I don’t know if this story flies around in regular people news the way it does in circles of comedians, but I’m sure you’ve caught some wind of allegations against Louis CK for masturbating in front of female comics. The original article I believe is a piece by gawker – more accurately, the defamer, which is some tributary of gawker that I don’t know anything about, and which I’m not linking to because I don’t want to offer them web traffic.
First and foremost, this is shit journalism at its worst. Death and Taxes made several arguments about this, including a lack of corroboration, the incredibly vague sources, lack of any police reports, I could go on.
It’s come more recently to my attention that this female comic may have been Jen Kirkman, who said during a podcast something about “A famous comedian” who had done this, with a description that heavily implied CK. She has since retracted the podcast, which is still available through death and taxes, and has been pretty adamant in not getting into it further. Full disclosure, I didn't listen to the podcast, I read some of the transcripted parts that were deemed relevant. I'll go back and give it a spin later, and maybe I'll be writing some big apology afterwards. Doubtful though.
This is where I want some heads to roll whether it’s hers, Louis CK’s, or whoever else originated this claim. So to whomever started this:
You cannot casually accuse someone of molesting you or performing lewd acts and then retract as if you’d just told an embarrassing story about yourself. I understand that you are worried about your career, but by making an allegation like that casually, you risk making the more severe accusations from women who have been violated seem more trivial. Do not make these statements lightly, and do not back down from them when you make them.
If you did have this happen to you, you need to step forward. The likelihood that it was just you is infinitesimally small. Will you be railroaded by the millions of people that rabidly support a celebrity? Yeah. Could it kill your career? That’s a possibility. Are you worried that the lack of evidence will mean that nothing will come of your effort? Completely understandable. But are you making it possible for people who are terrified and pressured into silence to be taken seriously? Yes, and what’s more worth it to you?
Maybe you don’t want to be a martyr, be considered part of some ‘feminist front’ or do anything aside from be funny for a living. But you’re setting a standard. To say nothing isn't helping you or anyone else, but to say something and immediately hush over it makes a very real issue become a caricature. We’re reducing men to horny dogs with no ability to control themselves and women into damsels in distress who can’t tell whether or not they’re consenting. That’s not progress, it’s behavior that encourages victim blaming.
If you lied, then you need to apologize. Not to Louis CK, necessarily, though if this is bullshit, that’s certainly in order. You need to apologize to women (and men for that matter) that you’re continuing to marginalize by feigning a scandal because it made a good sound bite. I find this type of behavior to be abhorrent, it makes me shake just thinking about it.
Read the comments on the gawker article and there are women who tell stories of when this has happened to them, not by CK so far as I saw, but by men in their lives, so perhaps it offers some sense of solidarity, but vacuous claims that offer no recourse or retribution do not set any precedent for change. If something happened, push for justice. If nothing happened, admit you lied and fucked up. I don’t think I can say that enough.
I do think feminism is in desperate need of some rebranding, as unfortunately, many people believe it to mean ‘women are better than men’ when all it means is, ‘hey, we’re all human beings and it’s a real shitty thing to overpower and assault someone, and-or marginalize us to the point of thinking our sole value is having sex with you’. Men aren’t the enemy, nor are they exclusively monsters, and we shouldn’t be claiming they are. Has the problem been propagated by men, and if we want to be specific, typically white men, yeah, generally speaking the oppression of women is typically a guy thing. But attempting to gain equality by belittling or slandering the other gender, we’re gaining nothing. It’s this kind of bizarre logic that’s started ass backwards movements like Women against Feminism.
No you’re not. You just don’t like the word, or the way people are using it.
Situations like this are messy and I really don’t know enough to have a fully formed opinion. I do know that if these sorts of allegations have been made against someone I knew (and that has happened) especially if I also knew they couldn’t be true, it leads me to feel equally defeated. I couldn’t defend my friends without seeming ignorant or ironically sexist. That’s bullshit.
Not to mention, should it come to light that something did happen, even by someone I wouldn't believe was capable,( as these things sometimes do), we need to work on eradicating the idea of ‘she wants attention’ by punishing anyone who attempts to manipulate a situation with accusations like these. Any girl who threatens to claim rape is being sexist, assuming that she can use the legal system to bully a man into doing what she wants. Women can be bad people, and they can be hurt badly.
If we are pushing for real equality that means taking responsibility for what we say, and allowing what we say to have gravity and consequence. I don’t even understand the urge to take down a person by accusing them of this kind of behavior if it’s untrue. I do understand being afraid, or confused, unsure how to handle something shitty that’s been done to you. If that’s the case, in this or any other situation, you need to reach out and come to an answer, for yourself and everyone you’ve brought into this with you.
Let me be clear, if you skimmed this: Rape, molestation, assault, these are all heinous things that are unforgivable. But to falsely accuse someone of doing something heinous is equally horrific, not only because you’re tarnishing their reputation, but you’re detracting from the gravity of the real problem, the one we need to be focused on, without doubts cast on victims.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.