Here They Come Again
August 28, 2018 11:36 AM   Subscribe

While the #MeToo movement has had success with unveiling abusers in the media, there has been a question about the long term, with the individuals involved looking to return to public life. Writing forJezebel, Anna Merlan reports on the wave of trial balloons being floated by those that had been named as abusers and the pressure being placed on the movement to "move forward". (SLJezebel)
posted by NoxAeternum (276 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 


So, there was one line that struck me as being an improper metaphor:
For his part, Dworman made the argument that’s become familiar by now: while some audience members might have been unpleasantly surprised to see CK—one person reportedly called the club to complain on Monday—“There can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong.”
So, if we're going to equate this to legal proceedings (which is bullshit, but I digress), a better analogy is a judge holding someone in civil contempt for not obeying their order - and in that case, the penalty is indefinite until the individual complies.

When these individuals actually show some actual fucking contrition about being abusers, then - and only then - will we discuss letting them back in. Until then, they can go fuck off.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:42 AM on August 28, 2018 [91 favorites]


If we need a sharp metric, let’s say 30 years out of the public eye after a full and frank apology specifically to the women affected (it can run concurrently with any civil or criminal penalties). Let’s make some room for talented non-abusers.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:43 AM on August 28, 2018 [15 favorites]


Ugh. This kind of privilege is staggering.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:44 AM on August 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


One of the comments in the posted article had a link to this excellent essay about one critic's decision to stop watching movies made by abusers, which had this excellent point:
When we think about asshole geniuses and whether or not they should continue making their art, we rarely consider how much better art could be if fewer assholes were allowed to make it.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:59 AM on August 28, 2018 [129 favorites]


this would be a good opportunity for a comedy club heckler to really seize the moment and shine
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:59 AM on August 28, 2018 [60 favorites]


@michaelianblack: I'm saying I'm happy to see him try because I think it's important to figure out how we move forward.

How about ... without him? I mean, that would be okay.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:08 PM on August 28, 2018 [53 favorites]


I'm in agreement that it wasn't the right call for him to do a set at all - I feel like 10 months seems a disrespectfully-short amount of time to do the reflecting and learning he promised he'd focus on, but I also don't think making jokes about traumatizing women would have been a good look either, which seems to be Tompkins' main objection - that his set wasn't "about" what he'd done.

That said, in a way, everything Louis CK says for a while will be "about" it in the sense that it's always in the background. His ethos now includes that he exploited his power to traumatize women and that's a part of everything he says, whether it's part of the logical content or not. That he doesn't seem to understand that, or is hoping we don't compounds the problem.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:08 PM on August 28, 2018


We can move forward without the fallen figures. For fuck's sake, there are more funny and talented people in the world than we could ever fully utilize. Even without the harassment stuff, it would probably be good to lay aside established people periodically to give new growth a time to shine. Would the world be any worse if Louie never released more comedy? No, not remotely because there will be more great comedy released in a year without him than anybody will ever be able to consume.

In general we should probably go ahead and just work on removing that level of prestige and power and influence from any individuals. What benefit is there to it and think of how much more could fill any perceivable void?
posted by GoblinHoney at 12:11 PM on August 28, 2018 [52 favorites]


The world is full of talented artists who never get a single chance at a large audience. Giving assholes multiple chances is wasteful.

[On preview, what GoblinHoney said.]
posted by eotvos at 12:13 PM on August 28, 2018 [20 favorites]


If we need a sharp metric, let’s say 30 years out of the public eye after a full and frank apology specifically to the women affected (it can run concurrently with any civil or criminal penalties).

Ashley Nicole Black has the math: "The answer to “but how long should [insert male celeb who sexually assaulted multiple women] have to wait before he gets his career back?” UNTIL EVERY WOMAN WHOSE CAREER HE RUINED TO KEEP HIS ASSAULTS SECRET GETS HERS BACK, plus the # of years she had to wait. That’s just math."
posted by gladly at 12:15 PM on August 28, 2018 [165 favorites]


I'd like to ask what the general consensus is for how this wide and deep swath of public figures, whose received accusations spread a wide spectrum, is supposed to move forward. Sometimes in the din of 2018-style public discussions where everyone has a loud and valid opinion, I wonder if outrage is the actual end result rather than positive cultural change in a genuine attempt to curb this behavior going forwards.

