[Gawker] Male comedians are weird. They jerk off all the time, and then go on stage and talk about jerking off all the time, for money and laughs. But our nation’s most hilarious stand-up comic and critically cherished sitcom auteur adds a thrilling twist to his onanistic escapades: He traps unsuspecting women in his hotel room and makes them stick around until he’s done.
We’ve heard from several sources that this shameless funnyman whips it out at the most inopportune moments, often at times when his female companions have expressed no interest in watching him go at it. A representative example: At the Aspen Comedy Festival a few years ago, he invited a female comedy duo back to his hotel room. The two ladies gladly joined him, and offered him some weed. He turned it down, but asked if it would be OK if he took his dick out.
Thinking he was joking (that’s exactly the kind of thing this guy would say), the women gave a facetious thumbs up. He wasn’t joking. When he actually started jerking off in front of them, the ladies decided that wasn’t their bag and made for the exit. But the comedian stood in front of the door, blocking their way with his body, until he was done.
One of the ladies was so shaken by the episode that she complained to the festival’s organizers about the comedian’s behavior. She promptly received a call from his extremely powerful manager explaining that, if she valued her career, she would drop it. She valued her career.
When we contacted the victim to check out the story, she wrote back: “first of all, your facts are wrong. and secondly, i don’t want to be a part of this story. i’m sure you understand.” When we asked her which facts were wrong and if the incident ever happened at all, she wrote: “please don’t contact me about this matter anymore. Breast of luck to you.”
When we reached out to the extremely powerful manager, he put the comedian’s publicist in touch with us. After a lengthy and detailed phone conversation, the publicist agreed to ask the comedian about the incident. Weeks went by and we heard nothing. When we followed up with the publicist, he replied: “Sorry for delay but I never heard back from [him].”
If you’ve ever come across this jerk-off (or if he’s ever come across you!), please let us know. He’s lucky no one’s called the cops yet.
Jerk: Louis C.K.
Gawker is no longer around to solve this blind item, so Blind Gossip and The New York Times are going to solve it for them!
Louis C.K. is a pig. And now he’s going down.
Five women have come forward to talk about how they personally witnessed Louis C.K. engaging in disgusting and perverted behavior, including masturbating in front of them.
The women are all professional comics. These are women he worked with. These are women who wanted to succeed in their own careers.
You will notice that the first story is about the incident that took place at the comedy festival in Aspen. That is the same venue that was described in the original blind item.
You will also notice the number of times the women talk about the fear they felt about speaking out and the backlash they experienced when they did. They were all concerned that Louis C.K.’s popularity and power he (and his manager) had in the industry would hurt their careers. His powerful manager, Dave Becky, warned them that they had better shut up about their encounters. Some of the women declined projects or dropped out of comedy as a result.
Good for them for finally speaking out!
Louis C.K.? He has no comment.
From The New York Times:
Louis C.K. Crossed a Line Into Sexual Misconduct, 5 Women Say
In 2002, a Chicago comedy duo, Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, landed their big break: a chance to perform at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. When Louis C.K. invited them to hang out in his hotel room for a nightcap after their late-night show, they did not think twice. The bars were closed and they wanted to celebrate. He was a comedian they admired. The women would be together. His intentions seemed collegial.
As soon as they sat down in his room, still wrapped in their winter jackets and hats, Louis C.K. asked if he could take out his penis, the women said.
They thought it was a joke and laughed it off. “And then he really did it,” Ms. Goodman said in an interview with The New York Times. “He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating.”
In 2003, Abby Schachner called Louis C.K. to invite him to one of her shows, and during the phone conversation, she said, she could hear him masturbating as they spoke. Another comedian, Rebecca Corry, said that while she was appearing with Louis C.K. on a television pilot in 2005, he asked if he could masturbate in front of her. She declined.
Now, after years of unsubstantiated rumors about Louis C.K. masturbating in front of associates, women are coming forward to describe what they experienced. Even amid the current burst of sexual misconduct accusations against powerful men, the stories about Louis C.K. stand out because he has so few equals in comedy. In the years since the incidents the women describe, he has sold out Madison Square Garden eight times, created an Emmy-winning TV series, and accumulated the clout of a tastemaker and auteur, with the help of a manager who represents some of the biggest names in comedy. And Louis C.K. built a reputation as the unlikely conscience of the comedy scene, by making audiences laugh about hypocrisy — especially male hypocrisy.
