Louis CK: just stop and go away, OK?


You’ve probably already heard about Louis CK’s mea culpa. I’m unimpressed.

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.

Thank you for reading.

My reactions:

  • He confessed that the accusations were true. That’s good. This might have been a great statement if he’d said, “These stories are true. I am sorry.” FULL STOP.

  • 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. See? He should have stopped before this. That was just stupid. Sure, he asked. They said NO. I’m gonna go ask this guy in front of me at the airport for his wallet, and if he says no, I’m just going to take it anyway. Asking first makes it OK.

  • I don’t care if you have power over a person or not, asking them to look at your dick is just plain weird. I have no power over this guy with the wallet in front of me, I’m not going to put on a penis puppet show for him, against his will. Because that would be wrong.

  • How often is he going to tell us how admired he is? I’ll remove that source of guilt from him, at least: he’s not admired anymore.

  • He only learned yesterday how much he hurt people? He should have been able to figure this out before he inflicted his kinks on others. To claim now that he was unaware of the wrongness of his actions is bullshit.

  • He wishes that he’d reacted by being a good example to them as a man. OK. Please understand, then, that he’s been a poor example of a man, and should shut up about how he was admired. That admiration was undeserved.

  • The only people who deserve any sympathy here are his family, friends, children, and wife. And his victims. He can self-flagellate all he wants, it’s not going to win him any pity.

  • He’s going to listen. Great. Listen to this: go away. Louis CK has disgraced himself and his work, and I for one don’t need to hear any more about him.

I don’t accept the Christian principle that an admission of contrition is sufficient to absolve someone of bad behavior. It requires real change. I don’t see what Louis CK is going to do to be a better person, and I doubt that he’s going to adopt a quiet life of faithfulness to his family and respect for others — he’s tasted the heady waters of power over others and used it for self-indulgence. I’ll believe he’s a changed man when he shows it, but not when he practices a written form of exhibitionism.

Comments

  1. Mark Jacobson says

    The terrible thing is, I think it’ll work. It won’t surprise me if years down the line his overall public image is not only undamaged by this, he’s incorporated it into his comedy routine. Opening by asking his audience if he can masturbate in front of them or something.

  2. weylguy says

    I’m no fan of the guy but, having come up short of rending his clothes and covering himself in dust and ashes, I think he’s set an example for all those other powerful bastards out there. It remains to be seen if he really changes, but to denounce him for coming clean (so to speak) is reprehensible.

  3. iiandyiiii says

    One of the better apologies from a public figure I’ve ever seen, but the bar is so low for that that this doesn’t mean much. The best I can say is that he’s no shittier a person than he was yesterday.

  4. monad says

    The terrible thing is, I think it’ll work.

    It well might. Right now, Louis CK stands out as one of the better reactions to the accusations against him, not because it was actually good but because of just how awful examples others have given.

  5. kupo says

    This might have been a good apology if he’d acknowledged what he did wrong, but he didn’t. In fact, he seems to think it’s perfectly acceptable to ask someone you barely know to engage in a sexual act. Not only that, but the people he was asking were colleagues, there to work with him. And on top of that, the sex act only provides pleasure for him. No, that’s not okay. It’s intrusive and I can guarantee you part of the thrill for him is in imposing that image in the minds of the people he asks. Because there’s no way someone asks you that question and you don’t immediately picture it. This is gross and unacceptable and he’s clearly not sorry for doing it.

  6. malachiconstant says

    I really don’t see what was wrong with that statement. He admitted he did it, admitted that his status immunized him from being called out, openly recognized that he had hurt people, and said he would “step back and listen”.

    I don’t think his talk about how he was “admired” was some kind of Trumpian bragging, he was recognizing why it was difficult for the women to come forward.

    What is your goal here? To make any identified sexual abuser disappear or to change the culture’s attitude toward sexual abuse? This seems like a fine initial statement to me.

