About Gawker’s probe for Louis CK masturbation victims

On Friday, Gawker published a piece about Louis CK and his alleged history of sexual misconduct. Feel free to read it and get a better idea of what I’m about to talk about here, but the short version is that the comedian has supposedly pulled his dick out and jerked off in front of unwilling female comedians on several different occasions.

This rumor has been around since at least 2012, but Gawker’s latest article revolves around emails from a source who they only identify as “Jason” (presumably not his real name). Jason claims to have emailed CK about his penchant for pleasuring himself in front of female comics, and CK allegedly responded by asking to speak with Jason on the phone. I say “allegedly responded” because there is no hard evidence that indicates the person emailing Jason is indeed Louis CK. Here are the screengrabs of the email conversation:

Jason says that his phone call with CK wasn’t particularly helpful. From the Gawker article:

He characterized their conversation as stilted and non-substantive. His interpretation was that C.K. was “sizing me up” to “find out what I had heard.” Jason left the conversation under the impression that the two would speak again soon. In the four or so months since, they haven’t.

Let me start out by saying I am by no means outright dismissing these claims. There is no part of me that sees that and thinks it can’t be true. I know it absolutely can be. People are awful, and famous funny people are obviously no exception. My issue with all of this is the lack of anything truly solid to go off of.

What we have here is an anonymous source who may or may not have emailed Louis CK, and then may or may not have had a phone conversation with him. We have zero details about the actual content of the phone call. We also don’t have anyone outright and publicly accusing CK of assaulting them.

This is from Gawker’s own article about an alleged incident from 2012:

When we contacted the victim to check out the story, she wrote back: “first of all, your facts are wrong. and secondly, i don’t want to be a part of this story. i’m sure you understand.” When we asked her which facts were wrong and if the incident ever happened at all, she wrote: “please don’t contact me about this matter anymore. Breast of luck to you.”

Could that be the response of someone simply terrified that if they speak out their career might be over? Absolutely. But it could also just as easily be someone saying that the information we have is just flat out wrong.

I’m also somewhat irked by the timing of Gawker’s latest article. Louis CK is set to host the season finale of SNL tonight, which I assume is what prompted the posting of this piece. I don’t see what else it could be. By their own admission the emails from Jason came months ago, and you can see the timestamp in the images dating them back to January. So why not run it then? It seems like it’s because there’s a total lack of true evidence here. This just seems like a convenient time to kick up some dirt and hope for some clicks.

I don’t and never have worked for Gawker so all I can do is speculate, but I would imagine if they had felt like they truly had something back in January or February or anytime since receiving those emails, they would have run with it. It’s not like this was uncharted territory. The Bill Cosby rape scandal was going on at the same time (and continues to this day). It’s one thing to take down a former giant, but Louis CK is at his most powerful right now. If the opportunity to take him down had truly presented itself, I can’t imagine Gawker or any other publication would have ignored it.

Of course, I’m fully aware that all of this might be true. As I said earlier, I’m not completely denying the possibility. I certainly hope it’s not true. Not just because I think Louis CK is funny, but on a very basic human level I would prefer to live in a world where nobody was ever sexually assaulted.

Maybe this comes off as me looking for an excuse to turn a blind eye to the misdeeds of a well-liked performer. I don’t think that’s the case though. I’ve criticized CK before when everyone else seemed to just gobble up whatever he told them. I was very openly critical of his response to the Daniel Tosh rape joke controversy.

As a brief reminder, when that whole thing was going on he tweeted to Tosh “your show makes me laugh every time I watch it. And you have pretty eyes.” People rightfully assumed this was CK taking Tosh’s side in the debate. CK then appeared on The Daily Show and said that when he sent that tweet he was on vacation and had no idea about the rape joke thing. People chuckled, believed him, and nothing more was said about it. I said it then and I’ll say it again: That’s fucking bullshit. He knew what was happening. He just wasn’t prepared for the backlash from the tweet, which, by the way, he ended up deleting.

I realize I went off on a tangent there, but my point was that I’m not just someone who blindly believes every single thing Louis CK has to say. I just don’t know what to think of the claims of sexual assault when all we have are unsubstantiated rumors and unnamed sources.

[Gawker | photo: Publishing Perspectives]