Five women have come forward with sexual-misconduct allegations against comedian Louis C.K. in a report published Thursday by The New York Times.
Two comedians, Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, described an incident with C.K. at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, in 2002. They said that he invited them to his hotel room and asked if he could masturbate in front of them. The women said they thought it was a joke until C.K. took off all his clothes and began masturbating. After Goodman and Wolov told people about the incident, they heard that C.K.’s manager Dave Becky — who also represents Aziz Ansari, Kevin Hart, and Amy Poehler — was upset. “Guys were backing away from us,” Wolov told the Times. “We could already feel the backlash.” Becky’s stature in the comedy world made it difficult for them, and the women acknowledged that they took themselves out of consideration for projects that he was involved in. In an email to the Times, Becky said that he “never threatened anyone.”
Another comedian, Rebecca Corry, relayed a similar story about C.K. from 2005. On the set of a television pilot, he asked if he could masturbate in front of her. The show’s executive producers, David Arquette and Courteney Cox, confirmed the incident to the Times, noting that they considered shutting down production after the incident, but continued with production after talking to Corry. Corry also said that she received a call from C.K. in 2015, during which he apologized for shoving her in a bathroom — even though she said this never happened to her — and said he used to “misread” people.
Abby Schachner, a writer, illustrator, and performer, said that during a phone call with C.K. in 2003, it became clear that the comedian was maturbating on the other line, and that he “slowly started telling her his sexual fantasies, breathing heavily and talking softly.”
A fifth woman, who asked to remain anonymous, described an incident with C.K. when he was a writer and producer on The Chris Rock Show in the late ’90s. The woman, who worked on production, said she was sitting in C.K.’s office when he began masturbating at his desk. “I think the big piece of why I said yes was because of the culture,” she said. “He abused his power.”
Rumors of C.K.’s sexual misconduct have circulated for years — a story from Gawker in 2012 describes the incident involving Goodman and Wolov at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival without naming the comedians. Additionally, last year comedian Roseanne Barr told The Daily Beast that she’d heard “so many stories” about C.K. “locking the door and masturbating in front of women comics and writers.” Critics who have seen C.K.’s upcoming film, I Love You, Daddy, which is slated for release November 17, have noted that C.K. seemingly pokes fun at the allegations against him, while the film itself pays homage to controversial director Woody Allen. As Richard Porton writes for The Daily Beast:
He gleefully mimes jerking off at two points in the film and it’s hard to say whether his hand gestures can be deemed C.K.’s covert critique of his alleged misbehavior or a massive “fuck you” to his critics.
The New York premiere for the film was canceled on Thursday ahead of the Times exposé, while C.K. dropped a planned late-night interview with Stephen Colbert. The Orchard, the film’s distributor, released a statement in response to the Times report saying that the company is “giving careful consideration” to I Love You, Daddy’s release and is “continuing to review the situation.”
Through a representative, C.K. declined to answer any questions from The New York Times. You can read the full story here.
Update: In a statement, HBO announced that C.K. will no longer be participating in its upcoming special Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism Programs. The network will also pull C.K.’s past work from its on-demand services. FX, where C.K. has had an overall deal that produced Louie and other shows, released the following statement:
We are obviously very troubled by the allegations about Louis C.K. published in The New York Times today. The network has received no allegations of misconduct by Louis C.K. related to any of our 5 shows produced together over the past 8 years. FX Networks and FXP take all necessary actions to protect our employees and thoroughly investigate any allegations of misconduct within our workplace. That said, the matter is currently under review.
Update: In a statement Friday, The Orchard, the distributor of C.K.’s I Love You, Daddy, announced it will no longer release the film.
Louis CK's film distributor for "I Love You Daddy" won't be releasing film. Was due out Nov 17 pic.twitter.com/rGvSuLotf0— Cara Buckley (@caraNYT) November 10, 2017
Update: C.K. addressed the Times report in a statement Friday, saying that the five women who spoke to the publication are telling the truth and that the sexual misconduct allegations against him are accurate. “The power I had over these women is that they admired me,” he said. “And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
C.K. added that he will “step back and take a long time to listen.”
Louis CK has put out a statement. "These stories are true," he says. pic.twitter.com/8oCH7YhqnF— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) November 10, 2017
This story was updated with additional information after publication. Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.