    (I’m done with ever watching any Louis C.K. stuff, though. Fuck that guy)

  7. says

    Malachiconstant @6 The goal is to criticise someone who indulged in coercive and reprehensible behaviour, and who just possibly might be lying his head off. Alas, anyone who has lived for any length of time among the macrocephalic apes who call themselves “wise” will have seen multiple instances of insincere apologies for behaviour that is returned to sooner or later. If he is insincere, then we need to remind ourselves to keep an eye on him if/when he makes a comeback, and keep an ear out for anyone vulnerable who might enter his sphere. And if he is sincere, then he needs to be reminded, no backsliding.

    Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent [..]

    This bit here is problematic all by itself. It is difficult to conceive how he could have thought that what he was doing was okay, and failed to monitor himself for coercive behaviour, not to mention how he suddenly realised in just the last few days and decided to turn his life around. It’s not impossible, but seems a little trite and script-following. I think we’re right to cast dubious eyes on the statement.

    If he’s sincere then let him demonstrate it.

  8. malachiconstant says

    Oh, I’m with you as far as criticizing him as a big pile of crap and especially seeing how he behaves in the future. My experience leads me to be completely done with him. If he reforms, then good for him, if he doesn’t it’ll be another demonstration of a liar trying to cover up his terrible behavior. Either way I’m done with him. I just don’t see the problem with his statement (except the “I learned yesterday…” bit, which points to a lack of regular self-examination)

  9. pipefighter says

    @5 kupa. The problem isn’t that he barely knew them. People have one night stands all the time. The problem was the incredibly creepy nature of everything else about it.

  10. gijoel says

    An apology is an acknowledgement of the wrong you have done and a promise that you won’t do it again. Nothing more or less. The rest of his statement is an exercise deflection.

  11. Michael says

    I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with you. I thought it was a pretty good apology. If he did just say “These stories are true. I am sorry.” FULL STOP. then he would be criticized for not acknowledging his actions, or being remorseful enough, etc.
    With regard to your points:
    – I think the implication was that he got permission first, not that he asked and did it anyway
    – the problem of dick pics would suggest that this is not an uncommon mindset (I don’t disagree with you, I think it is weird)
    – being “admired” put him in a position of power, so he is acknowledging taking advantage of that
    – the preceding sentences explain that this is not a sudden revelation. What yesterday referred to was realizing how much worse it was for his victims than he thought.
    – he was admired as a comedian and writer
    – the previous paragraph referred to the victims that he hurt, and indirectly the people he worked with.
    – what is wrong with listening? He’s apologized and saying he is going to shut up.

    No I am not defending him, and I think what he did was terrible. I’m just critiquing your criticism of his apology. Feel free to critique my response.

  12. methuseus says

    @irene:

    You have to look at the context. E.g., the stuff Ijeoma Oluo calls out here: https://twitter.com/IjeomaOluo/status/929114930531336192

    I am ashamed to say that, even as much as I have avoided L CK in the past because of the allegations, I didn’t think about this until I read that tweet. Yes, it is because of my white male privilege (no sarcasm about this term) that I don’t always realize these things without being hit over the head with them. I thank you and Ijeoma Oluo for making me see this, and I will try to see things like this without prompting in the future.

    Thank you.

  13. microraptor says

    I’d be more convinced of the sincerity of this apology had it come before the accusations became public and if it had simply consisted of an admission of wrongdoing without a lot of extra qualifiers or ramblings about his career.

  14. snuffcurry says

    An apology ought to be a complete one, and he’s left out at least another victim and of a separate crime beyond dick-showing, whom he needn’t name or otherwise identify, of course. And has been amply discussed here and elsewhere, he contributed to an atmosphere that was intensely hostile to the mere possibility of victims, meaning that they had to overcome much more additional wariness and fear than they need to have in speaking to NYT. And then he rubbed everyone’s nose in it, over and over again, as he joked about likening men to animals and girls and women to prey, as he used rape in a storyline about a character finding a girlfriend, as he made a film about… well, whatever I Love You, Daddy purports to be about, apart from Woody Allen fan-fiction, why “rumors” about men are always bad, why self-described feminists are failures, and how inconvenient daughters are to their fathers.

  15. lotharloo says

    I’ll have to be honest: I don’t think at this point apology is enough and it should never be. Apology could be a start but it has to be backed up with real change.