If I'm not mistaken C.K. admitted to wrongdoing shortly after accusations were made and explicitly apologized. He has been out of the public spotlight for nearly a year. I can't imagine that a fair continuing sentence would relegate the remainder of (what little is left of) his career to joking about his harassment accusations. Although I hesitate to use the word "fair" in this context, given that there were no criminal charges what is left to do? Banish him to the outside of the city walls?

I don't like to ask these questions, especially not on metafilter, because I don't think we are at a place yet where "moving forward" is part of the discussion. People are still angry. And as a person who would rather engage other humans than demonize them oftentimes I don't feel like I or people like me are welcome on Metafilter. This place is very toxic sometimes even when the discussion is about trying to enact positive change. I'd like some shared opinions on the healthiest way to consider individuals that didn't have criminal charges as a result of their misconduct, but those are rarely seen here.

People make mistakes and they change and grow. I worry we would be remiss to punish everyone equally simply because they were tagged with the same hashtag. Individuals that consider themselves educated have a responsibility to not disregard nuance as a critical part of the conversation.

OK, I have said my centrist peace. I am prepared to be blown away!
posted by fieldcannotbeblank at 12:15 PM on August 28, 2018 [23 favorites]


The very notion that some path to redemption "has" to exist is fallacious. I said the same thing about Al Franken -- suppose he has to spend the rest of his life making a living in boring jobs rather than his dream career. That's exactly how life works for the majority of humans! (And also for Americans specifically.)

Would that be a "punishment"? Only from the vantage point of a kind of post-scarcity fully-automated luxury etcetera, wherein everyone's basic needs have been fulfilled so now we get into the nitty-gritty of who merits the special status that is public celebrity. Otherwise... eh.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:15 PM on August 28, 2018 [86 favorites]


@michaelianblack: I'm saying I'm happy to see him try because I think it's important to figure out how we move forward.

The crazy thing is that not three days previously, Michael Ian Black was promoting a lecture in NYC about how to eradicate toxic masculinity.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:15 PM on August 28, 2018 [29 favorites]


but I also don't think making jokes about traumatizing women would have been a good look either, which seems to be Tompkins' main objection - that his set wasn't "about" what he'd done

Louis CK's entire brand is the "uncomfortable comic truth-teller" in the mold of Pryor or Carlin, so unless he reverts back to the absurdist one-liners with which he began his career some 30 years ago, I don't really see the point of him carrying on without addressing that massive elephant in the room.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:19 PM on August 28, 2018 [31 favorites]


Louis CK got a standing ovation from a random crowd that didn't attend in anticipation of his act. Who is this "we" who will come to a decision about his and others' atonement? Maybe fellow headliners and the managers of prominent clubs will make an ethical judgment, but the audience is there.

This whole Person X takes a time out for Y period and then comes back and talks about what they learned rings hollow because we live in a society that does not care. We're not a fundamentally different place. It's still the same world that knew about Louis' and others' behavior for years, aided and abetted and ignored and profited off of it.

What does it mean for Louis CK to go away? I keep hearing he should go and do something less public. As though abuse doesn't happen everywhere there's a power differential. As though wealth and prominence has ever been a reward for good behavior, miserable jobs a punishment for bad.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:19 PM on August 28, 2018 [10 favorites]


Funny this should come to light today. I've just recently found out that the person who assaulted me, who I didn't report, assaulted a friend of mine in much the same way (though less "successfully") just a few months later. I've been feeling incredibly guilty and terrible and just running all the calculations I did at the time over and over and over. But it doesn't really matter, does it, because all he would have had to do was wait a few months after a vague apology, and he would have been right back in the same place with the same access to vulnerable young women. If this is going to be our conversation, why even bother?
posted by ChuraChura at 12:22 PM on August 28, 2018 [65 favorites]


