08:37, November 11 50 0 theguardian.com

2017-11-11 08:37:03
Louis CK responds to allegations of sexual misconduct: 'These stories are true'

Disgraced comedian Louis CK on Friday admitted to allegations of sexual misconduct that were made public against him on Thursday.

In the statement, which was shared with reporters, Louis CK expressed remorse to the women, whose experiences were reported by the New York Times on Thursday.

“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,” Louis CK said.

“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.”

Louis CK, whose stage name is derived from his last name at birth, Székely, implied that he was going to take a career break as a result – a development that had in effect been imposed on him anyway. On Friday, the distributor of his upcoming film, I Love You, Daddy, canceled the movie’s release and Netflix abandoned plans for a stand-up special.

FX Networks, which aired his show Louie before it went on hiatus in 2015, said Friday night it was ending its association with Louis CK. The network said Louis CK will also no longer be executive producer or receive compensation for four other shows he was involved with on FX.

His publicist, Lewis Kay, tweeted on Friday: “As of today, I no longer represent Louis CK.”

“There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for,” Louis CK said in a nearly 500-word statement. “And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.”

His confession follows a tidal wave of revelations about sexual misconduct that flowed from allegations by dozens of women that film titan Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed or assaulted them.

Reports about Weinstein were quickly followed by a string of accusations that actor Kevin Spacey had assaulted young men, often teens, and also accounts of serial sexual harassment by male politicians against female colleagues in Congress and in the UK Parliament.

The accusations made against Louis CK were published he same day that women came forward to say that Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for the US Senate seat in Alabama vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions, had molested them as young teens earlier in his career.

Louis CK’s statement was one of the most copious admissions and statements of regret to come from these revelations, but he does not, however, plainly and publicly apologize to the women.

“I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want,” CK said. “I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”

The statement marks Louis CK’s first public acknowledgement of rumors that have have long circulated in comedy circles and online. Vulture asked Louis CK about the rumors in 2016 a year after they had been published on Gawker.

“I don’t care about that. That’s nothing to me. That’s not real,” Louis CK told Vulture. “You can’t touch stuff like that.”

Yet, Louis CK had apologized privately to at least one of the women who told their stories to the Times.

Abby Schachner, a comedian and illustrator, received a Facebook message from Louis CK which read, in part, “Last time I talked to you ended in a sordid fashion. That was a bad time in my life and I’m sorry.”

Schachner said she called Louis CK in 2003 to invite him to her show and he started describing sexual fantasies and masturbating while on the phone.

Louis CK wrote his message to her on 17 August 2009 – or three days before the FX network announced a deal for CK to produce, direct and star in Louie, the semi-autobiographical dramedy that became his big public breakthrough.

“I always liked you and I felt bad looking back on what happened,” he continued, according to screen shots of their conversation Schachner shared with the Guardian. “I remember thinking what a repulsive person I was being … I was in a lot of personal pain and chaos which is no excuse for fucking with other people. I just had absolutely zero compass in my misery.”

“Anyway, I’m all better now! Wee!”

Louis CK’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 article was amended on 10 November 2017 to correct an earlier statement about the acts that Louis CK admitted to.