  16. aziraphale says

    “I’ll believe he’s a changed man when he shows it”

    You mean, by not offending? How will you know? The media won’t tell you.

  17. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Re OP:
    I -~agree and also note that it was proper for him to list his “transgressions” and acknowledge them as mistakes that he rationalized at the time and now recognize as “Assaults”. Being able to make such a list is a necessary step in the process of rehabilitation, to simply STOP after “I was wrong” might not accomplish anything.
    Been there.

  18. says

    aziraphale:

    You mean, by not offending? How will you know? The media won’t tell you.

    Nice of you to leave victims out. They spoke up before, what makes you think they won’t speak up again?

  19. mikehuben says

    I see an awful lot of black and white thinking here. Lots of Two Minutes Hate. That, and fisking of his apology for nits like “yesterday”.

    I see a number of good things in his apology.
    * He vindicates the claims of the victims.
    * He gives a feminist explanation of how he had power/privilege over the victims.
    * He explains that the victims still suffer more than he does.
    * He extends the list of victims beyond merely the complainants.
    * He intends to try to do better.
    * He intends to listen.
    * He is setting a better standard for apology than other pricks have.

    I see a few things that I could criticize.
    * He says nothing specific that could open him to lawsuits.
    * He did not acknowledge his previous defenses against the accusations.
    * He does not even suggest any way of making things right with his victims.

    As I see it, that gives him a 70% mark, roughly.

    It would be unreasonable for him to say “these stories are true, STOP” because that gives accusers a free pass to change and expand their stories. Not to mention then innumerable people would want a fuller, more informative acknowledgement and apology.

    Yes, his future actions will be telling: he can’t do that this instant.

    So, how would you suggest he could improve his apology meaningfully? Please: short of suicide or abandonment of his career.

  20. says

    I’m a bit confused by this first point:

    This might have been a great statement if he’d said, “These stories are true. I am sorry.” FULL STOP.

    If the apology were actually written that way, it would not be remotely satisfying.

    I think we always pore over these apologies and find something wrong with them, and opine on how they could have been improved. But the fact is someone’s done a terrible thing, and they did it repeatedly to multiple people over the course of many years, there just isn’t any arrangement of letters that would make up for it. And that’s a good thing. I don’t think someone who is sufficiently eloquent–sufficiently educated in the art of apology–deserves any more forgiveness.

  21. anonymous3 says

    I don’t accept the Christian principle that an admission of contrition is sufficient to absolve someone of bad behavior.

    That’s not a Christian thing, it’s a Protestant thing. Catholics believe an act of contrition is necessary. That’s why penance is a thing. The theology behind it isn’t that God won’t forgive you if you don’t do penance; it’s that if you are actually contrite it will show through in your actions. Catholics get a lot of shit from Protestants over the practice of penance.

    Of course, if you look at the Catholic heirarchy’s lack of penance over their abuse scandals, using Catholic theology, they clearly aren’t sorry for what they did.

  22. says

    That’s not a Christian thing, it’s a Protestant thing.

    You better hurry up and tell all the protestants they aren’t christian.

  23. Saad says

    When my reputation and earnings were jeopardized, I realized what a bad thing I did. For over a decade while I was in my 30s and 40s, I did not know it was a bad thing.

  24. Dave Grain says

    Number 24. Caine, you are incorrect. What anonymous3 said was analgous to saying “that’s not a Minnesota thing it’s a Minneapolis thing”. A subset (protestants) can display a behavior which is uniuq to them and not displayed by the entire population (christians).

  25. rabbitbrush says

    Read what Melissa McEwan has to say about Louis CK’s apology. She’s been writing about this shit for years.

    People want me to give a pat answer to the question: What should sex predators who get caught do to make things better?

    There’s no good answer to that question because they can’t….

    There is no “fix it after the fact.” There is only not sexually abusing people IN THE FIRST PLACE….

    And if you can’t sit easily with the reality that there’s no good course for Louis CK right now, good. You shouldn’t. You should sit in that discomfort and then use it to motivate you to fight sexual abuse….