Boo hoo, so sad. Path to redemption? Why? Why would anyone think they deserve a chance at that? Because they are famous? So? I honestly do not understand.
posted by agregoli at 12:25 PM on August 28, 2018 [22 favorites]


the problem isn't, so much, IMHO, that people like Louis CK are gonna creep back into comedy clubs and start doing their shtick again. they can't be stopped, and it seems like a waste of time to dream up unenforceable extralegal social punishments.

the problem is the people who thought #MeToo was overblown to begin with who are in a position to give these guys their careers and fame back with their consumer dollars.

you could roll up every abuser into a big katamari ball of suck and launch it into the sun, and that would be a good start, but we'd still be left with a massive problem of quiet, polite, nonviolent misogyny permeating our culture. what the fuck do we do about that?
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:26 PM on August 28, 2018 [26 favorites]


Is there a write up somewhere of what exactly Louis CK did & when?

LMGTFY
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:27 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


Shit, my bank and the software companies I buy from ask me my consent all the time. I'm sure that makes everything they do A-OK.

"Consent" isn't fine print you check off the list before you whip out your junk.
posted by pykrete jungle at 12:27 PM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


[One deleted; KGBG, this stuff has been gone over a lot; if you want to know the backstory it's better to go seek that out before jumping in with a skeptical "maybe it was a misunderstanding" take.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:28 PM on August 28, 2018 [18 favorites]


The "redemption" discussion treats it like these public figures just received a "time out", and their spots and fame are just on hold temporarily. That these guys are entitled to return to the spotlight.

Bullshit. None of these people are going to be living on the street because they're no longer going to be doing comedy specials/on daily news shows/starring in a tv series. Give someone else who hasn't done this shit the chance to take those spots.

If these guys want redemption, then let them actually do some serious work and find their own ways.
posted by evilangela at 12:28 PM on August 28, 2018 [30 favorites]


If the accused are still alive and breathing, and were not found guilty in a criminal court of a prosecutable crime and as a general rule some people are still uncomfortable with this individual, then some people ought to be comfortable calling a Spade a Spade and admit that social media has caused a regression from Trial by Jury to Trial by Public Shaming, rule of law secondary. And if that's how we want to live, that's 100% okay. But we should be honest about it.

Its absolutely frightening to think that rose petals aren't extended to declared enemies after they have exhibited serious intent to reflect on their behavior and improve themselves going forward. And I'm saying this as someone who has been sexually assualted. Maybe I am more forgiving than my neighbors.
posted by fieldcannotbeblank at 12:28 PM on August 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


The crazy thing is that not three days previously, Michael Ian Black was promoting a lecture in NYC about how to eradicate toxic masculinity.

Seems like the thesis is “don’t talk about it.” Presto! It’s gone!
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:31 PM on August 28, 2018 [6 favorites]


don't really see the point of him carrying on without addressing that massive elephant in the room.

Maybe? If he could pull a Pryor and make his inner journey the subject of the jokes without sounding like he was trivializing the subject matter BUT even if he'd been able to pull that off I think I (and probably a lot of other people) would've felt like it was too soon.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:31 PM on August 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


I mean, Louis CK literally drove women out of comedy. What could "reflection" possibly do to make up for that? I don't think it's too much to ask that he use his 10 months of reflection to pick a job that doesn't encourage him to take out his power fantasies on his colleagues.
posted by muddgirl at 12:31 PM on August 28, 2018 [68 favorites]


Yeah, as usual my centrism is incorrect and Metafilter is right. Sorry. Let me dust off my pitchfork.

We will never improve relations with bad people if we refuse to treat them like people. This is is evident as much in our War on Terrorists as it is in #metoo. Keep lines of dialogue open, or the enemy will breed and brood in a non-evident manner.
posted by fieldcannotbeblank at 12:34 PM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


He has been out of the public spotlight for nearly a year. I can't imagine that a fair continuing sentence would relegate the remainder of (what little is left of) his career to joking about his harassment accusations. Although I hesitate to use the word "fair" in this context, given that there were no criminal charges what is left to do? Banish him to the outside of the city walls?

