A few days ago, PZ had a post about Louis C.K.’s apology. Like a lot of people, I wasn’t impressed at all. I commented to the effect that there’s a simple test when it comes to the quality of an apology: who is it about? In Louis C.K.’s case, his apology is all about him. That was bad enough, but as it was going to be all about him, he missed some pertinent bits, like all the denials over the years, and the cover-ups. Basically, it amounted to a “poor, pitiful me” in my eyes.
It is actually possible to sincerely apologize and do it well, and Leah Fessler, Annalisa Merelli, and Sari Zeidler show Louis C.K. just how that’s done.
…However, Louis C.K.’s “apology” devolves into an attempt to paint himself as suffering and worthy of sympathy. He says that until the Times report, he did not realize the full extent of the harm he caused women by taking out his penis and masturbating in front of them. He also tries to reduce his culpability by noting that, at the time of his actions, he thought simply asking if it was OK to masturbate in front of women was enough to guarantee consent.
What’s more, Louis C.K. does not mention his attempts to cover up his actions, nor his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the accusations that have been made several times before.
He does, however, make sure to note how “admired” he was, and is, both by the women he harassed, and the comedy industry at large. In fact, he repeats it four times in his statement.
We took it upon ourselves to edit Louis C.K.’s “apology” in order to make it a real apology. This is how we believe it should read:
The edited version is a fine apology, it’s a pity it didn’t come from Louis C.K. You can read the whole thing here.