By now, we know the story of how comedian and filmmaker Louis C.K. masturbated in front of a number of women. If you’ve somehow missed it, last Thursday the New York Times ran a piece about the five women who have publicly accused C.K. of sexual harassment. Louis C.K. admitted to the harassment, and the comedy community has been trying to address it.
Sometimes that hasn’t gone well. Late-night hosts like Stephen Colbert and Conan O’Brien have been criticized for not saying more, perhaps because C.K. is a friend. (Colbert got his start on The Dana Carvey Show, where C.K. was the head writer; C.K. also was one of the first additions to the writing room at the beginning of Late Night With Conan O’Brien.)
Sarah Silverman is another friend of C.K. — though in tonight’s episode of her weekly Hulu talk show, I Love You America, she addresses the situation head-on. In her monologue she says C.K. has been one of her best friends for over a quarter-century. And as she delivers her monologue, she seems on the verge of tears having to talk about what a horrible thing her friend did.
Here’s what Silverman says:
This recent calling-out of sexual assault has been a long time coming. It’s good. It’s like cutting out tumors — it’s messy and it’s complicated and it’s gonna hurt, but it’s necessary and we’ll all be healthier for it. And it sucks, and some of our heroes will be taken down. And we will discover bad things about people we like, or in some cases people we love. Let’s just say it, I’m talking about Louis.
I’ve, of course, been asked to comment. And in full honesty, I really, really, really don’t want to. I wish I could sit this one out. But then I remembered something I said on this very show — that if it’s mentionable, it’s manageable.
She explains that she’s still processing things and her opinion could change tomorrow, and she’ll “keep [us] posted.” She talks about how C.K. abused the immense power he had in the comedy scene — and how some of his victims even left comedy altogether.
Silverman also addresses the desire to talk about the good things C.K. has done — but, as she immediately points out, it’s irrelevant.
And then she cuts to the crux of the situation — reconciling your friendship with the facts that they’re an abuser:
I love Louis. But Louis did these things. Both of these statements are true. So, I just keep asking myself, “Can you love someone who did bad things? Can you still love them?” I can mull that over later, certainly, because the only people that matter right now are the victims. They are victims, and they’re victims because of something he did.
So I hope it’s OK if I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad. Because he’s my friend. But I believe with all my heart that this moment in time is essential. It’s vital that people are held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are.
We need to be better.
We will be better.
I can’t fucking wait to be better.
Watch the Sarah Silverman Louis C.K. monologue below: