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Molly Shannon says she was sexually harassed by 'Diff’rent Strokes' star Gary Coleman

“He was relentless,” Shannon said of Coleman, who died in 2010.
Gary Coleman and Molly Shannon.
Gary Coleman and Molly Shannon.Richard Drew, Richard Shotwell / AP

Comedian Molly Shannon said she was sexually harassed by "Diff’rent Strokes" star Gary Coleman at the start of her career.

Appearing on “The Howard Stern Show” to talk about her new memoir, "Hello, Molly!" Shannon was asked by Stern about a part of the book in which she recounts the experience.

Coleman died in 2010 at age 42.

Shannon, 57, told Stern that she had landed Coleman's agent and that the agent asked her whether she wanted to meet the megastar. She was initially excited, but after her agent led her up to Coleman in the presidential suite of a hotel, she said, the agent "disappeared."

Coleman, Shannon said, had her sit on the bed and then began tickling her.

"I was trying to be polite and stuff. I’m a polite Catholic girl — and a virgin," Shannon said. "So I’m not even thinking about, I’m naive about anything about that."

Shannon said Coleman repeatedly tried to kiss her and get on top of her. "He was relentless," she said.

"I would get off the bed, then he would bounce on the bed — jump jump jump jump — then he would wrap himself around me, and I would fling him off," Shannon recalled.

"I guess, because of his size, I didn’t feel physically threatened," she said. But "I’m getting really out of breath, because it was, like, athletic and aerobic."

Coleman was about 4 feet, 8 inches tall.

Shannon said that she tried to retreat to the bathroom but that Coleman grabbed her leg. She was able to shake him off and lock herself in the bathroom, she said.

While she was in there, Coleman "sticks his hands under the door, and he’s like, 'I can see you,'" Shannon said.

She said she eventually "sprinted" out of the room.

"I think I was probably very polite," Shannon said, but she told her agent, "You gotta watch that client of yours." 

"I wish I could have stood up for myself more," Shannon told Stern.