After being contacted for an interview this week about the on-the-record accusations of sexual misconduct — encounters that took place over a decade ago — Louis C.K.’s publicist, Lewis Kay, said the comedian would not respond. “Louis is not going to answer any questions,” Mr. Kay wrote in an email Tuesday night.
Neither Louis C.K. nor Mr. Kay replied to follow-up emails in which the accusations were laid out in detail, or to voice messages or texts. On Thursday, the premiere of Louis C.K.’s new movie “I Love You, Daddy,” was abruptly canceled, and he also canceled an appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”
The stories told by the women raise sharp questions about the anecdotes that Louis C.K. tells in his own comedy. He rose to fame in part by appearing to be candid about his flaws and sexual hang-ups, discussing and miming masturbation extensively in his act — an exaggerated riff that some of the women feel may have served as a cover for real misconduct. He has all but invited comparison between his private life and his onscreen work, too: In “I Love You, Daddy,” which is scheduled to be released next week, a character pretends to masturbate at length in front of other people, and other characters appear to dismiss rumors of sexual predation.
At the same time, Louis C.K. has also boosted the careers of women, and is sometimes viewed as a feminist by fans and critics. But Ms. Goodman and Ms. Wolov said that when they told others about the incident in the Colorado hotel room, they heard that Louis C.K.’s manager was upset that they were talking about it openly. The women feared career repercussions. Louis C.K.’s manager, Dave Becky, was adamant in an email that he “never threatened anyone.”
For comedians, the professional environment is informal: profanity and raunch that would be far out of line in most workplaces are common, and personal foibles — the weirder the better — are routinely mined for material. But Louis C.K.’s behavior was abusive, the women said.
“I think the line gets crossed when you take all your clothes off and start masturbating,” Ms. Wolov said.
‘You Want to Believe It’s Not Happening’
Ms. Corry, a comedian, writer and actress, has long felt haunted by her run-in with Louis C.K. In 2005, she was working as a performer and producer on a television pilot — a big step in her career — when Louis C.K., a guest star, approached her as she was walking to the set. “He leaned close to my face and said, ‘Can I ask you something?’ I said, ‘Yes,’” Ms. Corry said in a written statement to The New York Times. “He asked if we could go to my dressing room so he could masturbate in front of me.” Stunned and angry, Ms. Corry said she declined, and pointed out that he had a daughter and a pregnant wife. “His face got red,” she recalled, “and he told me he had issues.”
Word quickly reached the show’s executive producers, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, who both confirmed the incident. “What happened to Rebecca on that set was awful,” Ms. Cox said in an email, adding that she felt “outrage and shock.”
“My concern was to create an environment where Rebecca felt safe, protected and heard,” she said. They discussed curtailing the production. Ms. Corry decided to continue with the show.
“Things were going well for me,” Ms. Corry said in the statement, “and I had no interest in being the person who shut down a production.”
A fifth woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her family’s privacy because she has not been publicly linked to the incident with Louis C.K., also has disturbing memories about an incident with the comedian. In the late ’90s, she was working in production at “The Chris Rock Show” when Louis C.K., a writer and producer there, repeatedly asked her to watch him masturbate, she said. She was in her early 20s and went along with his request, but later questioned his behavior.
“It was something that I knew was wrong,” said the woman, who described sitting in Louis C.K.’s office while he masturbated in his desk chair during a workday, other colleagues just outside the door. “I think the big piece of why I said yes was because of the culture,” she continued. “He abused his power.” A co-worker at “The Chris Rock Show,” who also wished to remain anonymous, confirmed that the woman told him about the experience soon after it happened.
Ms. Schachner, a writer, illustrator and performer, admired Louis C.K.’s work. They had met in the comedy scene; Ms. Schachner’s former boyfriend was a comedy writer who had worked with Louis C.K. In 2003, when she called Louis C.K. with an invitation to her show, he said he was at work in an office as a writer on the series “Cedric the Entertainer Presents,” she recalled.
Their conversation quickly moved from the personal — Louis C.K. had seen photos of her on her boyfriend’s desk, he said, and told her he thought she was cute — to “unprofessional and inappropriate,” Ms. Schachner said.
