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Louis C.K. Admits to Accusations of Sexual Misconduct

Phoebe Ollerearnshaw

Image courtesy of Shuttersock

The latest celebrity to be “outed” for grossly inappropriate sexual behaviour is Louis C. K., the Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian, producer, actor and director.

On November 10, he made a statement to the press admitting to all of the accusations of sexual misconduct made against him. This confession has followed an avalanche of revelations to hit the press recently on the topic.

In early October, Harvey Weinstein—infamous film producer and movie mogul—was accused of numerous counts of sexual harassment, assault and rape spanning three decades. The details of the abhorrent actions of the producer have shaken the industry to its very core. Rumours of manipulation and wrongdoing that have circulated for years have finally been substantiated—unveiling the dark reality behind the deceptive glimmer of “tinsel town”. The collapse of Weinstein’s career has had a catalytic effect, urging victims of other sexual predators within the industry to come forward. Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Piven and Oliver Stone are just a few of the names to be added to the list of shamed males. Each case has been met with varying consequences; mostly, the repercussions have been swift and visible.

Now, Louis C.K. is one of the latest celebrity figures to be dragged into the spotlight for sexual misconduct. In a report published by The New York Times on Friday, four women recounted their unsettling interactions with the Mexican-American comedian. The accusers experienced similar exchanges that included the same grotesque punch line, but in this case, nobody was laughing. One of the incidents occurred in 2002 at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Chicago. The comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov had landed their big break and were performing at the event. After the show, Louise C. K. suggested a seemingly cordial invitation to share a nightcap with the women. They were both appalled by the comedian’s request to take out his penis and his speedy removal of his clothes.

In an interview with The New York Times, Goodman described the encounter. “He proceeded to take all of his clothes off and get completely naked and started masturbating,” she said. Various other women have gone on the record, mirroring similar experiences of sexual misconduct and advances from the comedian. Each instance has involved Louis C. K. masturbating over the phone, undressing and masturbating in front of them or asking if he could masturbate in front of them.

A history of sexual misconduct ignored

Since The New York Time’s article was published, an increasing number of public figures have confirmed their long-standing knowledge of Louis C. K.’s tendencies. It appears that he has gained a notorious reputation through the years, especially within the comedic sphere. Even after gaining global acclaim, rumours of the performer’s behaviour persisted. This begs the question: If Louis C. K.’s misconduct and abuse of power was widely known, why was no action taken before? Claims are circulating that the comedy world closed ranks if anybody threatened to speak out about his behaviour.

Editor and TV writer, Nicole Silverberg, relayed her negative experience of tweeting about the comedian’s sexual misconduct. “I was told to delete a tweet I wrote about Louis C. K. abusing women before I applied to a high-profile comedy job because the people conducting the hiring process might not like it,” she remarked. Other figures have confirmed that their attempts to speak out about Louis C. K. had led to a career-threatening decision. In 2015, Jen Kirkman said on her popular podcast, I Seem Fun, “There’s a lockdown on talking about him.” Without naming Louis C. K. directly, many gathered that this conversation was in reference to him. “I’ve been told by people, ‘Well, then, say it then. Say it if it’s true.’ If I say it, my career is over.”

While Louis C. K. has admitted to accusations of sexual misconduct, many people are exceedingly unsatisfied by the mode of his address. In an open statement he said: “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.” He continued, “These stories are true.” Within his almost 500-word address, Louis C. K. went on to describe his attempt to validate his actions because he had asked for permission each time. He stated that he had discovered “too late” that his requests weren’t questions; they presented a terrible predicament for the women involved. “The power I had over these women is that they admired me and I wielded that power irresponsibly.”

In light of the accusations of sexual misconduct, the distributors of Louis C. K.’s latest film, I Love You, Daddy have announced that they will no longer distribute the blockbuster. But this isn’t the only consequence to come of the idolised comic’s actions. Netflix have also announced their decision to axe all plans for a stand-up special with the comic. FX Networks—who had previously aired his show Louie in 2015—have also broken ties with Louis C. K.

A new Hollywood?

Hollywood’s landscape now appears to be shifting dramatically as a result of the brave sources that have spoken out. Since the first allegations of sexual misconduct and assault began several weeks ago, the topic has remained at the forefront of social interest. It has even sparked the #MeToo movement on social media that has been used to highlight the extent of global sexual misconduct. While the major focus is on female victims, male accounts of sexual harassment are also coming to light.

Those who had tried to uncover Louise C. K.’s secrets previously have shown contempt for the system. “Hollywood is only woke when it’s politically convenient”, comedian and journalist, Megan Koester, commented. “I feel disdain for the fact that people only started giving a sh*t about decades of allegations once women’s victimhood started trending. While I appreciate the fact that things are changing, I fear for the longevity of it,” she added.

Further reading: Quentin Tarantino on Harvey Weinstein: “I Wish I had Taken Responsibility”

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