"When someone shows you who they are, believe them," wrote comedian and podcast host Jill Gutowitz on Twitter. Today, we learned that Louis C.K. allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with five women who went on the record with the New York Times.
Gutowitz then provided us with many examples of C.K.'s jokes and comments over the years that have taken on a chilling, even sinister light because we now know that they weren't really jokes at all — he was using his own alleged misbehavior as material, either to throw us a red herring from the rumors, or to luxuriate in his own alleged misdeeds in a very complicated way.
Here are of some Gutowitz's examples:
This joke was lauded at the time for being "woke" and showing us how C.K. understands complicated gender dynamics. It comes from his "Oh My God" special with HBO.
Here, C.K. was reacting to the rape joke uproar from Daniel Tosh in 2012. C.K. told Jon Stewart that the debate was "a fight between comedians and feminists, which are natural enemies. Because stereotypically speaking, feminists can’t take a joke and comedians can't take criticism."
One of the more disturbing examples comes from the episode of Louie where C.K.'s titular character assaults Pamela Adlon. He grabs her and forcibly prevents her from leaving his house. Finally, she relents and gives him a kiss. This is chillingly similar to the MO of the allegations in the Times, in which the victims felt unable to flee the situation.
It's not feasible to contemplate C.K.'s motives in basing his comedy off of alleged sexual misconduct from his own life. But we do know that when someone tells you who they are, we should pay attention.
Refinery29 has reached out to Gutowitz and Louis C.K.'s representation for comment.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call theRAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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