UPDATE: Louis C.K.'s statement said: 'These stories are true.' It did not say: 'Sorry'
By Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch
The comedian drew widespread condemnation for his inappropriate sexual conduct
Louis C.K. issued a statement in response to the allegations of sexual misconduct outlined in The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/arts/television/louis-ck-sexual-misconduct.html) on Thursday. C.K. is a comedian who knows how to sell out a show at Madison Square Garden in New York and the apology appears to have been written by himself, rather than publicists or lawyers. Still, many critics believe it falls short of an actual bonafide apology. For a start, he uses the word "d***" twice in his statement. (C.K., who is known for his often profane comedy, did not use asterisks.) More than that, his statement did not include two little words: "I'm sorry."
He wrote, "These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my d*** without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your d*** isn't a question. It's a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions."
C.K.'s statement was a lengthy examination of his own psychology. "The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions. And I've tried to learn from them. And run from them." Nor did C.K. actually ask for forgiveness from the five women who came forward to tell their stories. Instead, he said it would be hard to forgive himself: "There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am."
Others have fared better. Comedienne Kathy Griffin admitted that she badly misjudged a stunt in which she posed with a fake bloody mask designed to look like the head of President Donald Trump. As the backlash was gathering momentum, Griffin posted an apology on Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB) that read, "I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong," with a video, in which she says (https://twitter.com/kathygriffin/status/869703678550171648), "I went way too far." She added, "I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake and I was wrong." (She has since rolled back that apology, however.)
For his part, C.K. waited for The New York Times story to hit before releasing his statement, but the statement came within 24 hours of that story. (C.K. had been asked about rumors that he liked to masturbate in front of women in recent months, but he declined to answer them.) "The most important thing is speed," says Andrew Ricci, vice president at Levick Communications in Washington, D.C. "If you wait too long then anything you do is going to seem insincere." Anything more than 24 hours is not regarded as effective or real, he says.
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An apology should make no excuses, Toronto-based marketing consultant Evan Carmichael says. "Make it personal, and recognize your role," he says.
Whether or not C.K.'s statement went far enough may be a moot point, given that the reaction to these stories has been severe. One week before the planned opening of his ilm, "I Love You, Daddy," distributor The Orchard said it would not release the film. The Orchard reportedly paid $5 million for the film at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and had scheduled a Nov. 17 opening, MarketWatch reported earlier (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hbo-cuts-ties-with-louis-ck-fx-troubled-following-sexual-misconduct-allegations-2017-11-09). He was also dropped from an HBO (TWX) comedy fundraiser for autism. The show was called, perhaps portentously, "Night of Too Many Stars."
-Quentin Fottrell; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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11-10-17 1532ETCopyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.