Louis C.K. has spoken out about the allegations being leveled against, calling the sexual misconduct and harassment claims true.
In a statement released on Friday, the comedian and TV star said, “These stories are true.”
He continued in a lengthy statement, “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.”
His comments come days after a Thursday report in the New York Times detailed disturbing claims from five women who alleged that C.K. either attempted to or masturbated in front of them, either in person or over the phone. Fellow comedian and onetime C.K. friend Tig Notaro corroborated the claims made by several of the women, also confirming that the sexual assault plotline in the second season of her Amazon series One Mississippi — in which C.K. is also an executive producer — was inspired by the allegations.
Four female comedians went on the record with their claims — Chicago comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, Rebecca Corry and Abby Schachner — along with one anonymous woman identified only as a former production employee on HBO’s The Chris Rock Show. All of the women’s claims, of experiences that allegedly occurred from 2002 to 2005, with the anonymous claim likely taking place earlier, detail similar experiences where the TV writer, director and producer asked if the woman would watch him masturbate. In two instances, he apologized for his behavior years later, saying “That was a bad time in my life and I’m sorry” and “I used to misread people back then,” according to the women.
In wake of the report, Netflix scrapped its planned stand-up special with the comic and his controversial new movie I Love You Dadd —, in which he wrote, stars in and directed — was dropped by distribution company The Orchard one week ahead of its planned Nov. 17 release. HBO cut ties with C.K., dropping him from an upcoming star-studded stand-up special and removing his previous stand-up specials and series from its on-demand services.
Meanwhile, FX, where C.K. has a massive overall deal, says the situation is “under review.” FX aired C.K.’s Emmy-winning comedy Louie for five seasons and he has a creator credit on Pamela Adlon’s Better Thingsand Zach Galifianakis’ Baskets. Amazon has yet to comment on the status of C.K.’s credited involvement on One Mississippi.
Read C.K.’s statement in full below.
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 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.
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. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them. I’d be remiss to exclude the hurt that I’ve brought on people who I work with and have worked with who’s professional and personal lives have been impacted by all of this, including projects currently in production: the cast and crew of Better Things, Baskets, The Cops, One Mississippi, and I Love You Daddy. I deeply regret that this has brought negative attention to my manager Dave Becky who only tried to mediate a situation that I caused. I’ve brought anguish and hardship to the people at FX who have given me so much The Orchard who took a chance on my movie. and every other entity that has bet on me through the years.
I’ve brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother.
I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.