Louis C.K. has confirmed the stories are true.
The comedian made headlines after five women came forward to allege he masturbated in front of them without their consent.
The New York Times broke the story:
[…] after years of unsubstantiated rumors about Louis C.K. masturbating in front of associates, women are coming forward to describe what they experienced. Even amid the current burst of sexual misconduct accusations against powerful men, the stories about Louis C.K. stand out because he has so few equals in comedy. In the years since the incidents the women describe, he has sold out Madison Square Garden eight times, created an Emmy-winning TV series, and accumulated the clout of a tastemaker and auteur, with the help of a manager who represents some of the biggest names in comedy. And Louis C.K. built a reputation as the unlikely conscience of the comedy scene, by making audiences laugh about hypocrisy — especially male hypocrisy.
After the story broke, the fallout was immediate, and companies began to cut ties with the comic.
Less than 24 hours after the women went public, the distribution company The Orchard announced it wouldn’t move forward with the release of C.K.’s new movie, “I Love You, Daddy.” C.K.’s appearances on the “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and an upcoming HBO comedy benefit special were also canceled, and Netflix announced it wouldn’t produce C.K.’s planned upcoming comedy special.
Based on Louis CK’s behavior, we are not making his second stand up special.
— Netflix US (@netflix) November 10, 2017
The comedian initially declined to comment through his publicist. The New York Times wrote:
After being contacted for an interview this week about the on-the-record accusations of sexual misconduct — encounters that took place over a decade ago — Louis C.K.’s publicist, Lewis Kay, said the comedian would not respond. “Louis is not going to answer any questions,” Mr. Kay wrote in an email Tuesday night.
Neither Louis C.K. nor Mr. Kay replied to follow-up emails in which the accusations were laid out in detail, or to voice messages or texts.
Some of C.K.’s most notable partners and backers have already started distancing themselves.
The network that made Louis C.K. a powerful auteur is backing away. Just hours after The New York Times published a report in which five women accused the comedian of sexual misconduct, FX has announced that it is now reviewing its own history with C.K.
“We are obviously very troubled by the allegations about Louis C.K. published in The New York Times today,” the network said in a statement. “The network has received no allegations of misconduct by Louis C.K. related to any of our five shows produced together over the past eight years. FX Networks and F.X.P. take all necessary actions to protect our employees and thoroughly investigate any allegations of misconduct within our workplace. That said, the matter is currently under review.”
Now the comedian is speaking, and he admits the veracity of the accusations against him.
I want to address the stories told to The New York Times by five women named Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not.
These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position. I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it. There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with. I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work.
The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them. I’d be remiss to exclude the hurt that I’ve brought on people who I work with and have worked with who’s professional and personal lives have been impacted by all of this, including projects currently in production: the cast and crew of Better Things, Baskets, The Cops, One Mississippi, and I Love You, Daddy. I deeply regret that this has brought negative attention to my manager Dave Becky who only tried to mediate a situation that I caused. I’ve brought anguish and hardship to the people at FX who have given me so much The Orchard who took a chance on my movie. and every other entity that has bet on me through the years. I’ve brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother.
I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen. Thank you for reading.
Some saw his statement as acceptable, while still condemning his behavior:
Yes, Louis CK’s statement is good — significantly better than Moore’s, Weinstein’s, Trump’s etc. He owned up.
No, this does not mean he gets a gold star. No one gets a gold star for basic human decency years after violating people and lying about it.
— Emma Gray (@emmaladyrose) November 10, 2017
Others didn’t appreciate his choice of words:
So that Louis CK statement uses the words “admired,” “admiration,” “power” or “powerful” in reference to him five times and includes the words “sorry” or “apologize” zero times.
— Bonnie Stiernberg (@aahrealbonsters) November 10, 2017
Or thought he could have used an editor:
Louis CK proudly edits his own work, but another pair of eyes might have suggested cutting at least one of the four times he said his victims “admired” him.
— Max Silvestri (@maxsilvestri) November 10, 2017
Others pointed out that C.K. had previously denied these allegations, implying that the apology was an insincere tool of last resort:
Two months ago, Louis CK had said his accusers were spreading “rumors.” His fans continued to revere him. Under pressure, he has now confessed and awaits patiently his redemption. There is a script, and men know it by heart.
— EngelsInTheOutfield (@praxicalmagic) November 10, 2017
Everyone applauding Louis CK “owning up” in apology: he did it because NYT report and women going on the record forced him to.
— Nick Corasaniti (@NYTnickc) November 10, 2017
The comic denied improper behavior in a New York Times profile a mere two months ago.
Unsubstantiated internet rumors of sexual misconduct with female comics gained steam last month when the comic Tig Notaro told The Daily Beast that he should “handle” the rumors. “I Love You, Daddy” tackles similar rumormongering; however, like the auteur in the film, Louis C.K. at first dodged when asked about them.
“I’m not going to answer to that stuff, because they’re rumors,” Louis C.K. said during the Toronto interview, as he told Vulture last year. But he added on Sunday, “If you actually participate in a rumor, you make it bigger and you make it real.”
So it’s not real? “No.” he responded. “They’re rumors, that’s all that is.”
And what did he make of the comments by Ms. Notaro, whose work he has championed? (Louis C.K. is an executive producer of her Amazon series, “One Mississippi,” though she has said they haven’t spoken in over a year; a new episode of her series features a plot with echoes of the rumors about Louis C.K.) “I don’t know why she said the things she’s said, I really don’t,” he replied, adding, “I don’t think talking about that stuff in the press and having conversations over press lanes is a good idea.”
Tig Notaro is just one of Louis C.K.’s business associates lamenting their connection to the star:
In addition to women who spoke about misconduct, Tig Notaro says she feels “trapped” by association with Louis CK. “Sadly, I’ve come to learn that Louis C.K.’s victims are not only real, but many are actual friends of mine within the comedy community” https://t.co/ENqqqQeXmP pic.twitter.com/bYnx5gCrwA
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) November 9, 2017
The timing of C.K.’s apology is now suspect, as many onlookers noted he only addressed the allegations once the Times went to press.
Stories are only true in Louis CK’s eyes when reported by the New York Times. When other journalist inquired they were shut down and shut out. When colleagues like Tig Notaro asked for explanation, he said “I don’t care about that. That’s nothing to me. That’s not real.” https://t.co/G0KO4X1S6a
— Amy Kishek (@amykishek) November 10, 2017
As the entertainment industry continues to reckon with a culture marred by pervasive abuse and rampant harassment, Louis C.K. is the latest high-profile perpetrator to be called out. Whether or not his career is “done” remains to be seen.