Jon Stewart claims he’s ‘stunned’ by Louis C.K.’s sexual misconduct

Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart appeared on “Today” Tuesday morning, mostly to discuss the upcoming “Night of Too Many Stars” special on HBO, but at the end he was asked to address the admitted sexual misconduct by his longtime friend Louis C.K. Stewart said he was “stunned” by all of this and wondered if perhaps he and others could have done more to prevent or stop this (yeah, probably!).

“You give your friends the benefit of the doubt,” Stewart said. “I tried to think of it in terms of, I’ve had friends who have compulsions and who have done things — gambling, or drinking, or drugs — and we’ve lost some of them. Some of them have died. And you always find yourself back to a moment of ‘did I miss something? Could I have done more?’ In this situation, I think we all could have.”

C.K. was originally supposed to be part of the “Night of Too Many Stars” but HBO announced he would be cut from the show in the wake of the confirmed history of forcing women to watch him masturbate.

“So you feel anger at what he did to people,” Stewart said. “Look, comedy on its best day is not a great environment for women. I think it’s gotten better over the years, but certainly when we started 30 years ago it was really difficult and so to do it was an act of bravery in and of itself. The idea that there was this added layer of pressure and manipulation and fear and humiliation, and not just, look, I don’t wanna make this a thing like ‘LOUIE WAS THE ONLY ONE IN THE BUSINESS!’ It’s not. It’s endemic.”

“You get mad at yourself too for laughing it off or thinking, ‘That didn’t happen!'” Stewart added.

Stewart then addressed his appearance on David Axelrod’s podcast last year, in which he brushed aside an audience member’s question about C.K.’s then-rumored misconduct. Stewart, who had C.K. on as a guest for his final appearance as host of “The Daily Show,” said he was just hearing about the rumors for the first time, but assured everyone C.K. is a really great guy.

Stewart still claims that podcast appearance was the first time he heard anything about C.K.’s mistreatment of women, which is why he acted surprised and then joked about it. Stewart went back over his response, saying “Louie’s always been a gentleman to me, which again, speaks to the blindness that I think a man has, which is like ‘Ey! He’s a good guy! What are you talking about?'”

“Digging around in it, finding out what some people had done, it was hard,” Stewart said. “But we were all assured, no. But we took somebody’s word for it, and maybe that’s an error on our part.”

Yes, that is the entire crux of the whole “believe women” thing. Marc Maron, another longtime friend of C.K. also said on his podcast Monday that when he personally asked C.K. about his behavior he was assured it was untrue and they were just rumors. It’s understandable that you want to believe your friend, but at some point you have to accept that you’ve been in some way complicit in all of this.

[Screenshot via NBC]