    Because the truth is, who cares if Louis CK doesn’t have an easy path right now, right? We want a clear path for abusers so that we can go back to not paying attention.

  26. robro says

    It’s not the worst thing he could have said, which is deny then accuse and vilify victims, which we’ve seen plenty of. It’s the second worst.

    Instead of the simple “It’s true and I’m sorry,” as PZ recommends, he gives us nearly five hundred words about himself (“I” or a variant appears nearly 50 times). As Caine asks at #19: Who is this apology about? I think the answer is clear: Lewis CK. He even continues his explicit exhibitionism in the second sentence. No one needed a recounting of the creepy thing he would do, but there it is for all of us to see. Put it back in your pants little boy, and run along until you can grow up.

  27. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    mikehubin @21:

    It would be unreasonable for him to say “these stories are true, STOP” because that gives accusers a free pass to change and expand their stories.

    Why would his victims change and expand their stories? Are you saying that “bitchez lie” all the time about sexual harassment, assault, abuse and rape? Are you claiming that he went into detail because, otherwise, those evil women will make things up to make him look even worse and, at the same time, increase their victim cred? I really hope not.

    Apologize, try to make amends, be a better person. The apology should be about the person who has been harmed, not the offender.

    If my rapist had used the Louis CK apology format, he would have apologized for raping me (and any others who had spoken up (but not the rest)) and then spent multiple paragraphs explaining why he knows it is wrong now (Louis and my rapist, both adults when it happened, had to know what they were doing was wrong at the time they were doing it — this was not an epiphany), and then talking about his career, his family, his profession, his church activities. In other words, the apology that Louis CK made was about Louis CK and not the women he victimized.

    As for contrition and absolution, I am (for many reasons) the absolutely wrong one to make any comment on that beyond this.

  28. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    mikehubin @21:

    It would be unreasonable for him to say “these stories are true, STOP” because that gives accusers a free pass to change and expand their stories.

    Why would his victims change and expand their stories? Are you saying that “bitchez lie” all the time about sexual harassment, assault, abuse and rape? Are you claiming that he went into detail because, otherwise, those evil women will make things up to make him look even worse and, at the same time, increase their victim cred? I really hope not.

    Apologize, try to make amends, be a better person. The apology should be about the person who has been harmed, not the offender.

    If my rapist had used the Louis CK apology format, he would have apologized for raping me (and any others who had spoken up (but not the rest)) and then spent multiple paragraphs explaining why he knows it is wrong now (Louis and my rapist, both adults when it happened, had to know what they were doing was wrong at the time they were doing it — this was not an epiphany), and then talking about his career, his family, his profession, his church activities. In other words, the apology that Louis CK made was about Louis CK and not the women he victimized.

    As for contrition and absolution, I am (for many reasons) the absolutely wrong one to make any comment on that beyond this.

  29. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Trying again. If this is multiples, blame me for being unable to figure out comments.

    ========

    mikehubin @21:

    It would be unreasonable for him to say “these stories are true, STOP” because that gives accusers a free pass to change and expand their stories.

    Why would his victims change and expand their stories? Are you saying that “bitchez lie” all the time about sexual harassment, assault, abuse and rape? Are you claiming that he went into detail because, otherwise, those evil women will make things up to make him look even worse and, at the same time, increase their victim cred? I really hope not.

    Apologize, try to make amends, be a better person. The apology should be about the person who has been harmed, not the offender.

    If my rapist had used the Louis CK apology format, he would have apologized for raping me (and any others who had spoken up (but not the rest)) and then spent multiple paragraphs explaining why he knows it is wrong now (Louis and my rapist, both adults when it happened, had to know what they were doing was wrong at the time they were doing it — this was not an epiphany), and then talking about his career, his family, his profession, his church activities. In other words, the apology that Louis CK made was about Louis CK and not the women he victimized.

    As for contrition and absolution, I am (for many reasons) the absolutely wrong one to make any comment on that beyond this.

  30. says

    There are some people in these comments who think it was a fine apology and we should cut him some slack. These people seem to have something in common, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

    (I may be wrong about one or two, but I suspect I’m not.)

