Louis CK still refuses to address the ‘rumors’ of his sexual harassment

66th Primetime Emmy Awards

Over the past few years, comedian, writer and actor Louis CK has gone from “critical darling who can do no wrong” to “that guy with a lot of sketchy rumors.” I remember reading stories on Gawker (back when Gawker was a thing) about Louis CK and his alleged history of sexual harassment, mostly towards female comedians and random women at comedy clubs. Comedian Tig Notaro had a public falling out with Louis CK about many things several years ago, but she’s been giving interviews recently about how Louis needs to come out and publicly address the rumors. Well, Louis has a new movie called I Love You Daddy. It’s basically the “what if” to every actor who works with Woody Allen – would you, an actor working with Woody, feel differently about Woody if Woody was trying to seduce your teenage daughter? Obviously, Louis has fictionalized that idea so no one is going to get sued. To promote the film at TIFF, Louis spoke to the New York Times (via EW) about the years-long rumors about his inappropriate behavior and abuse of women:

Louis C.K. is continuing to decline discussing “rumors” of sexual misconduct toward female comedians, which gained renewed attention when Tig Notaro recently said he needed to “handle” the hearsay.

“I’m not going to answer to that stuff, because they’re rumors,” C.K. told The New York Times in an interview published Monday. “If you actually participate in a rumor, you make it bigger and you make it real.”

“So it’s not real?” C.K. was asked. “No,” he responded. “They’re rumors, that’s all that is.”

Last month Notaro — a fellow comedian whose Amazon series One Mississippi lists C.K. as an executive producer — told The Daily Beast that she and C.K. had a falling out and had not spoken in a year and a half. Regarding C.K. and the rumors of sexual misconduct, which have not been substantiated, she said, “I think it’s important to take care of that, to handle that, because it’s serious to be assaulted. It’s serious to be harassed. It’s serious, it’s serious, it’s serious.” (The second season of One Mississippi also explores themes of sexual abuse and its various forms.)

In the Times interview, C.K. questioned why Notaro made her remarks about him.

“I don’t know why she said the things she’s said, I really don’t,” he said. “I don’t think talking about that stuff in the press and having conversations over press lanes is a good idea.”

C.K. also spoke about his eyebrow-raising new film I Love You, Daddy, which centers on a successful but discontented TV writer (played by C.K.) whose spoiled teenage daughter is wooed by a much older filmmaker rumored to be a pedophile.

“There are these people in the world that we all talk about, and we want to know that they’re all good or they’re all bad,” C.K. said. “The uncomfortable truth is, you never really know. You don’t know anybody. To me, if there was one thing this movie is about, it’s that you don’t know anybody.”

[From EW]

I’ll paraphrase what I said in last week’s Kate Winlset story: the idea of “no one really knows” and “they’re just rumors” only works for so long. We’re past the point of “it’s just rumormongering” when it comes to Woody Allen in particular – if you’re choosing to NOT believe Dylan Farrow and Ronan Farrow, so be it, and that’s your choice and we have the right to judge you for not believing them. But to dismiss this kind of stuff as “just rumors” does such a gigantic disservice to actual assault, harassment and abuse victims who do come forward. It’s not a “rumor” when there are actual women coming out and saying that Louis (or Woody) abused them or harassed them.

66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Press Room

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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51 Responses to “Louis CK still refuses to address the ‘rumors’ of his sexual harassment”

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  1. Nicole says:

    You’re still cancelled sir. I’m sorry but the harassment in the comedy world is rampant. While I would love for this to be false I err on the side on the victim always

  2. Wowza says:

    I’m not saying this to be difficult, just confused — did a woman actually come forward and accuse Louis CK of inappropriate behavior?

    I remember the Gawker blind that a successful comedian would whip it out and jerk off in front of female comedians. If I remember correctly, it didn’t even name him outright? And that kind of snowballed into people taking it as a fact and saying CK has a big scandal on his hands.

    IDK, I know I sound like a CK fan (I’m not really), but unless I missed something, this is very little info to go on and say CK needs to atone for inappropriate behavior.

    • lem says:

      I believe (could be wrong) a female comedian did name him personally.

