Jen Kirkman now says she wasn’t calling Louis C.K. a perv after all
Speculation against Louis C.K.’s alleged inappropriate sexual behavior towards women has been floating just below the surface of public conversation for a few years now. But, this week, one of the women who bolstered those suspicions just clarified that she wasn’t talking about Louis C.K. after all.
Jen Kirkman told the Village Voice that her original comments in 2015 about a “very famous comic” who is “lauded as a genius” and a “known perv” were not actually about Louis:
“There are rumors out there that Louis takes his dick out at women. He has never done that to me. I never said he did, I never implied that he did. What I said was, when you hear rumors about someone, and they ask you to go on the road with them, this is what being a woman in comedy is like — imagine if there’s always a chance of rain over your head but [with] men, there isn’t. So you go, ‘Should I leave the house with an umbrella, or not?’”
That does not quite match up with the comments Kirkman said on a podcast in 2015, which most people took to be about Louis, since she was afraid to name him directly:
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.
Kirkman deleted the podcast episode since she said people kept misinterpreting it (but a copy can be heard here). She told the Voice:
“I’m the one that opened it up by doing that dumb podcast, and I thought people would understand the nuance of what I was saying, and they didn’t. So I brought it on myself. And then I deleted the podcast, not because Louis paid me off, but because it was causing so much attention.”
Kirkman’s statements now come at a peculiar time, after the rumors — no one has publicly accused Louis — reared up again in an interview with Tig Notaro, who said Louis needs to “handle” the allegations already. Notaro’s show “One Mississippi” features a scene where Notaro’s character is forced to watch a man in power masturbate in front of her in a workplace — a scene allegedly inspired by the Louis allegations.
Later in 2015, Kirkman went on the Nerdist podcast and spoke more about the anonymous “known perv” comedian, saying:
There are certain things where you’re hanging out with someone and then you’re like ‘Oh, shoot. They’re gonna creep on me for a second.’ And then as a woman you can go, ‘Hey. No.’ And then they’re like ‘Sorry,’ and you’re like ‘Okay, bummer, you creep me out.’ But then I have to take into consideration, ‘Do I want to go on tour with this person?’ Probably not. Are they gonna rape me? God, no. I just don’t wanna have to deal with, you know, you have a drink after the show — ‘Hey, do you want to make out?’ ‘No!’ Like a puppy dog. Get away, no. I just don’t want to have to do that all the time. Sometimes being a woman is an extra thought in your day, like, ‘Do I need a sweater?’ That’s it.
It is a little tough to know what to make of all this situation now in light of Kirkman’s de facto retraction; but it is also still understandable why, if all this is still true, women wouldn’t come forward to accuse Louis directly and risk putting their careers on the line.
Kirkman went on to tell the Voice:
“Sometimes there’s nothing there. I think this might be a case of there’s nothing there. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, and if any women want to come forward and say what he’s done, I’ll totally back them, because I believe women. But I just don’t know any.”
So that leaves the question: If Kirkman wasn’t talking about Louis C.K. when she mentioned a “genius” comic who puts out new material every year, who was she talking about?