  31. ragarth says

    I think it’s reasonable in a specific way. He explains his rationalizations at the time and says they were insufficient. By doing so, maybe this will be preventative for others who might try to use those same rationalizations. In that sense, his apology can be seen as an attempt to craft a cautionary tale for other would be abusers.

  32. llyris says

    I agree with Ragarth @30, though I might have said it a little differently. I think there are people (men) who will see themselves in this. Who are definitely guilty of coercion, or who justify to themselves that women really want it or it isn’t that bad because whatever, or whatever their excuse is. As much as we want to say you just shouldn’t do it in the first place, I think this might get through to some people precisely because it speaks the justifications, says ‘oops I was wrong about that’ without making him into a bad person. No matter how bad a person someone is, you don’t change behaviour by calling them a bad person.

  33. Ewout says

    What stands out to me is that for an apology, there’s no a single instance of the words sorry or apology in it.

    The impression it leaves is something along the lines of “I had to do this to have any chance of a future career, but I didn’t like it or really wanted to do it”.

  34. Ichthyic says

    As I see it, that gives him a 70% mark, roughly.

    and how many points do you detract for the part that wasn’t even addressed in this OP?

    the part where CK lists all of the projects he’s been involved with in his “apology”, as nothing more than a CV saying “see? I did lots of good things!”

    that you even think you COULD give someone like this a “percent rating” is laughable.

  35. Ichthyic says

    It’s not the worst thing he could have said, which is deny then accuse and vilify victims,

    actually, he already TRIED THAT. It didn’t work, so here we are.

    really.

  36. David Richardson says

    Louis CK should follow the example of John Profumo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Profumo

    “Shortly after his resignation [for sharing a mistress with the senior Soviet naval attache when he was Minister of Defence] Profumo began to work as a volunteer cleaning toilets at Toynbee Hall, a charity based in the East End of London, and continued to work there for the rest of his life.”

  37. robro says

    Ewout — What do you mean? At the beginning of the third paragraph he says he has been “remorseful”…which is a $25 word to obfuscate “I’m sorry.” Given his use of the past perfect progressive verb form, I suppose he’s no longer remorseful.

    In any case, he isn’t apologizing. He’s rationalizing. He’s also mansplaining.

  38. irene says

    It won’t surprise me if years down the line his overall public image is not only undamaged by this, he’s incorporated it into his comedy routine.

    He already has. From http://www.shakesville.com/2014/06/on-louie-again.html, which includes a description of an episode of Louie, “When Louie gets home, Pamela is asleep on his couch, and he stands over her, looking at her. She sleepily mumbles that she is awake and asks him not to jerk off on her.”

  39. Mark Jacobson says

    @31 Ilyris

    Heaven forbid bad people get called out for what they are. After all, they’re the real victims. /s

  40. tacitus says

    #38: Given his use of the past perfect progressive verb form, I suppose he’s no longer remorseful.

    That’s a bit of a reach. More likely, what he’s trying to say is that he’s had remorse for his actions in the past — i.e. he was remorseful at some point after what he did, but before he was publicly exposed. It’s not uncommon for people engaged in dysfunctional behavior to be ashamed of what they’re doing even as they continue to engage in it.

    To be honest, I’m not sure why anyone is even expecting to see the perfect apology from any of these people. No only is it virtually impossible for those in position of power and influence who have been engaging in this type of behavior for years to suddenly pivot, rationally analyze (correctly), and then abase themselves in public, there’s the question of how much legal and financial trouble they can find themselves in by doing it and, by extension, how much it would hurt their families.

    The quality of any apology is always going to be relative to the severity of the offense and the amount of legal trouble they are in. Assuming there isn’t a lot more out there, Louis CK is looking at a handful of lawsuits, a long road back (if he even tries) at most, so his apology is probably about as good as it gets. Weinstein, on the other hand, is facing spending the rest of his life in prison, so all we’ll get from him is deny, deny, deny, until the day he’s before the judge to be sentenced (one can hope).

