Louis C.K. accusations perpetuate streamlined power abuse in Hollywood

The New York Times released a report last Thursday, Nov. 9 that held the testimonies of five different women accusing comedian Louis C.K. of performing acts of sexual misconduct against them. Later that day, the premiere of C.K’s film, “I Love You, Daddy,” was abruptly cancelled with no explanation hours before show time.

With accusations spanning as early as 1997, female comedians, workplace colleagues and other female comedy writers alike stated they were each forced to watch C.K. masturbate in front of them without their consent, while others recount instances in which C.K. started masturbating to the sound of their voices via telephone conversation.

That Friday, a day after The New York Times article, C.K. released a statement admitting, “These stories are true,” and “There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for.”

C.K.’s controversial new film, “I Love You, Daddy,” follows the story of a father who tries to stop his 17-year-old daughter from dating a 68-year-old filmmaker. Critics have stated a similarity between C.K.’s film and works of filmmaker Woody Allen, who was accused of sexually assaulting his seven year old adoptive daughter in 2014.

The film’s first trailer release came weeks before the sexual assault accusations of Harvey Weinstein, an awkward coincidence that has the potential to serve as C.K.’s last work in Hollywood.

Louis C.K has stated in past interviews that the film was supposed to be about the “messiness” and “complexity” of people.

“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. told The New York Times in September.

He added, “To me, if there is one thing this movie is about, it’s that you don’t know anybody.”

These accusations come after five years of silent preparation. In 2012, Gawker, an online media company and blog network that was shut down in 2016, published an anonymous report that described secondhand accounts of unnamed sources who said they heard an unnamed comedian masturbated in front of two other unnamed comedians in 2002. However, due to the article’s lack of names and trusted sources, it never made big news.

Now that the news is out, companies like HBO, Netflix and FX have since cut ties with C.K. Marc Maron, FX comedian and C.K.’s longtime friend said during his podcast, “WTF,” “There’s no place women can go to report their mistreatment, and men lack the empathy to believe them.”

This year began with women marching through Seattle and cities around the country demanding to be heard and respected. Now, as the year heads toward the end, women are stepping forward in a seemingly endless stream to call out sexually abusive men.

With a sense of solidarity growing amongst Hollywood’s survivors of sexual misconduct, it seems we could never know who is next on Hollywood’s growing list of sexual predators.