Comedian Sarah Silverman defended her longtime friend Louis C.K., who admitted last year to sexual misconduct and taking advantage of his power, saying that the standup comic and actor did not understand that his influence had put him in a position of power that made his actions “not OK.”
“I’m not saying what he did was OK. I’m just saying at a certain point, when he became influential, not even famous, but influential in the world of comedy, it changes,” she told radio host Howard Stern on Monday. “Once he became powerful, even within just his community, he felt like he was the same person. But the dynamic was different, and it was not OK.”
Silverman said the standup comic used to masturbate in front of her when they were both aspiring comedians, but the situation was different because it was consensual and “he could offer me nothing.”
“I’ve known Louis forever. I’m not making excuses for him, so please don’t take this that way. We are peers. We are equals. When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘Fuck yeah, I want to see that!’” she said. “It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them. He could offer me nothing. We were only just friends. So sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it. It was amazing. Sometimes, I would say, ‘Fucking no, gross,’ and we got pizza.”
Last November, following long-standing rumors of sexual misconduct, Louis C.K. admitted to masturbating in front of younger female comedians and abusing his power. In recent months, the comedian has attempted to stage a comeback, performing several unannounced comedy sets — including this weekend, when he made a surprise appearance at a comedy club near Boston, according to The Boston Globe.
The club owner said the comedian briefly alluded to his sexual misconduct at the beginning of his comedy set by “asking the audience how their year was going before acknowledging that his has been fraught,” the Globe reported.
At a show in New York last month, he mentioned taking “‘a really long break’ … but didn’t really acknowledge his past / the allegations,” an attendee told HuffPost in an email.
Silverman said Monday that she would like Louis C.K. to reflect publicly on his behavior.
“I’m not saying everyone should embrace Louis again,” she said. “I believe he has remorse. I just want him to talk about it on stage. He’s going to have to find his way, or not find his way.”
Representatives for Louis C.K. did not immediately return a request for comment on Silverman’s statements.
After Louis C.K. admitted to his sexual misconduct last year, Silverman wondered if she could “love someone who did bad things.”
“He wielded his power with women in fucked-up ways, sometimes to the point where they left comedy entirely,” she said on her Hulu show in November. “I love Louis. But Louis did these things. Both of those statements are true, so I just keep asking myself, ‘Can you love someone who did bad things? Can you still love them?’ I can mull that over later, certainly, because the only people that matter right now are the victims.”