In a new interview with GQ, Sarah Silverman talks a lot about how she wants to approach people who disagree with her politically, both on her show I Love You, America, and on social media. She used to shock people with rape jokes, and now she's doing it with compassion for red staters and trolls. And also for her somewhat radioactive friends, Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, and Al Franken.
"People are very sure about what is right and wrong until it comes to their front door,” Silverman says in the interview, referring to her continued friendship with C.K.
After several women, including her own sister Laura, came forward to reveal that the comedian masturbated in front of them without their consent, she opened an episode of her Hulu series with a monologue about him. "I love Louie, but Louie did these things," she said on the show. "Both of those statements are true. So, I just keep asking myself, can you love someone who did bad things?"
The answer, at least for Silverman, is yes. While she maintains that what C.K. did was reprehensible, she also argues that he has changed as a result of the scandal.
"There are people that just deny everything they're accused of and they continue to be the politicians or the filmmakers that they are," she explained to GQ. "And there are people that come and say, 'I'm guilty of these things, and I'm wrong, and I want to be changed from this. And yet those are the ones that kind of are excommunicated forever."
Silverman also expressed compassion for another comic, Ansari, whose alleged sexual misconduct during a date sparked huge debate about consent earlier this year.
"Hopefully he's dealing with things, looking inward, and will blossom from it," Silverman said.
The man she defends most adamantly in the interview is former Senator Al Franken, with whom she's been close since her one season on Saturday Night Live.
"I believe in my heart of heart of hearts he never copped a feel," she said. "He's a Jewish grandpa. He gives you big, Jewish, wet-lipped kisses. This is a guy whose passion was serving people and making the world a better place."
The Franken quotes are the only time Silverman comes close to dismissing women's #MeToo claims, but she is honest about her biases. Hers is one more dilemma many face as we continue to have these conversations about harassment, assault, and consent – especially if it involves perpetrators (male or otherwise) we know and, perhaps, once loved and respected.