Louis C.K. is the latest in a string of celebrities accused of multiple accounts of sexual harassment or assault, after a damning report by the New York Times published on Thursday featured accounts from five women who claimed they were the victims of sexual misconduct by the comedian. He declined to comment to the Times, but on Friday, Louis C.K. admitted to sexual misconduct allegations in an email statement to Bustle. The same statement was later provided to the Times, as well as several other media outlets.
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.
The Times report outlines four incidents, referenced above in C.K.'s statement. Chicago comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov said that following a 2002 comedy festival in Aspen, Colorado, C.K. "asked if he could take out his penis" in front of them, then "proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating." Comedian Abby Schachner said that C.K. masturbated during a phone call with her in 2003. Comedian Rebecca Corry, said he asked to masturbate in front of her in 2005, but she said no. An anonymous employee of "The Chris Rock Show" said C.K. asked her to watch him masturbate on multiple occasions, "something that I knew was wrong," she said, but she agreed because he was in a position of power.
It should be noted that this is one of the rare instances when a celebrity accused of sexual misconduct has actually admitted to his wrongdoing and apologized without shifting the blame. I hope that, at the very least, will bring some small amount of comfort to his victims. It's a good first step, but whether his victims, fans, and colleagues will ever forgive him will depend on the next ones.