The New York Times dropped a report Thursday in which five women accused Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct.
Three women said he masturbated in front of them, one said he masturbated over the phone with her and another said he asked her to watch him masturbate and she declined. All five of the women were comedians or colleagues.
The women all had similar stories. Comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov said that in 2002 they were excited when C.K. invited them up to his hotel room for a drink during the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. But then they said he asked if he could take out his penis, and when they laughed it off, he disrobed and masturbated in front of them.
The women told the Times that they heard C.K.’s manager, Dave Becky, was angry at them for telling people about the incident. Becky told the Times in an email that he “never threatened anyone.”
In 2003, performer Abby Schachner called C.K. to invite him to one of her shows. She said she could hear him masturbating on the phone.
Comedian Rebecca Corry said that when she was working with C.K. on a television pilot in 2005, he asked if he could go into her dressing room and masturbate in front of her and she said no, pointing out that he had a daughter and a pregnant wife.
Courteney Cox and David Arquette, who were executive producing the show, confirmed the incident to the Times. “What happened to Rebecca on that set was awful,” Cox said.
A fifth accuser, who was anonymous, told the Times that in the late ’90s, when she was in her early 20s working on “The Chris Rock Show” with C.K., he repeatedly asked her to watch him masturbate. She said she went along with the request. Another anonymous colleague confirmed that the woman told him about the incident at the time.
Lewis Kay, C.K.’s publicist, told the Times, “Louis is not going to answer any questions.”
Earlier Thursday, C.K. canceled the premiere of his new movie, “I Love You, Daddy,” just hours before it was supposed to take place in New York.
Rumors of sexual misconduct have swirled about the comedian. A source told The Hollywood Reporter that the premiere was canceled in case the Times story, which had not yet dropped, was damaging to C.K.’s reputation. C.K. was also set to appear on the “Late Show” with Stephen Colbert on Thursday, but William H. Macy will take his place. Macy was originally set to appear on Friday.
C.K. wrote, directed and stars in “I Love You, Daddy,” and the dark comedy has stirred controversy because it highlights a romance between a 17-year-old girl and a 68-year-old filmmaker rumored to have molested a child. C.K. plays the teenager’s father, who is a successful TV writer and producer. His character tries to stop the relationship between his daughter, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, and the filmmaker, played by John Malkovich. Other actors include Pamela Adlon, Rose Byrne, Charlie Day, Edie Falco and Helen Hunt. C.K. financed the film himself and quietly shot it over the summer.
In September, the film was very divisive at the Toronto International Film Festival because of how politically incorrect it was. It still landed one of the biggest buys of the festival, a rumored $5 million.
That same month, C.K. told the Times of the sexual misconduct chatter, “They’re rumors, that’s all that is.” His colleague, Tig Notaro, said in an August interview with the Daily Beast that C.K. should address the rumors, though she did not directly say anything about the allegations.
“I think it’s important to take care of that, to handle that, because it’s serious to be assaulted,” Notaro said. “It’s serious to be harassed. It’s serious, it’s serious, it’s serious.”
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