By Philippa Baines
An open letter to Louis CK
I can’t imagine your penis.
I knew about the rumors for a while. You stayed quiet. Given your love of jerking off in your stand up, I had a horrible feeling it was likely. Now it’s out and you’ve admitted to masturbating in front of four female comedians without their consent.
It reminds me of ‘Rome’ by Kurt Vonnegut, a story about a little girl with a successful Dad. She looked up to him and he meant the world to her. Dad then got caught embezzling billions of dollars, escaped to Brazil, leaving her behind. He never came back.
The difference between this story and yours is significant. You can’t compare the scandals. But that feeling of having a hero who totally lets you down is similar. You were a little ray of hope in the world and that light is shattered.
In the past, you’ve championed women in your comedy. That was refreshing. Your work with Pamela Adlon was brilliant. Your show ‘Louie’ presented us as people, which is more than a lot of male comedians have done. What the hell happened to make you think masturbating in front of these women, without consent, is ok?
I can try and understand what they went through. When an idol of yours does this. It’s a mixture of fear, confusion and just sadness at how much of a hypocrite you’ve been.
Some see you as another Cosby or Weinstein. Online everyone likes to polarize. You’re not all good but you’re not all bad either.
I hope you support groups working to empower women in comedy and beyond.
I hope you don’t dive somewhere and never resurface.
We’ve all done terrible things. It’s what we do after that counts.
Sure it will take some time, but I’d love to see you walk through this fire, come out the other side with a new show about your experience. And your penis tucked in.