Rainn Wilson has dropped Vine celebrity Curtis Lepore from his forthcoming show "Hollywood and Vine." The decision to cut ties with the viral media star comes as a result of online backlash surrounding rape charges that were filed against Lepore by his ex-girlfriend Jessi Smiles late last year.
Earlier this month, "The Office" star announced that his production company had cast Lepore in a new ensemble comedy show called "Hollywood and Vine," whose fictional plot will follow five young Vine celebs as they try to break into the bigger world of mainstream movies. Jerry Purpdrank, Lele Pons, Simone Shepherd, and Christian DelGrosso were also cast.
But on Friday (October 24), Wilson announced via Facebook that he had dropped Lepore from the project.
Jessi Vazquez, who's also a Vine star and video blogger under the name Jessi Smiles, accused Lepore of raping her in her sleep last fall. The two met through Vine, where they both have millions of followers, and maintained a public relationship until they broke up last August.
A few days after the split, Vazquez suffered a concussion while filming one of the six-second looping videos that she broadcasts to her followers. Lepore offered to come over and help her out while she recovered -- and then allegedly started having sex with her while she was unconscious.
Lepore denied the charges, but ultimately entered a plea deal where he pled guilty to felony assault, a less severe crime than rape. Vazquez tweeted that she was at peace with the decision and grateful to be done with the trial.
Curtis plead guilty to a felony assault today in court. It is no longer going to trial. I am okay with this and thankful for it to be over.— Jessi Smiles (@jessismiles__) February 21, 2014
While he always maintained his innocence, Lepore's behavior on social media during and after the legal process was somewhat less than professional.
Wow. TMZ? It all makes sense now. Let the second publicity stunt begin!— Curtis Lepore (@curtislepore) January 16, 2014
He accused Vazquez of lying in order to gain publicity from the trial, tweeting, "Ever seen a girl lie and manipulate a man to get her way?" He also called writer Melissa Stetten a "dumb bitch" after she asked him questions about the trial on Twitter.
@MelissaStetten thing is i didn't do that so stfu ya dumb bitch— Curtis Lepore (@curtislepore) February 24, 2014
Wilson has yet to announce who will be replacing Lepore on the series.