American comedian Louis CK has been accused of sexual misconduct by five women in a New York Times report. The female comedians describe similar incidents, where the comedian either asked if he could masturbate in front of them, or proceeded to do so without seeking their consent.
Earlier in the day, the New York City premiere of CK’s new film I Love You, Daddy was cancelled when rumours of the upcoming newspaper expose began to circulate. The distributors are reportedly reviewing their release plans for the film, which revolves around a television writer-producer whose daughter falls in love with a 68-year-old filmmaker.
Comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov told the New York Times that Louis CK invited them to his room after a late-night show and asked them if he could show them his penis. Writer Abby Schachner said that she could hear CK masturbating when she called him to invite her to one of her shows in 2003. Six years later, in 2009, he reportedly sent her a message on Facebook apologising for his actions. “I remember thinking what a repulsive person I was being by responding the way that I did,” he wrote.
Comedian Rebecca Corry alleged that the comedian asked her he could masturbate in front of her when they appeared together in a television pilot in 2009. He sent her an e-mail in 2015 apologising for his actions, she said. Although the comedian seems to have accepted the inappropriateness of his actions in private, he has consistently denied such allegations in public.
“Now, after years of unsubstantiated rumors about Louis C.K. masturbating in front of associates, women are coming forward to describe what they experienced,” the report says. “Even amid the current burst of sexual misconduct accusations against powerful men, the stories about Louis C.K. stand out because he has so few equals in comedy.”
CK wrote for several comedians, including David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Dana Carvey, and Chris Rock. He has directed Tomorrow Night (1998) and Pootie Tang (2001) and has appeared in the films The Invention of Lying (2009), Blue Jasmine (2013), and Trumbo (2015).
The comedian is yet to comment on the allegations against him. However, FX Networks, which has produced five shows with him in the past eight years, including his Emmy-award winning Louie, responded to the Times report. “FX Networks and FXP take all necessary actions to protect our employees and thoroughly investigate any allegations of misconduct within our workplace,” their statement said. “That said, the matter is currently under review.”
CK has also been dropped from HBO’s autism special Night of Too Many Stars, which will be aired on November 18, Deadline reported. The network has also removed CK’s past work, including his 2006 series Lucky Louie and specials such as Oh My God, from its on-demand services.
Meanwhile, Parks and Recreation creator Mike Schur has apologised for casting the comedian in a recurring role on the show. “Misogyny is a cancer,” he said in a Tweet. “Harassment and abuse are that cancer metastasizing and going untreated.” Schur added that he was sure he had heard about the rumours of CK’s misconduct before he appeared on six episodes in the show.