Louis CK accused of sexual misconduct

Five women call out comedian Louis CK on sexual misconduct in a new story in the New York Times

Feature by Ben Venables & Jamie Dunn | 10 Nov 2017

Unsubstantiated rumours of Louis CK's proclivity for sexual misconduct have swirled around comedy circles for years, but a New York Times investigation published last night finally substantiates the stories, with five women speaking to the paper and putting on record their experiences with the comedian.

Comedians Dana Goodman and Julia Wolov said Louis CK stripped and masturbated in front of them in his hotel room at a comedy festival in 2002. Abbey Schachner said that CK masturbated during a business phone conversation they had in 2003. Rebecca Corry said CK asked to go to her dressing room and watch him masturbate when they worked on a TV pilot in 2005. Corry declined. A fifth woman spoke anonymously to the newspaper, about when CK was a writer on The Chris Rock Show and she worked in production during the late 1990s. She said CK "abused his power" and that she felt unable to refuse the comedian's frequent requests to see him masturbate. Due to long standing rumours, there is a distinct lack of surprise that he is the latest celebrity to face consequences for improper sexual behaviour.

CK’s publicist told the Times his client would not comment on the accusations, but “in the coming days, Louis will issue a written statement”. CK's colleagues in the comedy industry have been much quicker to react to the Times' revelations. “Gentlemen, comedy is often inappropriate,” wrote actor Jason Alexander, best known for his role on Seinfeld, on Twitter. “It is sometimes daring and audacious and shocking. But our behavior, in the real world, toward women – that doesn’t get a pass on inappropriate.”

CK's friend Michael Ian Black wrote on Twitter, "For everybody asking, I know and like Louis CK. I won't defend him. This is inexcusable and he needs to address it." More blunt was Rosie O'Donnell. "Wow, I guess nothing will ever surprise me again. Regarding men." The Big Sick star Zoe Kazan's sentiments were similar: "Condolences, straight white dudes."

Kazan's co-star, Mitra Jouhari, meanwhile, sarcastically suggests the comedy world should never have been that enamoured with Louis CK in the first place. "It's so disappointing to say farewell to my comedic hero, Louis CK, the guy who engineers his entire life around cramming the n-word into his overrated comedy routines. I was really rooting for him. an absolute inspiration."

Professionally, Louis CK looks to be finished, and is already feeling the effects of his sexual misconduct being made public. The premiere for his new film I Love You, Daddy – a poorly timed Woody Allen homage – was cancelled on Thursday, hours before its screening. And US television network HBO have this morning announced it has cut ties with the comedian. CK was due to appear on Jon Stewart’s annual fundraiser, Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism, later this month, but the network have taken him off the line-up: “Louis CK will no longer be participating," said the statement. “In addition, HBO is removing Louis CK’s past projects from its On Demand services.” 

Praise should go to the New York Times for another vital piece of reporting after its investigation into Harvey Weinstein's behaviour, and to the brave women who have come forward to help expose CK's behaviour. We echo comic actor Rachel Bloom's sentiments below: