After at least five years of rumors, Louis C.K. admits he abused his power and forced women to watch him masturbate.
The acclaimed American comedian has issued a statement saying the rumors of his harassment are true, after the New York Times broke a story yesterday (Nov. 9) with accusers on the record for the first time. In one account, comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov said C.K. asked them to his hotel room, asked if he could take out his penis, got naked, and masturbated to completion.
“These stories are true”, C.K. wrote, as released by his publicist, Lewis Kay. “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.”
C.K. says he will take “a long time to listen”, which is just as well, given that this morning the distributors for his film set for release Nov. 17 have dropped it. He acknowledges that his reconciliation is “nothing compared to the task I left these women with.”
Written in the heartfelt but irreverent, first-person style of the comedian’s personal newsletter-with not one but two early reminders of the fact that C.K. has a penis-the statement, lacking an explicit “I’m sorry”, is undoubtedly Louis. Given that his career is premised on candor about his uncontrollable depravity, his response is in line with what his fans expected: An admission of his failings, which implicitly include the decades he spent inadequately addressing them.
Here his statement, as provided to the New York Times, in full:
I want to address the stories told to the New York Times by ﬁve women named Abby, Rebecoa, 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.