She said she heard the blinds coming down. Then he slowly started telling her his sexual fantasies, breathing heavily and talking softly. She realized he was masturbating, and was dumbfounded. The call went on for several minutes, even though, Ms. Schachner said, “I definitely wasn’t encouraging it.” But she didn’t know how to end it, either. “You want to believe it’s not happening,” she said. A friend, Stuart Harris, confirmed that Ms. Schachner had described the call to him in 2003.
For years afterward, Ms. Schachner said, she felt angry and betrayed by an artist she looked up to. And she wondered what she could have done differently. “I felt very ashamed,” she said.
A Run-In, Then Fears About Speaking Out
During Ms. Goodman and Ms. Wolov’s surreal visit to Louis C.K.’s Aspen hotel room, they said they were holding onto each other, screaming and laughing in shock, as Louis C.K. masturbated in a chair. “We were paralyzed,” Ms. Goodman said. After he ejaculated on his stomach, they said, they fled. He called after them: “He was like, ‘Which one is Dana and which one is Julia?’” Ms. Goodman recalled.
Afterward, they ran into Charna Halpern, the owner of influential improv theaters in Los Angeles and Chicago, where Ms. Goodman and Ms. Wolov performed, and relayed what had happened. “I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what to tell them to do,” said Ms. Halpern. Ms. Goodman and Ms. Wolov decided against going to the police, unsure whether what happened was criminal, but felt they had to respond in some way “because something crazy happened to us,” Ms. Goodman said.
Hoping that outrage would build against Louis C.K., and also to shame him, they began telling others about the incident the next day. But many people seemed to recoil, they said. “Guys were backing away from us,” Ms. Wolov said. Barely 24 hours after they left Louis C.K.’s hotel, “we could already feel the backlash.”
Soon after, they said they understood from their managers that Mr. Becky, Louis C.K’s manager, wanted them to stop telling people about their encounter with Louis C.K. Lee Kernis, one of the women’s managers at the time, confirmed on Thursday that he had a conversation in which he told Mr. Becky that Louis C.K.’s behavior toward the women had been offensive. Mr. Kernis also said that Mr. Becky was upset that the women were talking openly about the incident.
Mr. Becky denied making any threats toward the women. “I don’t recall the exact specifics of the conversation, but know I never threatened anyone,” he wrote by email on Thursday. Ms. Halpern and Robert Schroeder — Ms. Goodman and Ms. Wolov’s agent at the time — said that the pair told them that they felt they had been warned to stop talking.
Mr. Becky arguably wields even more power in comedy than Louis C.K. He represents Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Amy Poehler and other top performers, and his company, 3 Arts, puts together programming deals for nearly every platform.
Ms. Goodman and Ms. Wolov moved to Los Angeles shortly after the Aspen festival, but “we were coming here with a bunch of enemies,” Ms. Goodman said. Gren Wells, a filmmaker who befriended the comedy duo in 2002, said the incident and the warning, which they told her about soon after Aspen, hung heavily over them both. “This is something that they were freaked out about,” Ms. Wells said.
In the years since, Ms. Goodman and Ms. Wolov have found some success, but they remained concerned about Mr. Becky and took themselves out of the running for the many projects he was involved in. Though their humor is in line with what he produces, “we know immediately that we can never even submit our material,” Ms. Wolov said.
Private Acts, Public Jokes
Jokes about masturbation have been a regular part of Louis C.K.’s stage shows. In one bit, he complains about not being able to find a private place in his house to do it. “I’m on the streets now,” he says, “I’ve got nowhere to go.” In another bit he laments being a prisoner of his perversions. “Just the constant perverted sexual thoughts,” he says, then mimes masturbating. “It makes me into a moron.”
Tig Notaro, the comedian whose Amazon series, “One Mississippi,” lists Louis C.K. as an executive producer, is one of the few in the fiercely insular comedy world to speak out against him. Her career received a huge boost when he released her 2012 comedy album, about her cancer diagnosis. But their relationship has crumbled and she now feels “trapped” by her association with him, she wrote in an email.
Her fear is that “he released my album to cover his tracks,” she said. “He knew it was going to make him look like a good guy, supporting a woman.” Ms. Notaro said she learned of his reputation after they sold the series to Amazon, and a recent story line is a fictional treatment of the alleged masturbation episodes.
