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Louis C.K. responds to sexual harassment allegations: “These stories are true”

The comedian responds to New York Times allegations, says he will “step back” from his career.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Bob Woodruff Foundation
Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

Louis C.K. has released a statement responding to allegations against him reported in the New York Times on Thursday. In it, he acknowledges as true the stories that he has masturbated in front of women without their explicit consent, and he apologizes.

“These stories are true,” he writes in the second paragraph. “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.”

Rumors have swirled around C.K. since 2012, when a Gawker blind item about a famous comedian masturbating in front of two other comedians was thought to be about him. The Times article identified these two women — Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov — and then named three others, as well as a sixth who declined to publish her name.

“There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for,” C.K. says in the statement. “And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.”

In the wake of the article’s publication, the release of C.K.’s new film, I Love You, Daddy, has been canceled. His production company, Pig Newton, has numerous TV shows in production, including the FX series Better Things and Baskets, the Amazon show One Mississippi, and TBS’s The Cops. C.K. is not involved in day-to-day operations on many of these shows (and some are just produced under the aegis of Pig Newton, meaning C.K. has almost nothing to do with them), so most of them will probably continue production. Both Better Things and Baskets have been renewed for third seasons, with Baskets returning in January.

C.K.’s statement also mentions his manager, Dave Becky, named in the Times story as someone who quietly kept the story under wraps. “I deeply regret that this has brought negative attention to my manager Dave Becky,” the statement reads, “who only tried to mediate a situation that I caused.”

“I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything that I want,” the statement concludes. “I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”