Comedy fans were heartbroken on Nov. 9 when Louis C.K. became the latest man in Hollywood to be accused of sexually harassing young women. Now, the 50-year-old has addressed the allegations — and admits they're true. Read his lengthy statement below.
"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.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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."
The accusations came in a bombshell report from The New York Times, in which comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov allege that in 2002, Louis asked if he could take out his penis shortly after meeting them for drinks at his hotel in Aspen, CO.
Louis' brand of comedy is dark and weird, so they thought he was kidding, but "then he really did it,” Dana claims. “He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating.” Both women say they were "paralyzed" by what was happening in front of them against their will. And that wasn't the only example of Louis' misconduct. Two other women also claim he tried to masturbate in front of them or over the phone. Abby Schachner says it happened to her in 2003, and Rebecca Corry's encounter reportedly took place in 2005.
Fans knew something was up when an hour before the NYT piece came out, The Orchard in NYC opted to cancel Louis' I Love you, Daddy premiere. “Due to unexpected circumstances, tonight’s event for I Love You, Daddy has been cancelled,” the venue announced in an email, according to Variety. “On behalf of The Orchard, please accept our apologies. We’re incredibly sorry for any inconvenience.” The film was controversial from the beginning with its use of racial slurs and apparent glamorization of Woody Allen. Louis was also supposed to appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Thursday, but was replaced with William H. Macy.
Louis joins a long list of actors, directors, and producers that have been hit with horrifying claims over the last few weeks, beginning with Harvey Weinstein and growing to include Steven Seagal, Kevin Spacey, and many more. So far, Louis has not commented on the claims.