Jon Stewart reacted to the news of Louis C.K.'s sexual indiscretions on The Today Show Tuesday. Stewart claimed he was "stunned" by the news, but the problem of sexual harassment was an issue that extended beyond just C.K.
"You give your friends the benefit of the doubt," Stewart told Today's Matt Lauer, as per People. "I’ve had friends who have had compulsions and have done things: gambling or drinking or drugs. And we’ve lost some of them. Some of them have died." When this happens, Stewart explained, people ask themselves if there's anything that could have been done to prevent it. Such is the case with Louis C.K. for Stewart — he thinks he could have done more to prevent C.K.'s actions."In this situation, I think we all could have [done more]. So you feel anger at what you did to people."
But this is just the beginning, Stewart said.
"Comedy on its best day is not a great environment for women...so to do it was an act of bravery in and of itself," he explained. "I don't want to make this, like, 'Louis was the only one in the business!' It's not. It's endemic." He added that he had not spoken to C.K. since the Times published its account of the comedian's actions.
The Times piece details five separate accounts during which C.K., who was born Louis Székely, masturbated in front of women who either worked for him or hoped to work for him. Following the revelation, C.K. released a statement of apology. First, he admitted to having sexually harassed the women in the story.
C.K. explains in the statement, "The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly." (The actress Lena Headey criticized the statement as self-aggrandizing.)
Watch the full interview with Stewart on Today, below.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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