One day after a bombshell New York Times report saw five women accuse him of sexual misconduct, comedian Louis C.K. has issued an apology. This isn't a surprising move, as once one is called out for allegedly doing such inappropriate things, there is often little left to do but offer a sincere apology. Some of these apologies tend to be better than others, as sometimes the accused seemingly can't resist including some type of mitigating excuse for their alleged actions.
In the 24 hours since the aforementioned report about C.K.'s alleged conduct, the comedian has already taken a few professional hits. Small distributor The Orchard has decided to cancel the release of C.K.'s latest film I Love You, Daddy. Also, HBO immediately cut ties with C.K., removing him from the guest list for the upcoming Night of Too Many Stars charity special, and removing all archival content featuring him from on-demand services HBO Now and HBO Go.
The full text of Louis C.K.'s apology statement is below, via Variety. To C.K's credit, he avoids offering an excuse for his actions, and confirms that all of the events happened as described in the New York Times piece. While that obviously doesn't heal the clear wounds his behavior has caused, it's at least an unequivocal apology, which is more than many accused stars have managed:
"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 dick 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 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.
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."
Unfortunately for C.K., shortly before the above apology was released, his career took another hit, as The Wrap reports that Netflix has decided to cancel their second of two planned stand-up specials with the comedian. The first special debuted on the service earlier this year. Unlike HBO though, Netflix says it has no plans to pull prior content featuring C.K. from their streaming line-up.
It remains to be seen if Louis C.K.'s career will sustain as much long-term damage as appears to have been sustained by people like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. It's possible that it won't, if only because while what C.K. now admits to doing is definitely reprehensible, he has yet to be accused of sex crimes quite as horrific as those allegedly perpetrated by Weinstein or Spacey. In the end though, it seems unlikely that C.K. will be the last big name to fall before this current wave of sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct charges dies down.