    The best thing Louis CK can do now is to call each of the women he’s abused and give them a full apology. If he does that, at least he would have acknowledged that the apologies are more important than the risk of triggering lawsuits against him. From there, it’s a case of either disappearing for good (always an option — he’s not indispensable to show business, after all) or working long and hard (and publicly) to earn back the trust of the women he betrayed.

  41. chigau (違う) says

    tacitus #41
    The best thing Louis CK can do now is to call each of the women he’s abused and give them a full apology.
    No.
    He should give them all of his money and then go clean toilets.

  42. kupo says

    @pipefighter # 10
    I might not have stated my point well. I mean that you don’t just go straight to asking someone if they’ll engage in a specific sex act with you. First you must establish whether they’re open to any sexual relations with you. And even then, someone you hasve a working relationship with is not typically the appropriate person to broach that subject with.

  43. robro says

    chigau @ #42 — Winner!

    tacitus @ #41 — Maybe you’re overthinking the “past perfect progressive verb form.”

  44. snuffcurry says

    @ragarth, 30

    In that sense, his apology can be seen as an attempt to craft a cautionary tale for other would be abusers.

    But what it cautions against is not getting caught. He had ample time to admit to this before anybody but his victims knew, or when the rumors were swirling for many years. Only after he had no other choice did he do this, only admitting to part of it, minimizing the rest, and pretending to take the high and noble route while doing so. It’s dishonest. It’s disheartening to victims of people like him that his first and secondary concerns are himself and his career (which he plugs) and that he’s being praised for that.

  45. snuffcurry says

    @21

    I see an awful lot of black and white thinking here. Lots of Two Minutes Hate.

    And I see from you wounded, masculine hyperbole. No one is mindlessly shouting pejoratives. People are calmly analyzing the situation. That they’re finding the subject of their observations wanting is not indicative of a failure on their part, but his. Would it kill the men writing here to be honest about their motivations, and stop impugning those of others?

  46. robro says

    On the subject of outing yet another creep, this one running for public office: CBS News and others are reporting that a former colleague of Roy Moore’s has stated that it was common knowledge that he dated teens.

  47. Matrim says

    Yeah, not buying the apology. It’s not the worst written thing in the world, but anything good there is entirely undercut by his actions. The fact that he didn’t come forward BEFORE everything blew up indicates that he wasn’t particularly remorseful (or, at best, he was not remorseful enough to do so). And the further fact that he actively tried to discredit his victims and bury the accusations is even more damning. Actions speak louder than words, and his actions say he didn’t care until it started affecting his livelihood.

  48. llyris says

    @Mark Jacobsen 43.
    That isn’t what I said and isn’t what I meant. Do you want to stop harassment and rapes or do you just want to go around calling people names? Because telling people they’re just bad people only makes them defensive. Sure, it might make you feel better. I said this ‘apology’ might get through to people because it speaks to the justifications some men already habitually use. No man sees himself in ‘You’re a bad person’ but many can see themselves in ‘but she didn’t say no’.
    Everyone wants bad behaviour called out. But I also have interest in stopping the bad behaviour that hasn’t happened yet.

  49. says

    It’s not really an apology. Sure, it contains the words “I have been remorseful” (actually, read again. There are very few words that actually express being sorry), but he then goes on to explain how really he was just ignorant. You know, like a well meaning kid feeding a dog chocolate.

    The people he names when talking about “pain” is his family.

  50. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Because telling people they’re just bad people only makes them defensive.

    Your argument rests on this unevidenced assertion. Anecdotally, I can think of a number of instances where being told they were a bad person lead to reflection and a change in behaviour. Hell, it’s happened to me.

  51. snuffcurry says

    No matter how bad a person someone is, you don’t change behaviour by calling them a bad person.

    Sure, it might make you feel better

    You yourself, llyris, appear to be overly invested in making abusers feel better at the expense of justice and the truth. Why shouldn’t victims of abuse feel good, knowing that part of the world unconditionally supports them and condemns their attackers? This turn of events — where victims are given a slightly more generous but still unsatisfactory portion of the benefit of the doubt — is, in fact, highly unusual, almost unprecedented. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy this moment, because it’s unlikely to last. And, no, that’s not because someone called someone else a meaniehead. Grow up. Stop making ridiculous excuses for abusers.

