This past Wednesday, the New York Times published a report detailing the Louis CK sexual harassment allegations, which for years had been only rumors and largely limited to comedy circles. The report describes the allegations of five women–four who went on the record, and one who asked for anonymity to protect her family’s privacy–all of whom describe similar incidents involving CK first asking if he can masturbate in front of them, and then doing so after each woman said no.
In response, CK issued a statement through his publicist in which he confirmed each woman’s claim, saying “These stories are true.” CK’s statement is so far unique among the current wave of sexual harassment outings in the entertainment industry in that he both acknowledges wrongdoing and claims that he “will now step back” from his career “and take a long time to listen.” However, as many observers have already pointed out, one thing the statement doesn’t include is an explicit apology.
Here’s the comedian’s response to the Louis CK sexual harassment allegations:
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.
As the Times also reported, CK’s movie I Love You, Daddy, which had been scheduled for a premiere earlier this week and a general release this autumn, has since been canceled. In addition, FX Networks, which aired CK’s show Louie, has ended its association with him, and FX Productions–responsible for producing the CK-associated shows Baskets, Better Things, The Cops, and One Mississippi, stripped CK of his role as executive producer on those shows.
This past September, during a publicity push for I Love You, Daddy, the comedian was asked point-blank about the Louis CK sexual harassment allegations. He denied them on-record for the first time, saying “They’re rumors, that’s all it is.”
(Photo credit: Louis CK sexual harassment allegations via Splash News)