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Update: Louis C.K. Confirms Claims Of Sexual Harassment

So yesterday The New York Times published the accounts of five women and their encounters with Louis C.K., who masturbated or wanted to masturbate in front of them, and I broke that article down and did a lot of equivocating that I said I’d probably regret today. Well, Louis issued a statement on the issue that says he did in fact abuse his power to put these women in these situations, which is unequivocally unacceptable.

Here is Louis’s statement in its entirety.

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.

I think it is easy to see how Louis didn’t realize how he was abusing his power, since that power was so indirect. But the comedy world is fairly insular and C.K. being at the top of the heap meant women, especially female comics, felt they couldn’t say no to him even if he had no intention of retaliating against them.

I don’t think Louis C.K. is a monster, and I don’t think he’s like Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey. His behavior was unacceptable, but I don’t believe that he’s irredeemable the way they are. I think he realizes now the position he put people in, and I don’t think he realized that at the time. He admitted what he did, says he realizes it was wrong, and pledged to do better. He didn’t hire an army of spies to protect his reputation. I hope. Please don’t let Monday’s headline be “Louise C.K. Hired An Army Of Spies”.

That doesn’t excuse what he did, but I think he means it when he says he regrets it and I feel that moving forward, he’ll be more thoughtful about it. And I think that’s probably the important thing, that no more women feel victimized. I don’t think Louis has to go away forever for that to happen, he just needs to reflect on what he’s done and not put any other women in that situation. I don’t think his statement absolves him of anything, but it’s a start towards being better.

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