This argument misses the point - we are not obliged to provide him with a career in the public spotlight. In fact, we have every right to say "What you did is reprehensible, and until you can demonstrate true contrition for your actions, society wants nothing to do with you."
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:34 PM on August 28, 2018 [46 favorites]


cichlid ceilidh: What does it mean for Louis CK to go away? I keep hearing he should go and do something less public. As though abuse doesn't happen everywhere there's a power differential. As though wealth and prominence has ever been a reward for good behavior, miserable jobs a punishment for bad.

Sure, and also the sun is going to explode in five billion years. So like what's the point of anything, yo.

Less flippantly: Yes, this problem is systemic and societal. It's weird to downplay particular remedies, though, and that's in part because the system is made out of particles.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:35 PM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


Speak for yourself, he recieved a standing ovation! People have very different opinions all across the board.
posted by fieldcannotbeblank at 12:36 PM on August 28, 2018


admit that social media has caused a regression from Trial by Jury to Trial by Public Shaming, rule of law secondary

You say this like these are necessarily exclusive of one another. We can have a strong desire to see Louis C.K. tried in a court of law and feel that he should be shamed by the public. Nobody owes it to him to provide the career he had before he ruined it for himself by hurting a lot of other people whose lives and careers will never be made whole.
posted by tocts at 12:36 PM on August 28, 2018 [49 favorites]


If the accused are still alive and breathing, and were not found guilty in a criminal court of a prosecutable crime...a regression from Trial by Jury to Trial by Public Shaming, rule of law secondary

Louis C.K. admitted he did the things he was accused of doing. There's not really a question here of unproven claims, in this case.

If Al Capone admits he broke the law as a bootlegger, you really don't need to go through motions of convicting him of that self-admitted crime before deciding not to hire him as your Prohibition enforcement officer. Louis C.K. isn't going to jail because of public admonishment, and jail isn't the same thing as 'maybe don't hire this guy and instead hire someone who won't harass or assault people.'
posted by cjelli at 12:36 PM on August 28, 2018 [49 favorites]


... Banish him to the outside of the city walls?

Fatty Arbuckle went into directing, back when that was not such a glamorous job. Surely Louis C.K. has acquired technical skills that will allow him to make a living in an office somewhere in the industry. Or he could be a script doctor. Or he could be a security guard and record his own farts, for all I care.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:36 PM on August 28, 2018 [30 favorites]


Oh, please. Not having a Netflix special is not a punishment from a court of law, and an admitted serial sexual harasser in no way deserves the work when there's so many other people who manage to be decent human beings that don't even get the chance.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:37 PM on August 28, 2018 [51 favorites]


So banishment to less visibility is a systemic solution to this problem? This doesn't seem to be true, at all...

I want this problem to be solved. But its a difficult endemic problem with many participants and active and healthy discussion that includes the accused is the only way to improve our culture that makes sense in my mind.
posted by fieldcannotbeblank at 12:38 PM on August 28, 2018


Speak for yourself, he recieved a standing ovation! People have very different opinions all across the board.

Since his reputation apparently hasn't been damaged, why does our negative opinions of him matter at all? Why come here and try to change our minds? The most frustrating thing about this is that not only does he get to ruin the careers of his victims, I'm not even allowed to dislike him for it.
posted by muddgirl at 12:39 PM on August 28, 2018 [95 favorites]


We will never improve relations with bad people if we refuse to treat them like people. This is is evident as much in our War on Terrorists as it is in #metoo. Keep lines of dialogue open, or the enemy will breed and brood in a non-evident manner.

Why, pray tell, do I want to "improve relations" with abusers, Nazis, white supremacists, etc.? Furthermore, nobody is "refusing to treat like a person" people like Louis CK - we're just also acknowledging that he's a sexual predator, and as such we don't want any dealings with him.

It's not our job to provide for his moral growth as a human being, and it's getting really fucking tiresome to deal with the insinuation that it is.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:40 PM on August 28, 2018 [90 favorites]


Sorry, I think I'm just not understanding something. If I cornered a woman, masturbated in front of her, blocked her from leaving... that would be a crime, yes? As in, a police officer would come and arrest me, and I'd have handcuffs put on me, and get booked, and pay bail to get of jail, and then get convicted, and be on a sexual abuser list for the rest of my life? Especially if I did that crime to four more women?

