How Men Like Louis CK Get Away with Sexual Harassment
Even if one woman opens up and has a story against a man in power, listen to her, believe her, writes Supriya Joshi.
So, some breaking news emerged from the world of comedy today, Louis CK – hero to many aspiring and well-established comics – was accused of sexual misconduct by five women (so far).
People everywhere gasped at their hero’s downfall, and I wouldn't blame them, because the man's a fantastic stand-up comic. But, was I surprised that he would be capable of doing this? Nope.
The man’s a man, and some men are capable of doing awful, horrific things, no matter where they are in life and how many people idolise them.
Reading the New York Times report just kept making me more sick and mad at how easy it is for men in power to abuse their status and pretty much consider themselves to be completely invincible beings.
I also feel it’s much ‘easier’ for men in comedy to get away with saying and doing objectionable things like this, because he has an escape card called ‘I was only joking’, and you’d believe him as he does this for a living.
The women who have come out with their stories are part of the comedy universe themselves. Imagine meeting someone you idolise and then they whip out their privates in front of you and begin masturbating – without your consent.
Meanwhile, you're left wondering if he's going to reveal some hilarious flip and it will all end and be alright again.
I am a woman in comedy, and I have never received anything but love and appreciation from not only my peers, but also comedians who are much senior than me. However, if something like this were to happen to me, I would find myself reacting in the same way these women did.
It’s such a strange place to be in, I would imagine it to be a mix of complete disbelief and disgust. Because, what happens after? This mental image you had created of your idol has completely shattered, and 'hero’ you thought him to be, is just a human…The kind of disgraced human you’d never have imagined him to be.
So many of my friends, from the field of comedy, who were huge Louis CK fans opened up about it and said they couldn’t believe their hero did that. But what of his peers?
Another comic legend, Marc Maron, tweeted that he’s “been friends with Louis CK for a long time. I read the article and none of it is good. I'll have more to say about it on my own show and not a shitty platform like Twitter.” But when Maron uses the platform to promote everything he’s ever done, it’s not shitty then?
The rumours of his sexual misconducts go far back up to 2012, when Gawker – the news website – reported the story without revealing his name. When the comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov started telling people about what CK did, his equally powerful manager asked them to stop.
But as I write this, Louis himself has released an apology, accepting that all the allegations are, in fact, true and that he’s taking a step back and taking a “long time to listen.”
An apology doesn’t help that he got away in the first place because had the report not been published, Louis CK would have continued to have a very prosperous career. His now stalled movie would have released and he would have continued being everyone’s favourite stand-up comic.
However, I don’t think he has to be so worried about his career. Other powerful men who have done worse continue to be in the public eye, from Woody Allen to Dustin Hoffman.
If 2017 has taught me anything, it’s that don’t idolise people because even your heroes are capable of letting you down, and even if one woman opens up and has a story against a man in power, listen to her, believe her. It shouldn’t take a New York Times article to make one do that.
(Supriya Joshi is a stand comic and a creative writer. You can connect with her on Twitter. The views expressed here are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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