Louis C.K. has been accused of sexual misconduct by several female comedians in a report by The New York Times.
The exposé, published on Thursday, alleges the comedian exposed himself and masturbated in front of two female comedians in 2002, masturbated while speaking to a female comedian over the phone in 2003 and asked to masturbate in front of another comedian, who declined, in 2005.
Chicago comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, comedians Rebecca Corry, Abby Schachner and C.K. collaborator and onetime friend Tig Notaro all spoke to the Times for the story.
When contacted by the Times about the story, C.K.’s publicist Lewis Kay said, “Louis is not going to answer any questions.”
Notaro had addressed rumors about C.K. when promoting her Amazon series One Mississippi, which premiered early September. The traumedy is produced under C.K.’s FX Productions-based Pig Newton banner and though C.K. is a credited executive producer, Notaro said the pair had not spoken in two years and that he is not involvement in the show. Though she didn’t elaborate on what caused their rift, comparisons were drawn between a sexual assault plotline in the show’s second season and the unsubstantiated rumors about C.K.
In One Mississippi, a character (played by Notaro’s wife, Stephanie Allynne) is sexually assaulted when her boss masturbates in front of her during a pitch meeting. The scene echoes a Gawker allegation made by anonymous comedians that gained further traction after a Roseanne Barr interview last year. C.K. addressed the claims in a 2016 interview with Vulture, saying, “I don’t care about that. That’s nothing to me. That’s not real.”
After telling the The Daily Beast that C.K. should “handle” the rumors leveled against him, Notaro told THR they explored sexual assault in the show because, “We wanted to show that you can be assaulted without even being touched. Nothing can be said and you are still horrifically violated and scared.” Adding, “I know it’s very uncomfortable. But it’s not not happening.” The show premiered only a month before the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, opening the floodgates in Hollywood for women, and men, to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment.
Now speaking to the Times, Notaro said she feels “trapped” by her association with C.K., who promoted her now famous “Hello, I Have Cancer” Largo set about her cancer diagnosis in 2012. “He knew it was going to make him look like a good guy, supporting a woman,” she said, adding that she learned of his reputation only after selling One Mississippi to Amazon.
Notaro confirmed to the Times that season-two storyline is a fictional treatment of the C.K. allegations.
“Sadly, I’ve come to learn that Louis C.K.’s victims are not only real,” she said by email, “but many are actual friends of mine within the comedy community.” That includes Goodman and Wolov, who also participated in the story. Notaro said she is speaking out to support of those with the courage “to speak up against such a powerful figure… as well as the multitude of women still out there, not quite ready to share their nightmares.”
The film and TV producer and star had refused to engage in the “rumors” linking him to sexual misconduct toward female comedians when interviewed by the Times back in September. “I’m not going to answer to that stuff, because they’re rumors,” C.K. initially told the paper. “If you actually participate in a rumor, you make it bigger and you make it real,” he added. When pressed further, he said again, “They’re rumors, that’s all that is.” Such claims had long circulated about the comedian, but the allegations were from anonymous accusers and only brought to a fever pitch with the release of his envelope-pushing film I Love You Daddy, which premiered at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, and after comments by Notaro. I Love You Daddy, which C.K. wrote, directed and stars in, tells the story of a TV writer-producer that attempts to stop his 17-year-old daughter’s relationship with a 68-year-old filmmaker and includes controversial dialogue and multiple child rape jokes.
The official premiere for I Love You Daddy, slated to take place in New York City on Thursday, was canceled earlier in the day due to the forthcoming Times’ story, a source had told The Hollywood Reporter. (Reps for the premiere cited “unexpected circumstances.”) C.K. was also booked to appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Thursday night but canceled at the last minute, according to a source. Shameless star William H. Macy will take his place on the CBS show.
THR has reached out to C.K. for comment.
This post originally appeared in The Hollywood Reporter.