    • Ravensdaughter says:

      I always got this “deal with it” vibe from him. In recent comedy engagements, he’s acquired this hard edge that takes all the fun out of his humor. I thought he was a man growing older in tough times, but now I think he is a man who knows his time is up.

      He is co-producing a great show with actress Pamela Adlon (Pamela from “Louis”), “Better Things”. As producers, both he and Adlon (especially Adlon, who also plays the lead) invested a great deal of time and effort in it. Maybe at this point his contribution is less so; I hope that the show goes unscathed for the sake of Pamela and the rest of the dedicated cast and crew.

    • Shocked says:

      I AM a Louis CK fan and was absolutely horrified when I was reading about this stuff last year, but I have yet to hear an actual accuser come forward. There have been women who have accused him of doing it TO OTHER WOMEN, but that’s not really the same thing. Woody Allen has a direct accuser, who provided details and has people who know the situation well enough to convince me he’s a piece of shit. It broke my heart, because some of his movies are my favorite movies, but I cannot bring myself to laugh at someone who laughs off child sexual abuse. Maybe he really didn’t do it. Maybe it’s all made up and it’s totally a scam. Until she comes forward and says it was a lie, I believe her, and I cannot bear to even hear WA’s name.

      Back to Louis CK, though – Lots of women saying he’s done this to other women (or saying they heard about it), but as far as I know, no direct accusers. If there was suddenly a rumor that I had sexually assaulted people, I would dismiss it outright just like him. “It’s not real to me” sounds like what I would say when confronted with something that outrageous. He jokes about shocking things all of the time because that IS how his mind works, and because it makes people laugh. I will be pretty crushed if there’s ever confirmation (or at least some kind of evidentiary support), but until then he’s just floating in a nebulous zone of “Well, I have no reason to doubt him, but….” It sucks. Because he isn’t obligated to address rumors at all, much less these particular rumors. And what would he say even if he did? “There’s no validity to these claims” etc….just like literally every actual abuser? Yeah….He’s fucked either way.

    • G says:

      Couldn’t agree more. In my work I have to sort stories/opinions from fact, and I can assure you that the distance between the former and the latter can be very wide indeed. I also don’t think that the subject of a rumour should be ‘guilty until proven innocent’, simply because of the content of a rumour (e.g. criminal behaviour). That’s not how rumours work. Rumours can turn into something more, of course, but there doesn’t seem to be anything concrete (yet?) behind these ones.

      Plus, it sounds to me as though he HAS addressed the matter? Denying the rumours, and naming them as such, seems like a response to me. I don’t really know what more people are expecting — a multi-page essay denouncing sexual harassment? Would that exonerate him?

      This type of thing really bugs me, probably because I see it so much at work. It doesn’t matter who the person is or what type of rumour is involved — you can’t crucify someone on the basis of rumours.

  3. Samantha says:

    I think a lot of people confuse the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” with “no claim/allegation/statement, regardless of strenghth, is worth caring about until 100% proven”. That is what I frequently see in comments online.
    I personally don’t like to condemn someone who hasn’t been proven guilty, but when there’s enough credibiliy to particularly heinous allegations, you should at least acknolwedge the possibility of it being true or should at least refrain from vehement defenses based on “impressions”.
    Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t mean accusers are liars until proven otherwise. That seems lost on a lot of people.
    It’s sensitive & it’s hard to say where I stand on these issues with few words. But I can acknowledge that there’s a LOT of problematic thinking out there.

    • Wowza says:

      I agree, but I just feel like these claims actually don’t have that much credibility? It’s not like he’s my “fave” and I can’t deal with the possibility that he’s problematic, but in this case, I remember the first rumors, and it seems like everyone has taken them as fact but there really isn’t that much to go on.

      Again, unless I’m wrong, there was the one blind about him masturbating in front of nonconsenting female comedians, which didn’t name him, but people said it sounded like CK. Then anonymous people on the internet said that happened to them. And if there was a blind about a comedian behaving sexually inappropriately, people would attach it to CK, no questions asked.

      I just really don’t know if there’s enough info to act like he definitely did what people say he did and we need to cancel him. I guess it’s just a personal barometer (I fully believe the claims against Johnny Depp, dr Luke, Chris brown, etc) but yeah, this seems really weak, and if it’s not true, I can see why he doesn’t want to talk about it.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Exactly. I don’t see how the claims can be given credibility when no one has named him. Jen Kirkman said that he said things that kind of made her uncomfortable, but specifically stated he didn’t touch her or anything.

