Democracy Dies in Darkness

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The entertainment world reacts to Louis C.K. sexual harassment allegations

November 9, 2017 at 5:15 PM

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After being accused of sexual misconduct by five women in a New York Times report, comedian Louis C.K. says their stories are "true." The release of his new movie, "I Love You, Daddy," was cancelled after the story's publication. (Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post)

This post has been updated.

On Thursday afternoon, the New York Times released a story about sexual harassment allegations against comedian Louis C.K. Most big-name comedians have remained silent on the subject so far, but others in the entertainment industry are reacting, and let’s just say there isn’t a lot of shock over the accusations that the “Louie” creator allegedly masturbated in front of multiple women.

Rumors about C.K. had been circulating for years, most explicitly in a Defamer story written in 2015. So when the premiere of the comedian’s new movie, “I Love You Daddy,” was canceled along with an appearance on Stephen Colbert, something was clearly up. That something was the Times exposé with allegations from five women.

As the article recounted, women in the comedy industry who were allegedly harassed by C.K. were open about what happened to them. And yet, people didn’t want to hear what they had to say.

Related: [Louis C.K. accused of sexual misconduct in New York Times report]

“Guys were backing away from us,” Julia Wolov said in the story. Wolov alleges that, while at a comedy festival in 2002, she and a friend were invited to C.K.’s hotel room, where he disrobed and masturbated in front of them. The next day, when the two women started telling other comedians what had happened, “we could already feel the backlash.”

Other women are chiming in with similar stories about being silenced.

Jen Kirkman, who has been linked to C.K. allegations for years — though she insisted more recently that he never exposed himself to her — also weighed in.

Even “Parks and Recreation” co-creator Michael Schur admitted that he knew about the rumors but cast C.K. anyway. On Twitter, he expressed remorse over that decision.

“Seinfeld” comedian Jason Alexander also delivered a Twitter PSA to other men in comedy.

And Judd Apatow lamented the way harassment forces talented people to give up on the industry.

Meanwhile, actor James Urbaniak dug up an old Q&A; with Jon Stewart, in which an audience member asks why Stewart didn’t ask C.K. about harassment allegations on “The Daily Show.” (Stewart pleaded ignorance.)

And some other takes from writers and comedians:

Stephanie Merry oversees books coverage for the Style section. She previously covered pop culture and wrote movie reviews. She joined The Washington Post in June 2008 after working on the business side at the Hill newspaper.

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