The Harvey Weinstein ripple effects continue to spread. On Thursday, The New York Times published a report in which five women tell stories of Louis C.K.’s misbehavior.
Update 2: FX has severed all ties with C.K. He will no longer receive compensation for the shows he was producing: Better Things, Baskets, One Mississippi and The Cops. Yesterday, Netflix and HBO severed ties.
Update: Louis C.K. has issued an open statement in which he confirms the stories and details what went through his head. His statement follows in full.
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 okay 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.
Since the NYT’s report, Netflix has canceled their plan to do a second stand up special with C.K., HBO has pulled down their C.K., stand-up specials, and the release of his upcoming film I Love You Daddy has been canceled.
Original story (November 9): Though long-rumored, the NYT’s on-the-record report arrives as Hollywood purges its predators, meaning that C.K.’s career is likely doomed (and changes have already started: Tonight’s premiere of his latest film has been canceled).
The five women all had similar accusations against Louis C.K.: That he would ask, and sometimes proceed, to masturbate in front of them.
The report opens with an incident in which Chicago-based comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov were together with Louis when he pulled the misconduct:
As soon as they sat down in his room, still wrapped in their winter jackets and hats, Louis C.K. asked if he could take out his penis, the women said.
They thought it was a joke and laughed it off. “And then he really did it,” Ms. Goodman said in an interview with The New York Times. “He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating.”
In another story, a woman recalls him masturbating over the phone:
She said she heard the blinds coming down. Then he slowly started telling her his sexual fantasies, breathing heavily and talking softly. She realized he was masturbating, and was dumbfounded. The call went on for several minutes, even though, Ms. Schachner said, “I definitely wasn’t encouraging it.” But she didn’t know how to end it, either. “You want to believe it’s not happening,” she said. A friend, Stuart Harris, confirmed that Ms. Schachner had described the call to him in 2003.
The report goes on to cite a couple of Facebook messages that C.K. had sent his victims. In one message in which he tries to apologize, he incorrectly recalls his behavior, which in turn made the victim worry about how many other women had dealt with him.
Comedian Tig Notaro was also interviewed for the article. While she wasn’t one of his victims, she believes the help he provided in launching her career was to help cover up his behavior. “He knew it was going to make him look like a good guy, supporting a woman,” he said.
Until news of this report started to surface early Thursday, C.K. was in the midst of promoting I Love You Daddy, a film that makes references to the behavior of alleged predator Woody Allen.