Louis C.K.: Too soon for a return?
A surprise set in New York
“Louis C.K. could not have chosen a worse possible way to stage a comeback,” said Dana Schwartz in EW.com. The superstar comic had been in seclusion since admitting to multiple incidents of masturbating in front of horrified female comedians in dressing rooms and other private settings. Just nine months after his misconduct came to light as a result of the #MeToo movement, C.K. re-emerged for a surprise set at a New York comedy club before a “possibly unwilling audience.” By forcing people “to watch him perform,” C.K. only proved he’s “completely oblivious” to what he did wrong in the first place. C.K.’s victims endured more than just humiliation, said Rebecca Traister in TheCut.com. His handlers threatened to destroy their livelihoods “when they dared to reveal what he had done.” They’re hardly alone. Many women’s careers were ruined because of the aggressive predations of Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, who were shielded for years by circles of enablers. Now all these creeps are planning comebacks. Do any of them “have such unique talents that we cannot live without them”?
Look, I understand “the frustration some seem to feel at the inability to appropriately punish Louis C.K.,” said Sonny Bunch in FreeBeacon.com. But there’s something disturbing about “the urge to purge.” Let the free market decide whether he and other alleged offenders return to their professions. “If you don’t want to see Louis C.K., you don’t have to see Louis C.K!” Even if he makes a surprise appearance at a club and you’d rather not see him “work out his problems onstage,” you can get up and leave. But some people feel compelled to “force everyone else” to live as they would.
For most people who have done something wrong, “there is a path to redemption,” said Roxanne Gay in The New York Times. But Louis C.K. hasn’t taken it. He has “done little in the way of public contrition,” other than take a brief hiatus. Sexual harassment and abuse leave deep, enduring wounds. If C.K. wants “restorative justice,” a good start would be financially compensating his victims for lost career opportunities and paying for their “mental health care as long as they need it.” Justice in “the court of public opinion” shouldn’t be determined “for the sake of the offenders, but for the sake of the victims.” ■