        “Kirkman explained, “a male comic… said something kind of creepy to me. In no way physically violated my space, I did not see his body parts, he did not corner me, it was just a couple creepy incidents.” Kirkman didn’t feel threatened so much as “annoyed,”

  4. lem says:

    I wish more comedians and C.K. himself would address it. I remember after the Cosby stuff came out fully, Patton Oswalt said that it was a well known secret in the comedy world that a lot of them (comedians) just didn’t want to address/believe and that it was wrong for them to ignore it the way they did. I get the feeling that the same thing could be happening with C.K. in that no one in the industry (and when I say no one, I mean no one that will be listened to by the public; the Cosby thing was no secret but it wasn’t until Hannibal Burress called it out that it got the full public attention) wants to call it out b/c of his status. I loved C.K.’s comedy but a lot of it now seems gross to me given the “rumors”.

    • Lady D says:

      Hannibal Burress and his little joke. I personally had never heard one accusation about Bill Cosby before Hannibal’s joke blew Cosby’s life up. I will forever stand amazed and awed by the power of his joke.

      • lem says:

        I don’t think many people outside of comedy had heard of the Cosby accusations, but according to Oswalt, it was not unheard of within the comedy world. And if I recall, women had repeatedly come forward over the years, only to be ignored/dismissed b/c no one believed Cosby would do that. It wasn’t until a man in comedy spoke up that it caught the attention of the mainstream public.

        Oswalt talks about a lot of this in the You Made It Weird podcast. It was refreshing to hear his take on it as it was unfolding.

      • hoopjumper says:

        Me neither. It was totally new info.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I didn’t connect what someone told me about Cosby years ago until he was first accused. She said that it was well known he had a casting couch, and he was aggressive about it, but I was a teenager hanging out with my older sibling so It meant nothing to me in the late 90s. I just liked hanging around listening to them gossip, but then it clicked when he was accused.

    • Kate says:

      Cosby wasn’t a secret. At all. He’d had a reputation since the 70′s, and some of his accusers had gone public decades before it finally snowballed and brought him down.

      It was such an open thing that in the early 90′s my mother wouldn’t let me watch The Cosby Show because in her words, Cosby was a sick, perverted man. We lived an ocean away and my mother didn’t really keep up with celebrity gossip, but somehow it had filtered down to even her.

      Cosby is like Jimmy Savile. It was all out there for decades, but people ignored it, dismissed it, forgot it, until finally there was a watershed moment that brought it all to light in a way people couldn’t just brush past.

      • lem says:

        You’re right–it wasn’t a secret if you were paying attention. But the U.S. mainstream media and public weren’t paying attention until Burress’s joke landed the way it did. Which the irony that it took a male comedian to get it out there is still extremely frustrating.

  5. D says:

    Oh this pisses me off. They are accusations of criminal behavior, not rumors. And this movie is clearly attempting to keep the victim blaming narrative guess we know he loves AZZ Betsy DeGross turning back rape victim rights in campus. Blood boiling.

    • Dizzie says:

      I’m with you D. If your child says to you they were molested, do you respond with, “Well, dear, they have a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven in a court of law.” Hell no, you would start building the case, making noise and demands, and get your kid help and protection from the alleged abuser. Would you put your child or friend in harms way because of the way it was disclosed or the actions they chose or didn’t choose?

      • cate says:

        exactly. this stuff is so disturbing. he regularly makes jokes about children being abused, which is so vile and unfunny. He clearly demonstrates a preoccupation with sexual assault and this movie is creepy. people cling to the idea that men who assault women must only exist in the underbelly of society, when the reality is that they are husbands, fathers, directors, comedians etc that you may love and support. i love comedy as much as the next person, but when you constantly mock things like the abuse of children, you are the lowest form of humor, there’s nothing hilarious or genius about that topic.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      My take was that the movie is actually about holding the violators accountable. If the protagonist doesn’t care about creepy director until his own daughter is the target…that doesn’t sound like he is letting the creepy director off the hook. It sounds like the point of the movie is for people to consider what if all of these victims were their daughters.

