It’s been over a year now since the #MeToo movement really started to take off and you would think by now that some of the folks —mainly men — who have been accused of sexual misconduct would have taken a turn for the better by now. You’d think they would have not only owned up to what they did but taken the past year as a time to reflect on their actions and make some serious changes. Initially, I thought one of those folks would have been comedian Louis C.K. who admitted to sexual misconduct late last year. Not only did he make a sudden comeback this summer as if nothing ever happened. But he recently made some beyond nasty and tasteless jokes at a comedy club in Long Island mocking the survivors of the Parkland High school shooting — it was gross. In the set that was leaked to YouTube, C.K. is also heard ridiculing trans and non-binary people. If this isn’t proof this man has learned absolutely nothing, I don’t know what is.
I don’t think anyone — including former Louis C.K. fans like myself — were surprised when the accusations came out. Don’t get me wrong, we were shook and disappointed but not surprised. Mainly because a majority of C.K.’s content revolved around dick jokes and masturbation. With that said, I think a lot of us were under the impression Louis C.K. was genuinely remorseful about what he did and was possibly going to take time to reflect on his behavior and make necessary changes. At least, that’s what I first thought after reading his public statement following the accusations. This is what he wrote in his public statement last November:
“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. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. 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 have 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. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position. I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it. There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with. I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work. The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else …”
C.K.’s statement was actually significantly longer but let’s leave it at this because this pretty much sums up the theme of that statement, which was that the comedian supposedly felt a ton of regret and remorse regarding his bad behavior, right? Or so it read. Keep in mind, that C.K. was one of the few male figures who was accused during the #MeToo wave who actually kinda, sorta seemed apologetic. Folks like Dominican writer Junot Diaz for instance, were quick to just call all the accusations lies. C.K. didn’t. He seemed to be owning up to it but his quick and random comeback this summer started to reveal that maybe he hadn’t learned anything at all.
Nine months after the accusation, C.K. had randomly performed a Sunday night at the Comedy Cellar in New York. Many argued this comeback came way too quickly. Feminist writer Roxane Gay wrote that he along with a few other accused men had “done little in the way of public contrition” to be making these comebacks. The fact that C.K. didn’t even address the accusations during his set already spoke volumes. What we didn’t know was what he was actually saying during these sets, which was eventually revealed after his last set was leaked on YouTube.
You’d think after that very public accusation of misconduct, C.K. would have been more careful with his jokes. Nope. Instead, he thought it appropriate to criticize the Parkland school shooting survivors:
“You’re not interesting because you went to a high school where kids were shot. Why does that mean I have to listen to you? How does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way. Now I gotta listen to you talking?”
If you think that can’t get worse, think again. His jokes targeting kids who use gender-neutral pronouns was just as bad, if not worse.
“They tell you what to call them. You should address me as they them because I identify as gender neutral. You should address me as there because I identify as a location and the location is your mother’s cunt.”
This is very clear evidence that C.K. has clearly not learned a damn thing, but doesn’t care to. His arrogant ass is so convinced that he could still book shows and grow his career as a comedian, that he doesn’t think the accusations will hurt him at all. In fact, it shows that he’s so full of it, he thinks he can continue to make jokes that are discriminating and it not affect him in the least.
What’s particularly upsetting about all this, is that like others who have been accused, C.K. has very obviously missed the point and the bigger picture here. He can’t see past himself and hasn’t learned any of the moral lessons he should have by now. It also makes me wonder, do comedians think the only way to get people to laugh is by performing content that’s racist, sexist, and homophobic? C.K., like a lot of other comedians right now, seems to think that the younger generation these days are too sensitive or possibly “too woke.” But the truth is, comedy shouldn’t be about attacking groups. In fact, there’s a good wave of comedians who are pretty conscious about not being racist, sexist, or homophobic in their content like Michelle Wolf, John Oliver, Noah Trevor, and Ali Wong, just to name a few.
When Roxane Gay wrote her opinion piece about why C.K.’s comeback was problematic, some folks thought it was a tad bit extreme but in actuality, she was right. I am a firm believer, especially after hearing C.K.’s latest set, that WAY more needs to be done before any of these men should be allowed to make comebacks. When addressing how long it should take for a man like Louis C.K. to pay for what he did, Gay writes:
“He should pay until he demonstrates some measure of understanding of what he has done wrong and the extent of the harm he has caused. He should attempt to financially compensate his victims for all the work they did not get to do because of his efforts to silence them. He should facilitate their getting the professional opportunities they should have been able to take advantage of all these years. He should finance their mental health care as long as they may need it. He should donate to non-profit organizations that work with what he did and why it was wrong without excuses and legalese and deflection. Every perpetrator of sexual harassment and violence should follow suit.”
I could not agree more. C.K. should not be allowed on a stage until all of that has been met or at this point — ever!