The New York Times released a damning report Thursday detailing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against comedian Louis C.K., who had disputed rumors of such troubling behavior for years, most recently in September.
The report included accounts from five different women who described various incidents of alleged sexual harassment by the comedian, born Louis Székely.
The comedian’s publicist, Lewis Kay, told the Times in an email, “Louis is not going to answer any questions.” HuffPost has reached out to Kay for comment and will update this post accordingly.
Two women, the comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, described an encounter that took place in 2002. The women said Louis C.K. invited them to his hotel room after one of their performances. As soon as they sat down, the women said, Louis C.K. asked if he could take his penis out of his pants.
“He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating,” Goodman told the paper, adding that they were “paralyzed” by the encounter.
Both women said they told others about the incident the day after it happened and they “could already feel the backlash.” They claimed that Louis C.K.’s manager Dave Becky wanted them to stop sharing the story, and they told the Times they felt they had been warned to stay quiet. Becky denied threatening the women in any way.
Another woman, Abby Schachner, said she could hear Louis C.K. masturbating while she was on the phone with him in 2003. The call, she said, quickly became “unprofessional and inappropriate.”
“You want to believe it’s not happening,” she said, adding that she “felt very ashamed” because of the incident, as she looked up to Louis C.K.
Comedian Rebecca Corry told the Times that Louis C.K. asked her if he could masturbate in front of her in 2005, while the two were appearing on a television pilot together. She declined his advances.
The show’s executive producers, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, caught wind of the misconduct. Both actors confirmed the incident to the Times.
“What happened to Rebecca on that set was awful,” Cox said in an email to the outlet.
The fifth woman shared her story anonymously. She described an alleged encounter that took place in the late ’90s while she was working in production at “The Chris Rock Show.” Louis C.K. was a writer and producer for the show at the time.
The woman claimed Louis C.K. repeatedly asked her to watch him masturbate. She did what he asked but questioned the behavior, telling the Times, “It was something that I knew was wrong.”
“I think the big piece of why I said yes was because of the culture,” she continued. “He abused his power.”
One of the women’s former co-workers confirmed to the Times that she had told him about the incident after it happened.
The damaging report was released just after the New York premiere of Louis C.K.’s film, “I Love You Daddy,” was canceled. In the film, the comedian plays a father whose teenage daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz) seemingly becomes the romantic interest of a much older man. After it was released last month, Jezebel and The Mary Sue both described the trailer as “uncomfortable” to watch.
Reps for the New York premiere said the event was canceled due to “unexpected circumstances,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. However, a source told the outlet the cancellation was a preventive measure in case the Times published a damning report.
The comedian’s scheduled Thursday appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” was also canceled. He has been replaced by William H. Macy, THR reports.
HBO said on Thursday that Louis C.K.’s past projects will be removed from its website. HBO also confirmed that the comedian will no longer participate in the “Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites For Autism Programs,” a benefit airing on Nov. 18.
Rumors surrounding the 50-year-old comedian’s alleged misconduct picked up steam after Tig Notaro told The Daily Beast in August that Louis C.K. had to “handle” them. In response, the comedian brushed off the rumors, telling The New York Times in September, “They’re rumors, that’s all that is.”
Stories connecting the comedian to alleged sexual misconduct first began swirling back in 2012, when Gawker ran a post about an unnamed male comedian who liked to masturbate in front of women.
Several commenters on the article claimed the item was a now well-circulated rumor about Louis C.K. — though his friend, comedian Doug Stanhope, claimed to be at fault in a Facebook post. (Several Facebook users left comments saying they believed the “blind item” was about Louis C.K.)
In 2015, Gawker published a story detailing allegations of mistreatment of women by Louis C.K. A tipster told the outlet he knew two women who were mistreated by the “Louie” star and said it seemed the comedian was “sizing me up” to “find out what I’d heard” during a subsequent phone conversation.
The source said that one of his female friends claimed the comedian “had come up to her at a comedy club, grabbed her by the back of the neck, leaned into her ear and said, ‘I’m going to fuck you.’”
Louis C.K. told Vulture in 2016 he didn’t care about the Gawker piece. “That’s nothing to me. That’s not real,” he said.
In 2016, Roseanne Barr told The Daily Beast she had heard “so many stories” about Louis C.K.’s mistreatment of women. Barr admitted later in the interview that she had no firsthand knowledge of any incidents.
Discussion of sexual assault in Hollywood is at the forefront after The New York Times published a bombshell article detailing decades of sexual abuse accusations against Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein.
More than 40 women, including Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Lupita Nyong’o, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
Women have also been coming forward with accusations against other men in the industry, including Harvey’s brother Bob, Just for Laughs festival founder Gilbert Rozon, actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck and Amazon Studios head Roy Price.