  6. Dizzie says:

    Dylan Farrow, the victim, said it happened- IT DID. End of story.

    Creeper worked to discredit Mia and Ronan and Dylan for years, cuz that’s what abusers do.
    I refuse to see his films and I no longer watch anything with Louis C K. I read about the masturbation stories, but female comics won’t/can’t come forward because comedy is such a guy thing. Initially you’ve got to fit in to get the gigs, be one of the chicks okay with that culture.
    I Only watch female comics on Netflix and give them a thumbs up. Yet, Netflux always alerts me to the males- it’s a dude algorithm ffs.

  7. minx says:

    I just don’t see his so-called appeal at all.

  8. Mia4s says:

    The irony is I’ve heard more allegations against Louis CK than I have against Woody Allen. 😒 Hard pass on this film.

    I don’t pay to watch Allen films but I don’t take particular issue with actors working with him anymore. I haven’t since Cate Blanchett. I’m sad when they do, but let’s face it, it’s great for careers. Emma Stone made two Allen movies and won an Oscar the next year. Andrew Dice Clay got critical praise and a mini-revival! I hate it, but I 100% get why actors do. Plus why do people think Hollywood would turn away? Allen was never charged after the investigation and has been married uneventfully for over 20 years….Hollywood gave an Oscar to the actually charged and convicted Polanski!! So Allen? That’s nothing for Hollywood.

    Although considering I’ve paid to see movies by Bryan Singer and Michael Bay, and starring Sean Penn, maybe I’m a bit of a hypocrite. Maybe most of us are. Hollywood will do that to you.

  9. Adrien says:

    Off topic but this guy turned 50 today. 50???

  10. Holly565 says:

    Your periodic reminder that if you suspect your child has been abused, consult professionals immediately. Mia Farrow’s decision to play amateur psychologist and interview her daughter repeatedly on tape was a profoundly stupid decision.

    • slowsnow says:

      That is exactly why I always had a bad feeling about this story. Mia Farrow gives me the creeps and does not seem to be a very reliable person? Before reading this site, I intuitively felt that she instilled this idea in her kid based on the, granted, very creepy story between him and his new wife. Now I don’t know and I feel incredibly bothered by the whole thing, including the Louis CK rumours… The speed at which people run to excuse Polanski is also very strange (a la Winslet). This is all so upsetting.

    • Lady D says:

      …or really desperate for evidence given who she was up against. I can’t fault her for trying. The way it turned out was probably exactly what Mia feared.

    • Kate says:

      I completely 100% believe Allen molested Dylan. He’s a monster. But I also think Farrow is a profoundly messed up woman who only really cared about hurting Allen for having an ‘affair’.

      Part of the reason the case against Allen went nowhere and was under rug swept for so long was because Farrow eventually realised her story made her look incredibly bad. She’d suspected he was molesting Dylan, and all she did was tell the staff to keep an eye out when they were together. Even in her later accounts, she tells this part like it was no big deal. She was fairly sure her husband was molesting their child, and she didn’t get help, she didn’t leave, she just made a very minor effort to stop him being alone with her. It wasn’t until she found the naked photos of her other daughter and Allen left her that she decided to give a damn about Dylan, and instead of doing things properly, she interrogated and taped her herself, pretty much ensuring no successful case could ever be brought.

      There’s also the fact she has always, even now, treated Soon-Li as the other woman. Not as her daughter who was groomed and abused, but just as someone who betrayed her and stole her husband. She made no attempt to help her daughter, she just turned on her. Which is especially terrible if Soon-Li really is as developmentally delayed as Farrow’s always claimed.

      Again, Allen’s a monster, no question, but Farrow was complicit too.

      • slowsnow says:

        I didn’t even know that about Farrow. But she always seemed aloof to me. That is not normal behaviour and were I a judge I would put your argument in both sides: the dad did it, the mum is forging false allegations. It all sounds very strange to me. Also, this kind of behaviour is usually repeated, it’s a pattern. And there are no other rumours about Allen and boy did he have opportunities.

