A day after the New York Times published five women’s allegations of sexual misconduct against Louis C.K., the comedian said “These stories are true.”
C.K. released a lengthy statement Friday after his publicist had told the Times earlier in the week that C.K. “is not going to answer any questions.”
“I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them,” C.K. said. “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.”
Five women came forward to accuse the popular comedian of sexual misconduct, including masturbating in front of them, in a New York Times report that was published online Thursday. The incidents date to more than a decade ago and came to light a month after an initial Times report of sexual misconduct allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Soon, others came forward with accounts, ranging from unwanted advances to assault, against big-name executives and entertainers.
Chicago comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov told the Times that in 2002 they had wanted to celebrate their performance at a comedy festival in Aspen, Colo. Louis C.K. — whom they admired and said seemed collegial — invited them to his hotel room for drinks. But as soon as they got into the room, they said, he asked to take out his penis. The women thought he was joking, they said, but then he got naked and masturbated in front of them.
Comic and actress Abby Schachner told the Times that in 2003 she called C.K. to invite him to one of her shows — and heard him masturbating on the call with her. Comic Rebecca Corry told the newspaper that C.K. asked, while they were on the set of a TV pilot together, if he could masturbate in front of her. A fifth woman described incidents in the late 1990s, when she was in her early 20s and worked in production on “The Chris Rock Show.” C.K., a writer on Rock’s show, repeatedly asked her to watch him masturbate, she said.
Less than 24 hours after the women went public, the distribution company the Orchard announced it wouldn’t move forward with the release of C.K.’s new movie, “I Love You, Daddy.” C.K.’s appearances on the “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and an upcoming HBO comedy benefit special were also canceled, and Netflix announced it wouldn’t produce C.K.’s planned comedy special. FX announced it was breaking ties with the comic, including ending its overall deal with the comic and removing him as executive producer on four shows from FX Productions, including “Better Things” and “Baskets.”
Here is C.K.’s statement in full:
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.
This post has been updated.