worst thing about him anymore!”
However, on the other hand, some users have come to the defense of Cook and Taylor.
“I see what you are trying to say about Dane Cook. But her as an adult and him too. So why are you leaning on it? one user commented.
In a message to the Daily Dot, Nathaniel described some of the defensive reactions to his video.
“I think the rudest thing, but the least surprising thing, is that almost all the people who defend him are other adult men. Or they are anonymous. I can’t imagine why you would go out of your way to defending a 45-year-old man who is dating a high school student, but some guys are determined to do it,” said the TikToker. “But it’s nice to see people are more socially conscious now. For every weird comment defending him , there are ten others who criticize him. I don’t know if that would be the case a few years ago.
A few users in the comments section of the TikTok viral accused Cook of nursing Taylor.
“Ah yes, the old grooming tactic,” one user commented.
Grooming is a term used to describe abusive relationships in which an older person enters into a relationship with a child or young adult, using manipulative tactics to exploit and control them. According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), some abusers may imitate the behavior of young people in order to gain their trust.
“A groomer can use the same sites, games and apps as young people, spend time learning about a young person’s interests, and use that to build a relationship with them,” the NSPCC states on its website.
Other famous comedians and actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Zach Braff and Jerry Seinfeld have faced grooming charges in recent years after dating much younger women in their teens or early 20s.
“Some of the comments pointed out that it’s standard grooming behavior to try to impersonate a child. I didn’t expect to open a discussion, but I’m glad my dumb joke might signal an imbalance of sadly common power in Hollywood,” Nathaniel told the Daily Dot.
The Daily Dot has reached out to representatives for Cook and Taylor listed on their respective IMDbPro pages.
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*First published: June 1, 2022, 3:39 p.m. CDT
Grace Stanley is a journalist covering creators and influencers. They were previously social media managers for Nautilus Magazine and attended the University of Texas at Austin.