  11. Millenial says:

    I see this a lot in my own profession, where there is a “whisper network” of sorts — like, one woman will say to another woman, “hey, you know, so and so did x, y, z and it really creeped me out” and the other woman will say, “yeah, he’s creeped me out before. Let me tell you about this one time” and then when a new woman starts at the company the other women will sort of look out for her and say, “hey, avoid this guy, he’s kind of a creep.”

    These “whisper networks” are important, and I think in the age of social media they are leaving the office and coming more and more online. In professions like comedy, in particular, where women have very little power, these backchannels they use to warn each other are all they have.

    All that is to say, I don’t dismiss rumors just because they are rumors and no one has come forward with anything specific.

    • bros says:

      Whisper networks are not all women have in male dominated fields. Come on. I don’t expect C.K. to address a blind item where anonymous posters said ‘this sounds like something Louis CK would do because he is always talking about jerking off’. I am not owed any explanation for that. I dont disagree with him at all saying talking about personal falling outs in press lanes is a bad idea. there’s no accuser that anyone knows about, and in an age where everyone is salivating to accuse everyone as an abuser, harasser, a creator of unsafe spaces, microaggressors, that simply because there is innuendo from a blind item’s comments that it must be true.

      sorry, not buying it. that he won’t come out with a mea culpa when we don’t even know there’s a culpa is not a problem in my book.

  12. slowsnow says:

    I love Louis CK stand-up comedy. I really do. It’s clever, annoying, uncomfortable, un-PC.
    However, these rumours have put me off. If there were rumours about me on this subject I think I’d address them. It’s pretty serious because when it’s a one off there is always that thing where you think it might be construed. (Remember the stupid rumour about Gere and gerbils??)
    When it’s a lot of people, then it gets serious, This kind of predatory, exhibitionist behaviour is never a one-off.
    If he doesn’t address it, it looks even more like an entitled attitude, the one predators protected by their own milieu usually have.
    This makes me sad because I truly like his stand-up acts, particularly the older ones.

  13. Derpy says:

    I thought Doug Stanhope came out and admitted it was himself who was jerking off in front of female comedians

  14. Honeybee Blues says:

    “if you’re choosing to NOT believe Dylan Farrow and Ronan Farrow, so be it, and that’s your choice and we have the right to judge you for not believing them.” Well, the Soon Yi situation. is fact, however, Mia Farrow detailed the alleged abuse of Dylan; Farrow and Allen the BOTH took lie detector tests; he passed, she failed. Completely. The NYC DA has long believed the story false and born/postulated of her justifiable anger. But, the evidence against Woody Allen abusing Dylan simply isn’t there. Not excusing his behavior with Soon Yi, just reminding people that the Dylan accusations are fraught with doubt. Again, Allen passed the lie detector test and Farrow failed.

  15. Sassback says:

    It wasn’t Louis CK who is the masturbator, it was Doug Stanhope. It was a blind item many people attributed to him but Doug Stanhope did admit it was him, if I remember correctly. Tig doesn’t talk to CK anymore because of what, I think is, a fame thing-Louis is a producer named on her show but he has nothing to do with the show and there is an allegation of joke-stealing (him stealing from her.) Ironic, because CK confronted other comics about joke-stealing. I think what most people who know him are more disappointed with, is the fact he is not publicly distancing himself from comics and Hollywood figures who are predators. And not distancing himself is just helping those predators. Comedy is becoming more and more open to women and the alt-comedy community is supporting women comics and CK is not contributing to that.

  16. sweetpea says:

    interesting that he made a film based on the so called “rumors” about Woody Allen..

  17. Urs says:

    Doug Stanhope was joking when he said it was him. I haven’t heard that Jen Kirkman said it wasn’t CK but she seems addresses the Blind Item here.


    I liked his show and his earlier specials but he’s climbed up his own @ss these past few years.

  18. MsGnomer says:

    I have always been a fan of Louis’ comedy and his writing. But, I believe it was the comedy special from last year when he made a remark that completely turned my stomach. He was being rude, saying he doesn’t understand racism, but sexism, that’s biology, so that’s never going to change, and that was okay. It rang true, like he believed it. Given all his incredible work with Adlon in the past, I was in shock that he would say something so obtuse. Maybe that’s really him. Maybe he is just a pig like Cosby. I hope not.