    Nobody has to lie in order to placate an abuser’s feelings. There’s nothing to suggest that compulsive serial abusers can be “changed” by other people’s language choices and it’s both unfair a project doomed to failure to burden strangers with the task of rehabilitating anti-social creeps. “Bad” doesn’t have to be permanent; it’s a choice people like Louis CK made over and over again, in secret, because he already knew what he was doing was “bad” and wanted to continue behaving as such without consequence. Finally, if being called “bad” is such a terrible ordeal, then fear of it must also function as a deterrent. So, in future, if people want to avoid the “bad” label, they can well stop behaving in ways that justify the characterization.

    No man sees himself in ‘You’re a bad person’

    You obviously know nothing about professional comedians, who live and die by the ability to make their masochism and self-hatred appear entertaining and endearing to strangers. Also, exhibitionists often crave elaborate, humiliating displays of disgust on the part of their (willing or otherwise) audience, so, again your reasoning for why we can’t calls ’em like we sees ’em is faulty and divorced from real people.

  52. ragarth says

    @48

    Oh I’m not praising him for it–What would be praise worthy is understanding that people are people before treating them like objects in the first place. I just think it’s good fodder to hammer other self-absorbed idiots with. If I had the money or the platform, this would be a great quote for use in an online PSA or commercial.

  53. says

    No matter how bad a person someone is, you don’t change behaviour by calling them a bad person.

    You know what, I’m sick of that shit.
    I’m a high school / middle school teacher and yes, everyday I engage students whose behaviour is bad. And yes, I just criticise their behaviour, I give them a metaphorical smack on the wrist, then I turn around and engage with them on a friendly and respectful level, without a grudge or anything for several reasons:
    -I’m a paid professional and that is exactly my job.
    -They’re kids. They need adults to give them guidance about what’s right and what’s wrong.
    They’re kids. Their moral development hasn’t reached peak yet.
    -They’re kids who are supposed to learn something in my class and making them feel bad is bad for learning.

    What you keep demanding is that we, many of us victims of this predatory behaviour, act like we were trained and paid professionals who treat grown ass men like little kids because as usually, the burden is on us. Heavens forbid we let our hurt or anger show, then it’s our fault if they don’t change. It’s basically the wife-beating husband script.

  54. Vivec says

    Truth be told, I don’t think any apology could possibly be sufficient for what he did. Giving up all his cash and scrubbing toilets would be a start, but I’d still think he’s an asshole.

  55. Mark Jacobson says

    @53 Ilyris

    Someone who is unwilling to accept they’re a bad person isn’t really willing to change. Like snuffcurry @56 says, “Bad” doesn’t need to be permanent. Trying to “trick” them into changing by playing them on their own terms doesn’t actually help anyone, and as Giliell @58 points out, it shifts the burden of responsibility.

  56. llyris says

    Giliell , Snuffcurry, Fossilfishy. There is a huge difference between calling out bad bejaviour and calling someone bad. Giliell, if you teach kids and can’t tell the difference then I call your professional abilities into question. There is plenty of evidence that calling students bad people has negative outcomes. Telling them they are doing bad things is a very different thing. That doesn’t really change. Grown men still don’t react well.
    I’m not invested in making people feel better and I’m not invested in excusing celebrities for being bad. I’m interested that the the arseholes I had to deal with in my 20’s who were convinced that coercion, peer pressure, or just pulling it out by surprise were all fine ‘because reasons’ might recognise those excuses AND STOP DOING IT. Because calling those people bad people doesn’t work. They have a million reasons why they are not as bad as someone else. Saying ‘I thought it was ok to pull it out and wave it around but actually that isn’t ok’, it won’t work for the Weinsteins of the world but it has a chance with the 20 year olds. And that is why I won’t condemn C.K’s statement. But you guys, you don’t see that the statement is not the behaviour. I’ll condemn his behaviour while refusing to condemn the statement.

