Louis C.K. has issued a public statement to five women who accused him of sexual misconduct, including masturbating in front of them on multiple occasions.
Louis C.K. admits that all of the allegations against him, which were made public in a Nov. 9 New York Times report (paywall), are true. He also apologizes for the damage he has done to these women.
However, Louis C.K.’s “apology” devolves into an attempt to paint himself as suffering and worthy of sympathy. He says that until the Times report, he did not realize the full extent of the harm he caused women by taking out his penis and masturbating in front of them. He also tries to reduce his culpability by noting that, at the time of his actions, he thought simply asking if it was OK to masturbate in front of women was enough to guarantee consent.
What’s more, Louis C.K. does not mention his attempts to cover up his actions, nor his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the accusations that have been made several times before.
He does, however, make sure to note how “admired” he was, and is, both by the women he harassed, and the comedy industry at large. In fact, he repeats it four times in his statement.
We took it upon ourselves to edit Louis C.K.’s “apology” in order to make it a real apology. This is how we believe it should read:
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 was in a position to affect their success. And I wielded that power irresponsibly abusively.
I have been remorseful am sorry.
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 powerful 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 m. My position allowed me not to think worry 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 whose 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.