Did Jen Kirkman out Louis CK’s gross behavior on her podcast last month?
In the ongoing quest to figure out if Louis CK is a disgusting pervert who sexually abuses women, some interesting new information has come to light.
To catch you up, two weeks ago there was a post on Gawker that talked about an alleged email exchange and phone conversation between Louis CK and an anonymous tipster who claimed to confront the comedian about his rumored history of forcing young female comics to watch him masturbate. I questioned the basic reporting of that piece, while still allowing for the possibility that every single thing said in it could be true.
The problem is that, up to this point, everything has been rumors and unnamed sources. Sure, there’s the old saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” but we should all be hesitant to condemn someone based on smoke. About four weeks ago, however, we seemed to get the closest thing to an outright accusation we’ve had on the matter from comedian Jen Kirkman. It just seems that nobody is aware of it or talking about it.
During April 20’s “Bitch, We’re all Madonna” episode of her weekly podcast I Seem Fun, Kirkman discussed sexism and the problems it causes both men and women. She had this to say at around the 31-minute mark:
And then I had another guy who is a very famous comic. He is probably at Cosby level at this point. He is lauded as a genius. He is basically a French filmmaker at this point. You know, new material every year. He’s a known perv. And there’s a lockdown on talking about him. His guy friends are standing by him, and you cannot say a bad thing about him. And I’ve been told by people “Well then say it then. Say it if it’s true.” If I say it, my career is over. My manager and my agent have told me that. They didn’t threaten it. They just said to me “You know what Jen, it’s not worth it because you’ll be torn apart. Look at the Cosby women.” And this guy didn’t rape me, but he made a certain difficult decision to go on tour with him really hard. Because I knew if I did, I’d be getting more of the same weird treatment I’d been getting from him. And it was really fucked up, and this person was married. So it was not good, and so I hold a lot of resentment.
That opening description sounds an awful lot like Louis CK. The man is pretty famous specifically for having new material every year, and anyone with eyes and a basic understanding of film history (or anyone who has listened to or read the interviews where he talks about it) knows that his show and old short films are heavily influenced by the French New Wave.
Kirkman’s reasoning for not coming forward and naming this person are the same given by Gawker’s anonymous source “Jason” on behalf of his female friends. The man is just too powerful. This is also the basic answer for Cosby accusers when they are asked why they didn’t come forward at the time. It’s a perfectly reasonable and legitimate fear, given so many people’s complete unwillingness to believe women who claim they’ve been sexually assaulted by a famous entertainer. (See: Any number of disgusting reactions to the 40-plus women who claim Bill Cosby raped them.)
The shitty reality of the situation, though, is that nothing is going to change unless somebody finally comes out and says something, or this person — who is most likely Louis CK based on Kirkman’s description — somehow gets caught. It would be nice if this person weren’t sexually abusive or would just decide to stop, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, and why would it be?
If it is Louis CK, every time something like this comes out, all that ends up happening is a story that basically says “According to anonymous sources, Louis CK is a gross pervert, but nobody is willing to come forward because they’re afraid of the consequences.” We’re all basically telling him, “Hey, go ahead and keep doing what you’re doing. Nobody’s gonna say shit.” And if it isn’t CK, then whoever it is is probably perfectly happy with everyone thinking it is.
If it turns out Louis CK is fond of sexually misconducting himself around women, then it’s a terrible situation. Of course it’s easy for me to sit here and say someone has to speak up. It’s not my career on the line. I get that. But I also don’t see any other way to make this stop. If all his friends know about this and are protecting him (because, let’s face it, Louis CK being at the top of the comedy world is very good news for his friends), then someone is going to have to come out and publicly accuse him of wrongdoing. It sucks, but how else is anything going to change?
UPDATE 6/2/15: On Tuesday morning, we noticed the April 20 “Bitch, We’re all Madonna” episode was no longer available. We have embedded a free copy that was previously obtained using the download option, which was made available by Kirkman’s SoundCloud account.