In an essay published by Vulture, comedian and actress Rebecca Corry discussed some of the consequences she endured, and continues to endure, for accusing Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct she says she suffered on the set of a TV pilot in 2005. She wrote that some of the fall out has included receiving death threats, online and in person harassment, and people downplaying the severity of a former coworker asking if he can expose himself to her and masturbate in her presence. From Vulture:
Some have said, “He just asked to jerk off in front of you, what’s the big deal?” And I can’t count how many times people have told me, “Well, he did say sorry.” But he didn’t. Admitting what you did, and justifying it with “I always asked first,” is not the same as apologizing.
Corry discussed how members of the comedy community defended C.K., both publicly and privately. In addition to citing Dave Chappelle’s bit attacking C.K.’s accusers in his Netflix special The Bird Revelation, Corry said that friends who publicly postured as feminists stopped speaking to her. From Vulture:
It’s also been heartbreaking to see people I liked and respected lie and defend him. Two close friends I’d trusted and confided in for years, who were at the taping when it happened, refused to corroborate what happened to me in the New York Times using their names. Other friends simply stopped communicating with me. These are the same people I had seen on social media, proudly wearing pussy hats and Time’s Up pins at the Women’s March. Speaking out feels like standing in front of the world naked under fluorescent lights on a really bad day. I knew making myself so vulnerable would bring scrutiny from the outside, but my personal life has also been damaged by my decision to tell the truth.
That said, this experience has also revealed to me who has integrity, and I’m extremely grateful for that. There have been some incredible people who have publicly shown support and voiced intolerance for predatory behavior of any kind.
Later in the piece, Corry makes a great point about the discussion of if and when accused predators can launch redemption tours. Recently, stories have surfaced about accused abusers and harassers like Charlie Rose and Mario Batali already planning career comebacks despite the fact that news of their alleged predatory behavior is only a few months old. For her part, Corry thinks that “comeback” isn’t the appropriate term when it comes to an alleged predator’s second act:
Now I’m being asked if I think C.K. will make a “comeback.” The idea that C.K. reentering the public eye would ever be considered a “comeback” story is disturbing. The guy exploited his position of power to abuse women. A “comeback” implies he’s the underdog and victim, and he is neither. C.K. is a rich, powerful man who was fully aware that his actions were wrong. Yet he chose to behave grotesquely simply because he could. The only issue that matters is whether he will choose to stop abusing women. The Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, and the journalists who cover them, would do well to focus on the people struggling in the aftermath, and less on the celebrities attaching themselves to the movement and salacious clickbait details. Everyone deserves to do their job without fear of being forced into an impossible situation. And no one should ever be attacked or judged for standing up for themselves.
A detail from the original Times report that seems to bolster Corry’s argument is the email she says she received from Louis C.K. apologizing for an incident that didn’t happen to her. From the Times:
In 2015, a few months before the now-defunct website Defamer circulated rumors of Louis C.K.’s alleged sexual misconduct, Ms. Corry also received an email from Louis C.K., which was obtained by The Times, saying he owed her a “very very very late apology.” When he phoned her, he said he was sorry for shoving her in a bathroom. Ms. Corry replied that he had never done that, but had instead asked to masturbate in front of her. Responding in a shaky voice, he acknowledged it and said, “I used to misread people back then,” she recalled.
The call confounded her, Ms. Corry said: not only had he misremembered the incident, which made her think there were other moments of misconduct, he also implied she had done something to invite his behavior.
C.K.’s apology email seemed to suggest that he had acted inappropriately around women so many times that he couldn’t keep what he allegedly did to whom straight. One of the women in the Times piece admitted that she abandoned her dreams of working in the entertainment industry because of harassment she said she endured from C.K. Perhaps we should fully take stock of the personal and professional damage abusers wrought before openly opining on when and how their redemption tour should start.