  57. says

    Ilyris
    I can’t decide if you suck at reading or suck at constructing a strawman, as the things you allege are the opposite of what I said.
    Yeah, there is a difference between criticising the deed and criticising the person.
    Yet about a decade of saying “this is sexist” and being met with “you are calling me a sexist” from grown men has pretty much convinced me that it is small to useless.

  58. snuffcurry says

    But you guys, you don’t see that the statement is not the behaviour.

    That’s not for you to say. The statement itself is bad, another example of his bad behavior. It lacks some of the common elements of a sincere, effective apology offered in good faith. You can stay silent about all that. No one else is obligated to do so and no one has to accept the responsibility you’re trying to lay on us for future abusers. You’re the one providing cover for them.

  59. Ichthyic says

    Giliell, if you teach kids and can’t tell the difference then I call your professional abilities into question.

    LOL

    there needs to be a phrase that describes delusional armchair quarterback scolds.

    or is there already and I missed it?

  60. Curious Digressions says

    I’m disappointed. I’d heard he’d released a good apology. Granted, it’s better than the usual stain that these people come up with, but it’s still not super. A good apology doesn’t make everything better, but it can show that it won’t happen again. I think a good apology should say:

    1) I did this thing.
    2) The thing hurt you.
    3) It hurt you for this/ these specific reason.
    4) I was wrong to hurt you.
    5) I specifically apologize for the harm I caused.
    6) These are the specific things I’ve learned or will do to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

    He hits 1, 3, 4, and 5. He soooort of references 2 and 6. His choice to use “was admired” as the source of the power imbalance is dodgy. A more accurate statement would be “had enough influence to negatively impact their professional future with any expression of casual disdain”.

    Unfortunately, statements like these that are released as apologies aren’t just apologies and confuse the issue. They’re also a sales pitch to fans and others in the industry to say, “please don’t blackball me. I can be good, I promise.” Having more than one purpose necessarily makes for a weaker apology.

    @ Giliell: You were very clear about how you treat students. You sound like a great teacher.
    @ Ilyris: Why should adults expect that strangers treat them with the same consideration as kids for whom an adult is professional or personally responsible? If you expect that level of support, you’ll need to hire a life coach. Expect to pay a high consulting fee.

  61. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Ilyris:

    No man sees himself in ‘You’re a bad person’ . . .

    Really? So, if I am not a man, I am, what? Not human? Not a person?

  62. says

    Ilyris:

    No man person sees himthemself in ‘You’re a bad person’ . . .

    Fixed that for you. So no one sees themselves in “you’re a bad person”? Really? What does that make me? I don’t consider myself to be a good person; I’m all too aware of all the bad contained in me. I do try to minimize it at every turn, and that’s a lot of fuckin’ work, let me tell ya. When I fuck up, I work to correct myself and make amends where I have hurt someone else; if someone else tells me “hey, that’s a shit thing to say/do/think” I take that on board, I don’t dismiss. People wouldn’t say something like that unless it was necessary.

  63. says

    “To claim now that he was unaware of the wrongness of his actions is bullshit.”

    I feel the same way when people use this argument. I just don’t believe that they don’t know it is wrong.

  64. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    ParaLess @70:

    I feel the same way when people use this argument. I just don’t believe that they don’t know it is wrong.

    There are some people for whom the argument that they were unaware of the wrongness of the action is a valid explanation. A child who has been groomed by a rapist, told that this is what men do, and then assaults a woman or a girl, for instance. A young man who has been trained up in the idea that women always say no even when they want it is an another example. So there are limited instances in which this may be true.

    For Louis CK? I doubt he had those exculpatory extenuating circumstances. He knew.

    Probably.

  65. Saad says

    llyris, #61

    And that is why I won’t condemn C.K’s statement. But you guys, you don’t see that the statement is not the behaviour. I’ll condemn his behaviour while refusing to condemn the statement.

    But the statement has issues too.

  66. Saad says

    There are several bad parts of his statement, but this is the one that reeks of insincerity:

    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.

    No. He was in his 30s. In your 30s, you know that’s inappropriate and shouldn’t even cross your mind.

    And it’s not just about having “power over a person”. Unless you are already in a agreed upon pre-arranged sexual/medical situation with someone, asking them to look at your dick is never okay.

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