Last month, a Milwaukee woman named Erica Denae Meshke published a lengthy Facebook post alleging she was raped at the hands of an unnamed Tinder man, revealed in the comments to be aspiring comedian Michael Friday. Friday, who competed on ABC’s new show The Proposal, denied the accusations. Now a second Milwaukee-area woman, Karina Solina, is coming forward with sexual-assault allegations against Friday.
“He basically sexually assaulted me,” Solina, 24, said of the encounter in an interview with The Daily Beast. Originally from Ukraine, Solina has lived most of her life in the U.S. and says she also met Friday on Tinder in February of this year. Solina liked his long hair, she said, and “he seemed very nice, at first.” After messaging for a few weeks on Tinder and Snapchat, they set a date to meet up a week or so after Valentine’s Day, Solina says.
They agreed to meet at a local Milwaukee bar. “I really didn’t have that much to drink,” Solina says. “I really only had, from what I remember, one drink with him.” After just one drink, however, she began to feel “really drunk and tired” and wanted to lay down. “I was like, ‘I just want to go to sleep,’” Solina explains. “And then he's like, ‘Okay, sure,’ and gets me in his car, and we end up at his place.”
Once they got back to Friday’s place, “I was definitely not able to consent to what I was doing,” Solina says, adding, “I was too drunk—or whatever he did.”
“He [took] my clothes off, and he forced me to some sexual acts on him that I wasn’t really too keen on doing,” Solina says, adding that she repeatedly told Friday to stop during the alleged assault, but was too incapacitated to take much of a stand. “He was judging me,” Solina says, claiming that Friday told her she was “really bad” at some of the sexual acts she was forced to perform, and that he allegedly urged her to “be better” at them.
Eventually, Solina says, she came to and, after pushing Friday off her, begged him to take her home, which he did. “As soon as I got home, I blocked him on Tinder, I blocked him off everything,” Solina says.
In the aftermath of her assault, Solina says she felt embarrassed and did not file a police report. “I knew I didn’t consent,” she explains, “but I was also too drunk so I felt like it was my fault for the longest time.” She says she’s timid when it comes to talking about sex, and that coming forward with her story took “a lot of guts.” Still, Solina revealed, she is planning to file a police report in the near future.
ABC pulled the episode of The Proposal featuring Friday after Meshke’s initial Facebook post. The network and show producers subsequently released a statement: “An allegation has been made against a contestant on next week’s episode of The Proposal. While the accusation was not related to the contestant’s appearance on the program, we take it very seriously. ABC and the producers of The Proposal are pulling the episode while this matter is under review.”
When contacted by The Daily Beast on Tuesday in regards to his accusers’ claims, Friday wrote via Facebook, “There are no allegations against me.” In subsequent messages, he called Meshke’s post “nonsense… all bullshit,” and “not real allegations” since she did not file a police report immediately after her alleged assault.
Since Meshke’s post last week, more women have taken to Facebook and Twitter to share their encounters with Friday.
Women have left comments on Friday’s Facebook, calling him a “fucking rapist” and accusing him of verbal abuse. Several of these women, when contacted by The Daily Beast, declined to elaborate on their claims. Friday recently threatened to “[sue] the fuck out of anyone who’s made any libelous statements against me regarding the motherfucking bullshit allegations that were thrown at me for nothing more than attention.”
Fans active in online discussions of the reality show Survivor also posted about their experiences with Friday, who frequently tweeted and recorded YouTube video recaps of new episodes. On Twitter, one woman claimed Friday used to “slide into [her] DMs” and that she later unfollowed him after he “was talking about some girl really fucking grossly for rejecting him at a bar.” Another woman posted about a brief Twitter exchange with Friday, in which he created a poll asking followers why she wasn’t “madly in love” with him. He later called her a “self-absorbed clown with fucked up eyelashes.”
In a YouTube video posted in March, Friday issued an apology of sorts for his behavior on Twitter, specifically within the Survivor fandom. “I was having a hard time on Twitter with people, and I was just kind of lashing out at people,” Friday admitted in the video. “I’ve realized about myself that… I was always trying to control things, and I was trying to control people.”
In an email to The Daily Beast, a female comic active in Milwaukee’s comedy community shared her own Tinder experience with Friday. The comic, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she matched with Friday while in Milwaukee in June. Billing himself as a prominent comic and YouTube star within the scene, Friday offered to introduce the female comic to other comics he knew, she says. She declined, saying she was already familiar with most Milwaukee comics and was otherwise busy. Friday was persistent and gave the comic his number, urging her to text him.
She never did, and says she is now thankful for her decision. “I was instantly turned off by the idea that he thought he could help me out with my comedy career,” she said. According to the comic, the entire Tinder exchange took fifteen minutes, a “big red flag” for her. When she asked friends in Milwaukee about Friday, they cautioned her against him, calling him a weirdo.
A Milwaukee comedy producer echoed the female comic’s sentiments. In an interview with The Daily Beast, he said that Friday had a carefully crafted public persona as a mellow, enlightened person who “wanted to be famous.” The producer, who also wished to remain anonymous, alleged that there’d been instances of Friday groping and making sexually explicit comments to women at comedy club open mics. Another Milwaukee-area comic who spoke separately with the Beast also mentioned Friday’s alleged predatory behavior at open mics.
After last week’s sexual assault allegations came to light, the producer says that he and other open mic organizers decided to collectively ban Friday from future open mics. “We tried to do as much as we could, proactively, to not let this happen to someone else,” the producer explained.
Friday has been outspoken in his responses to accusers.
He first posted a rambling pseudo-apology, framed by his interpretations of the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, after Meshke came forward. It has since been taken down.
And in a since-deleted YouTube video posted to his Facebook and Twitter accounts last Monday morning, Friday went on a rage-filled rant against his alleged victim and the media. “A girl said some shit on Facebook to get some fucking attention,” Friday says in his video. “Good job! I didn’t fucking rape you.” In the video, he calls the victim “some fucking dumb piece of shit” who “decided to spread some fucking bullshit on fucking Facebook to get some fucking attention for herself.”
“I do not want to motherfucking hear that this girl is a motherfucking victim anymore,” Friday ranted in the video. He claimed he, in fact, is the real victim.
Friday’s friends, too, have defended him online, often questioning victims’ credibility and insulting the women who’ve come forward, using epithets such as “fake fuck” and “coke head bimbo’s [sic].” Most of these tweets and comments have been deleted. Peter Lux, a Facebook friend of Friday’s and frequent commenter on his social media posts, produced a low-quality diss track called “Bad Famous” and posted it to his SoundCloud account days after Meshe came forward with sexual abuse allegations against Friday, though Lux claims the song is about football player Jameis Winston. “I didn’t touch that woman / I didn’t touch that bitch,” the song’s refrain says. “This ho, she just wanna be a victim.”
For many who knew Friday or were familiar with his efforts to ingratiate himself in the Milwaukee comedy scene, none of this comes as a surprise. Most sources The Daily Beast spoke to said that while Friday seemed nice at first, they quickly got a creepy vibe from him.
“[The current abuse allegations] completely [break] the character that he was always trying to project,” the comedy producer said in regards to Friday. But when the allegations came to light, he says, “that's when we were like, ‘Oh, this is the real guy that [Friday] was hiding.’”
Update: This story has been updated to reflect Peter Lux's claim about the subject of a song he produced called "Bad Famous."