Louis C.K. Joins List of Powerful Men Accused of Sexual Harassment

Comedian Louis C.K. has joined movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, GOP candidate Roy Moore and MSNBC journalist Mark Halperin as part of a group of powerful men to be accused of sexual harassment. Though allegations of sexual assault and misconduct have begun flooding the media since The New York Times’ breaking report on Weinstein, the accusations against Louis C.K. are particularly significant because he has admitted their veracity.

After The New York Times published an initial expose on Nov. 9  in which five women accused the comedian of sexual misconduct, the comedian released a statement on Nov. 10 in which he confessed that the allegations (which included accusations that he forced women to watch him masturbate) were 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,” Louis C.K. said. “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.”

Some praised the 50-year-old comedian for his honesty, comparing his statement to others made by figures in the same position. Harvey Weinstein was attacked for his bizarre apology to The New York Times in which he wrote, "My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons," and then proceeded to mention Jay Z, the National Rifle Association (NRA), and his Bar Mitzvah. Actor Kevin Spacey was widely criticized after he blamed  "deeply inappropriate drunken behavior" for any advances that he made on a minor, coming out as gay in the same statement. While Louis C.K. was largely applauded for his straightforward statement, his apology also evoked negative responses from critics who felt it was too self-centered and disingenuous (for instance, the word “admire” appears throughout the statement in various forms).

Others emphasized the fact that Louis C.K. did not use the words "apology,” "apologize," or “sorry” at any point in his statement.  

Nonetheless, the accusations against Louis C.K. were particularly shocking considering his continued endorsement of female comedians and the prevalence of feminist themes in his comedy. But as friend and fellow comedian Sarah Silverman stated in an emotional monologue, calling out sexual assault is incredibly necessary — as painful and complicated as it may be. Silverman said, “I am at once very angry for the women [Louis CK] wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he’s my friend. But I believe with all my heart that this moment in time is essential. It’s vital that people are held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are. We need to be better. We will be better. I can’t fucking wait to be better.” Watch the full video below:

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