Louis CK returned to the stand-up comedy stage this weekend, 10 months after he was involved in a sexual misconduct scandal.
An article published by the New York Times back in November shone a light on claims from five women – all of whom have worked with the comedian in some capacity – about alleged inappropriate behaviour by CK. The claims included CK allegedly masturbating in front of female comedians.
He then responded, confirming to fans that “the stories were true“.
Then, last night the comedian returned to the stage when he performed at New York’s Comedy Cellar. The club’s owner Noah Dworman described his set as “typical Louis C.K. stuff” to the New York Times. While he was described as “very relaxed”, the comedian not address the scandal or the #MeToo movement. However, he reportedly received a standing ovation.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen as soon as it did,” Dworman told the Times, saying that one audience member called the Comedy Cellar to object to the club allowing C.K. to perform. “I had thought that the first time he’d go on would be in a more controlled environment. But he decided to just rip the Band-Aid off.”
Responding to criticism of the booking, Dworman added that “there can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong.”
Many from within the comedy and TV industry however disagreed, taking to social media to voice their protest:
Louis CK is spearheading the #MeTooSoon movement
— melinda hill (@melindahill) August 28, 2018
"audiences should have the leeway to decide what to watch themselves." — opinion from the comedy club owner that booked Louis CK but didn't tell anyone, thereby removing their ability to decide for themselves
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) August 28, 2018
Many wonder "how long" Louis CK should be "punished" for before he's "allowed to do comedy."
Not sure, but
1) he's not been punished.
2) For non-famous men, each count of indecent exposure and false imprisonment (which CK's admitted to) carries a sentence of ~1yr in jail
— Amir Talai (@AmirTalai) August 28, 2018
Speaking of his actions at the time of confession, CK said that he would be taking the time to “step back and take a long time to listen”.
“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,” he 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.”
CK admitted to taking “advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community” and that he wishes he 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”.
“There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for,” CK says. “And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.”