Netflix Cancels Louis C.K.'s Stand Up Special Amidst The Sexual Misconduct Allegations
In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations detailed in a New York Times exposé released on Thursday, the streaming site confirmed that Louis C.K.'s upcoming Netflix standup special is canceled. (Bustle reached out to Louis C.K. about the cancelation, but did not receive an immediate response.) In the exposé, five women describe alleged incidents in which they claim the comedian masturbated in front of them, asked if he could masturbate in their presence, or masturbated while he was on the phone with them. Louis C.K.'s publicist Lewis Kay replied to the Times only with, "Louis is not going to answer any questions."
UPDATE 1: On Friday, No. 10, Louis C.K.'s publicist Lewis Kay gave a statement to Bustle in which read:
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 d*ck 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 d*ck 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.
UPDATE 2: On Friday, FX announced that it is ending its association with C.K. in a statement. It reads in part, "FX Networks and FX Productions are ending our association with Louis C.K. We are cancelling the overall deal between FX Productions and his production company, Pig Newton. He will no longer serve as executive producer or receive compensation on any of the four shows we were producing with him – Better Things, Baskets, One Mississippi and The Cops."
Soon after, C.K.'s rep, Lewis Kay, announced on Twitter, "As of today, I no longer represent Louis C.K."
EARLIER: Netflix had signed the comedian for two new standup specials, the first of which titled 2017, premiered April 4. However, the streaming giant has decided not to move forward with the second standup special, which was yet to be produced. A Netflix spokesperson said in a statement:
"The allegations made by several women in The New York Times about Louis C.K.’s behavior are disturbing. Louis’s unprofessional and inappropriate behavior with female colleagues has led us to decide not to produce a second stand up special, as had been planned."
On Friday, Variety reported that distribution company, The Orchard, had also scrapped plans to release C.K.s new movie, I Love You, Daddy in the wake of the allegations. A brief statement made by the indie film company simply said, "The Orchard will not be moving forward with the release of I Love You, Daddy."
The alleged incidents as described in the New York Times piece claim sexual misconduct as reportedly taking place as far back as the late '90s. One such claim, made by comedic duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, details how C.K. allegedly invited the two back to his hotel room in 2002 during the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. They then allege that while they were in his room that C.K. asked if he could take out his penis. "And then he really did it. He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating," Goodman alleged to the Times.
Another incident was alleged to have taken place in 2005, in which comedian Rebecca Correy claims that C.K. asked if he could masturbate in front her, a request that she reportedly denied. The two were appearing together on a TV pilot executive produced by Courteney Cox and David Arquette, both of whom confirmed the alleged incident to the Times. According to the piece, both Cox and Arquette wanted to stall production on the pilot, but Correy wanted to continue. "What happened to Rebecca on that set was awful," Cox said in an email to the publication, "My concern was to create an environment where Rebecca felt safe, protected and heard."
Two further women shared similar allegations regarding C.K. Comedian Abby Schachner claimed that she could allegedly hear the comic masturbating during a 2003 phone call in which he invited her to one of his shows. And an anonymous woman claimed that C.K. repeatedly asked her to watch him masturbate, to which she agreed. The alleged incident took place in the late '90s, while the two worked on The Chris Rock Show, where C.K. was a writer and producer at the time. "It was something that I knew was wrong," the woman said of the alleged incident, "I think the big piece of why I said yes was because of the culture. He abused his power."
It's worth noting that rumors concerning sexual misconduct allegations against C.K. have been circulating for a while, including an infamous Gawker blind item titled, "Which Beloved Comedian Likes to Force Female Comics to Watch Him Jerk Off?" In 2016, C.K. refused to the address the rumors during an interview with the Times, and said "If you actually participate in a rumor, you make it bigger and you make it real." With the New York Times allegations, it feels like C.K. may finally have to participate.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.