Louis C.K. issued a stunning apology to the five women — four named and one anonymous — who came forward and told the New York Times their stories of being sexually harassed by the comedian.
“These stories are true,” he wrote in a statement released by his publicist Friday. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was OK 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.”
The women described how C.K. masturbated in front of them in various settings, including in his office and in a hotel, as well as how he harassed women on sets of his various TV series and specials. The allegations came as multiple figures in Hollywood are being exposed for sexual misconduct, including mega producer Harvey Weinstein.
The New York Times reported two female comedians, Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, said C.K. masturbated in front of them in a hotel room without their consent at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen in 2002. Comedian Abby Schneider told the paper she was on the phone with C.K. one time in 2003 and could hear him masturbating on the other end without her consent.
Comedian Rebecca Corry said C.K. asked if he could masturbate in front of her while they were filming a pilot in 2005, and an anonymous woman said C.K. masturbated in front of her in his office on the set of the Chris Rock show in the late 1990s. Many of their accounts were confirmed by other people, including David Arquette and Courtney Cox.
It’s a stunning reversal for C.K. who had previously denied the rumors, telling the New York Times in September, “They’re rumors; that’s all that is.”
After the Thursday report, the fallout was swift. C.K.’s “I Love You Daddy” movie premiere was cancelled and its distributor, The Orchard, announced it would not be released. HBO also cancelled its deal with CK and removed him from a planned fundraiser, and Netflix cancelled an upcoming special with him.
Here’s the 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.