Louis CK is the newest addition to the long list of entertainment stars that, since the Weinstein scandal broke, have been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior.
There have been rumors following the critically acclaimed performer for years, but nothing as concrete and on the record as what has recently been revealed. In an article in the New York Times, five women have come forward with accounts of situations where the famous comedian behaved in a way that can only be described as deeply disturbing.
The comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov recount an incident from 2002 when, after their performance at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, they accepted an invitation to hang out in Louis C.K.’s hotel room. Once there, he asked if he could “take out his penis” —something they took as a joke until he actually did it.
After they fled from his room, they decided against involving any authorities and chose instead to simply tell people about what had happened to them. But they say they were faced with backlash, claiming that Louis’ manager Dave Becky — a powerful figure himself who reps people from Aziz Ansari to Amy Poehler — became upset to hear them discuss it openly. (Becky has since denied that.) Regardless, Goodman and Wolov have feared career repercussions.
The act of masturbation seems to be a common thread emerging in Louis C.K’s life as, not only does he often joke about and mimic the action in his comedy shows, but all the stories the women tell center on him performing the act.
The comedian, writer, and actress, Rebecca Corry states that in 2005, whilst working as a performer and producer on a TV pilot, Louis C.K (a guest star on the show) approached her to ask if he could masturbate in front of her. When she declined, Corry says, “his face got red, and he told me he had issues.” This is a story that has been corroborated by the show’s executive producers: Courteney Cox and David Arquette.
Another woman, who spoke to the Times anonymously, details an incident where, whilst working with Louis C.K. on The Chris Rock Show, he repeatedly asked to masturbate in front of her. She discussed a particular incident, where C.K. masturbated in his desk chair during the day with her in the room and other colleagues waiting outside. She says “he abused his power.”
And then there is Abby Schachner, who, when inviting C.K her show, because he had worked with her former boyfriend, had heard him masturbating on the phone with her. In a statement, she details how it lasted several minutes and that she “definitely wasn’t encouraging it,” saying “you want to believe it’s not happening.”
Louis C.K. has so far declined to answer to this fresh wave of accusations but many feel he must face immediate repercussions. He has been a powerful figure in the tight-knit world of comedy, and it is scary to think of what he might have done with the power he wielded.
In his latest film, I Love You, Daddy — the premiere of which has been canceled in anticipation of the Times article —there is a scene where a character pretends to masturbate in front of others. The entire plot revolves around a filmmaker, most likely inspired by Woody Allen, who attempts to seduce a 17-year-old female. Louis’s plays that girl’s father. Not only is the masturbation scene disturbing given these accounts, it seems bizarre the Louis C.K. is making an entire movie based around what is essentially a sexual predator when he himself has been dodging these rumors for years.
The rumors appear to have caught up with him, and it remains to be seen what effect they might have, both on Louis C.K’s career and the comedy industry as a whole.