Louis CK isn't owed a comeback -- he isn't owed anything
"I’m neither surprised nor, in fact, angry that CK is trying to do stand-up again," says Caroline Framke. "He’s a comedian with connections; wading back into the world to see where he might fit is his prerogative. But it’s also our prerogative not to give him the kind of time and consideration that many are insisting he deserves, especially when there are so many others who could use even one of the many chances he’s getting. The idea that there’s some kind of time limit on how long a person who committed sex crimes — which, yes, is the category to which masturbating at someone without their consent belongs — should be out of work is ridiculous. So is the idea that him admitting to it absolves him of having done it in the first place (especially when he only did so after getting called out by the New York Times, after years of denying it). So is the idea that it’s the right and decent thing to do to give him another chance, just because he waited a few months for the sting of his failures to fade." Saying that Louis CK has "suffered enough" makes his story one about redemption, she says, adding: "It minimizes the damage he caused, the women he targeted taking enormous risks to expose it, and the misogynistic rot within the entertainment industry that made it possible at all."
- Louis CK has made his "biased a**hole" standup act extinct now that he's been exposed as a liar, abuser and aggressor: "CK's entire comedy was predicated on the idea that he was a biased a**hole, but an honest one — a person who saw through the bullsh*t routines governing most human behavior, and could cut to a point by way of honesty," says Jeremy Gordon. "But last year’s revelations showed us that he is not an honest person — beyond being a liar, he is an aggressor and an abuser, and thinks he functions above recrimination. The notion that he could so easily return to doing 'typical Louis C.K. stuff' — and that this could even be normal, or fine — is so myopic that only a comedian could’ve come up with it."
- Louis CK's comeback sends a chilling message to victims: "It feels like nothing has changed," says Amy Zimmerman. "For all of the talk of cancelled men and their onerous contrition, it’s the 'heroes' of this movement who have suffered. When coming forward doesn’t lead to total blackballing, it triggers an avalanche of online harassment at the very least. While many alleged abusers have emerged professionally unscathed, accusers find themselves inextricably and publicly linked to their trauma. Survivors scroll through an endless minefield of potentially triggering content, and women are reminded every day that they live and work in systems that enable abusers and render women expendable. What does bearing witness to all of this accomplish, aside from depressing the sh*t out of the witnesses?"
- "The ability to drop in to do a set at a comedy club is a privilege given only to the most famous figures in comedy," says Dana Schwartz. "Louis CK is attempting to re-enter the comedy world by means of the same power structure that allowed him to abuse women for so long. And making it a surprise set, in which the audience may not have been ready or willing to see an admitted sexual harasser with an empty stage and the amplification of a silent room and a microphone, has the slimy feeling of Louis CK flaunting that power again."
- Kathy Griffin slams CK's comeback, saying "The Boys Club won again": "You know how many talented women and (people of color) comics are knocking on doors trying to get some time in front of audiences or powerful people in this business? And Louis just gets to glide back in on his own terms? Gosh, does it payoff to be in the boys club..the white boys club."
- Padma Lakshmi listed people funnier than Louis CK who haven't harassed women: "Not falling for this Louis CK 'triumphant return' narrative after years of him humiliating women who worked for & with him," she tweeted.
- Louis CK's comeback is a "workplace safety" issue: “Can you imagine the bank you're working at hiring back the guy who jacked off in front of women without their consent because it had been like, a year or something?” asked Ian Karmel, a stand-up comic and Late Late Show with James Corden writer. “It seems so obvious that we shouldn't let these people back into our communities without them putting in a lot of work to get better.”
- "What does it mean that CK’s ovation began before he even started his set?" asks Rebecca Traister. "It means he got applauded just for being Louis CK. Which, he might recall before he gets off on that too much, is exactly the reasoning that kept women from gaining any traction when they reported their experiences with Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose...Literally just being the powerful man is enough to get you a whole lot in this f*cked up world."
- "No one deserves to perform. Fame is not a birthright": "Even beyond the realm of criminal adjudication, there’s no reason for the public to believe the comedian has spent nine and a half months atoning for his misdeeds," says Hannah Giorgis. "He has not, as far as it is known, taken part in any sort of restorative- or transformative-justice process, a form of victim-centric community accountability that de-emphasizes court involvement. It is impossible to know what CK has spent the interceding months pondering while tucked away in his home, but publicly the comedian has done nothing to inspire confidence in his commitment to making amends...CK's August reemergence springs from the same well of self-aggrandizement as his lackluster November statement."
- Michael Ian Black apologizes after backlash over his Louis CK defense: "I hear all of your voices and I'm really sorry to have upset so many of you"
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