Like Kath Barbadoro, I am incandescent with rage that Louis C.K. is getting on with his life and continuing his career despite the fact he did things that were completely abhorrent, acknowledged them when called out, apologized for them, had a movie and several lucrative shows canceled and didn’t work for around eight months. None of this should let him off the hook. He should not be able to just return to a career he is good at.
In her article, Kath writes:
‘When he disappeared from the public eye, his defenders and fans wondered if his career was over. Then he began popping up on stages around New York City less than a year later. Often, he was not on the scheduled lineup, surprising audience members and club employees, some of whom saw his unannounced appearance as another violation of consent.’
This is a valid point. Louis ‘popping up’ in front of audience members is a sad continuation of his penchant for exposing himself regardless of consent given. Also, how dare he attempt to do stand-up again after only a few months? He should have waited the unspoken but generally agreed length of time acceptable after ‘playing a tune on your man pipe in front of an unappreciative audience’, which in my opinion would be never. As a comedian, he is no longer allowed to be found funny (not that I ever found him funny to begin with). Before imbibing humor, every venue should studiously vet each and every performer for past wrongdoings before granting them access to an audience. Yes, indeed they *should* do that… but they obviously care very little for basic human decency.
‘Whether or not C.K. himself will ever abuse anyone again is also beside the point. He assaulted people in comedy clubs. He used his status in that world, along with his money and power, to abuse people working in those clubs with him and then to cover up that abuse. I would not trust a club owner who thinks it’s acceptable to bring him back into that same environment.’
I am disappointed with Kath here, as she is restricting Louis’s ostracization to comedy clubs. If Louis could assault women in comedy clubs, why not restaurants? Why not cinemas? Why not Walmart? Kath explains that he used his status and power to his advantage, but how could we be sure he wouldn’t do the same thing if he became the assistant manager of a Taco Bell? I for one would not feel safe in any establishment that chose to employ him after the abuse he inflicted. There really needs to be a way to keep people who have done wrong from interacting with the rest of society, perhaps one day a system will be put in place, but until then we will just have to keep writing opinion pieces.
With Louis C. K., his reputation precedes him and so he should never work again (and I can’t believe I’m even having to type this sentence), but if the venues cannot be trusted to make sound judgments, what can be done? What is the solution here? Well dear reader, I urge you to hold your hands out in front of your face, palms upwards and gaze at them… for there lies the answer. Go on, look… allow your eyes to appraise the scene in front of them. Have you unraveled the riddle yet? Yes. The solution is in YOUR HANDS (credit to Joan Ryan from Change UK for that devastatingly effective narrative device).
Before booking tickets to see a stand-up comedian, or indeed any entertainer on either a stage or in a movie, it takes mere days (sometimes months depending on how many cast members) to investigate (using the internet, and occasionally a private detective agency) the lives of each performer in order to determine any past wrongdoings. A couple of months ago I had planned to see an amateur dramatic performance of Mamma Mia! at my local City Hall. However, after a thorough analysis of Mr Sanderson (who was playing Colin Firth’s part), I found that in 1989 he’d been caught doing a ‘Pee-wee Herman’ in an adult cinema and so I canceled my ticket. On the night of the show, I protested outside the venue in an attempt to draw attention to the ugly misogyny which pervades the local theater group, and to prevent audience members from entering. After the police were called (ON ME!) I found out it was the wrong Mr Sanderson but I remain resolute.
Until we become more aware of who we choose to be entertained by, people like Louis C.K. are literally getting away with having (doing) their cake (various jobs) and eating (getting paid for) it.