“Sadly, I’ve come to learn that Louis C.K.’s victims are not only real,” she said by email, “but many are actual friends of mine within the comedy community,” like Ms. Corry, who confided in her, she said.
In his forthcoming film, about a television writer whose teenage daughter is wooed by a Woody Allen type, one character aggressively mimics masturbating in front of others. The content has raised eyebrows. Given the rumors surrounding Louis C.K., the movie “plays like an ambiguous moral inventory of and excuse for everything that allows sexual predators to thrive: open secrets, toxic masculinity, and powerful people getting the benefit of the doubt,” Joe Berkowitz wrote in Fast Company.
Yet in an interview with The Times in September at the Toronto film festival, where “I Love You, Daddy,” was shown, Louis C.K. dismissed stories of his alleged sexual misconduct as “rumors,” and said the notion that the masturbation scenes referred to them never occurred to him. “It’s funny, I didn’t think of that, ” he said.
Apologies With Troubling Implications
In private, though, he appears to have acknowledged his behavior.
In 2009, six years after their phone call, Ms. Schachner received a Facebook message from Louis C.K., apologizing. “Last time I talked to you ended in a sordid fashion,” he wrote in the message, which was reviewed by The Times. “That was a bad time in my life and I’m sorry.” He added that he had seen some of Ms. Schachner’s comedy and thought she was funny. “I remember thinking what a repulsive person I was being by responding the way that I did,” he wrote.
Ms. Schachner accepted his apology and told him she forgave him. But the original interaction left her deeply dispirited, she said, and discouraged her from pursuing comedy.
In 2015, a few months before the now-defunct website Defamer circulated rumors of Louis C.K.’s alleged sexual misconduct, Ms. Corry also received an email from Louis C.K., which was obtained by The Times, saying he owed her a “very very very late apology.” When he phoned her, he said he was sorry for shoving her in a bathroom. Ms. Corry replied that he had never done that, but had instead asked to masturbate in front of her. Responding in a shaky voice, he acknowledged it and said, “I used to misread people back then,” she recalled.
The call confounded her, Ms. Corry said: not only had he misremembered the incident, which made her think there were other moments of misconduct, he also implied she had done something to invite his behavior. “It is unfair he’s put me or anyone else in this position,” Ms. Corry said.
Ms. Goodman and Ms. Wolov said that with other allegations swirling around the entertainment world, they could no longer stay silent. “Because of this moment, as gross as it is, we feel compelled to speak,” Ms. Goodman said.
Ms. Notaro said she was standing in support of those with the courage “to speak up against such a powerful figure,” she said, “as well as the multitude of women still out there, not quite ready to share their nightmares.”
Let all the dominoes fall.
Louis CK just admitted that all the allegations are TRUE.
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.
Before you start patting Louis CK on the back for admitting that he is a pig, here are a couple of notes on his statement.
“The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
No, the power that he had over them was not their “admiration.” The power that he had was that he was a MUCH more famous, MUCH wealthier, and MUCH more influential player in their industry. The fact that he mentioned the word “admiration” and “admire” in reference to HIMSELF four times demonstrates narcissism.
“I deeply regret that this has brought negative attention to my manager Dave Becky who only tried to mediate a situation that I caused.”
No, his manager Dave Becky was an enabler and a bully. He didn’t try to mediate anything. He tried to silence the women.
(Hey Amy Poehler, Issa Rae, Pamela Adlon, Kevin Hart, and Aziz Ansari! Every one of you has talked about feminism and how important it is to support women. Why are you still with Dave Becky?)
Finally, we noticed something very strange about Louis CK’s statement. A significant omission.
Did you notice that Louis CK does not actually apologize to the women he violated?
You’re probably thinking, “Of course he did!”
He never says, “I’m sorry” or “I apologize”. NOT ONCE. He talks about regret and hurt and pain… but it’s all in regards to his current project colleagues, his manager, and his family. There are so many words in his statement that it sounds like he is apologizing to the women he violated and silenced. But he never actually does. It’s all sorrow over the impact HIS getting called out is now having on HIS life.
That’s a narcissist.
We’re sure that other media outlets will title Louis CK’s statement as an apology. It’s not.