Why hasn't any of that happened here? Because, it did happen, right? Louis C.K. apologized for it. His literal words were, "These stories are true."

A lot of people are saying it's like a prison sentence, or witch hunt... all these justice system metaphors, but it's just weird that this self-confessed criminal hasn't literally been in prison yet.

I'm just not getting something, because this seems like an open-and-shut case to me. I don't know why we need so many think pieces exploring the "complexity" and "nuance" of Louis C.K.'s situation.

I also don't understand these think piece authors' "do we know he's sorry" or "how can male celebrities redeem themselves" when the answer is pretty obvious: They can publicly state that if their victims press charges they will plead guilty to spare them the stress of testifying.

But maybe there's something I just don't get.
posted by AlSweigart at 12:41 PM on August 28, 2018 [59 favorites]


Another thing that I don't like about this is that although this guy admitted to showing his dick to people who didn't want to see his dick, he ***didn't admit*** to having his agent and other staff actively gaslight, threaten and shut down the women who tried to come forward. Which is what happened. Instead, his weaksauce "apology" said, "I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried" which is not the same thing. "Disabled them from sharing their story" is not the same thing as "threatened them and blackballed them, on purpose."

The public narrative about his career and his (oh please god no) "comeback" is replacing this with "He showed his dick and then apologized." No. It was even worse than that.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 12:42 PM on August 28, 2018 [70 favorites]


[One deleted. fieldcannotbeblank, you're coming on real strong in here. If you're not trying to provoke a fight, act like it and take a step back for a while.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:44 PM on August 28, 2018 [10 favorites]


I fully believe that "redemption" needs to be on the table in some form, just because I think we'll be better off if there's an incentive to own your wrongdoing and become a better person. I've personally seen former shitheads figure it out and become admirable people, and I'd much rather have them reformed than just be shitheads-in-hiding. But the idea that just sitting in your house for a few months and sliding back into the public view like nothing happened is "redemption" is ludicrous. The contempt-of-court analogy is a good one -- it's not a lifetime ban from society, unless you've decided to never stop being an asshole for the rest of your life. In which case, kindly jump into the sea.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:44 PM on August 28, 2018 [27 favorites]


We will never improve relations with bad people if we refuse to treat them like people.

Nobody's saying they're not people. There's no calls to starve them to death, lock them in cages, or refuse to acknowledge their existence.

Why is there this desire to believe they're entitled to the fame and fortune they had before their actions came to light? There are many people who are qualified to do the same things but will never get the chance, but you want to give these people SECOND chances?

Is CK such as good comedian that if we don't get to see his comedy anymore that there will be a huge void left? Can nobody host a morning show like Matt Lauer or Charlie Rose? NONE of these guys are irreplaceable in these roles. Stop trying to say they're so special that they should just drop back into their privileged lives after they've had a little time off.
posted by evilangela at 12:45 PM on August 28, 2018 [52 favorites]


Public shaming has always existed. It's older than concepts of the rule of law, and it's never gone away, because social mores can never be completely congruent with the law.

Who gets shamed, and for what and at what scale of time and numbers of people, is probably the most significant aspect of what's changing now.

So it's a mistaken premise to say that we're moving from trial by jury to trial by public opinion. Public opinion has always been here, and it's never going away. There's no double jeopardy for public opinion.
posted by pykrete jungle at 12:46 PM on August 28, 2018 [24 favorites]


We will never improve relations with bad people if we refuse to treat them like people.

I disagree with the idea that reacting negatively to a comedy set by a comedian who admitted to traumatizing other comedians to the point that they left comedy is somehow not treating him like a person. Nobody is preventing Louis CK from performing; the reactions here are to that performance and our reactions are expressions of anger and frustration at his seeming lack of contrition coupled with his seeming inability/refusal to see that people are still feeling angry, hurt and betrayed by his past behavior.

To put it another way, dude tainted his own product with his behavior. Finding his product distasteful, even indefinitely, is not censorship, or even vengeance. Many people will probably remain disgusted by what he did for years and so long as we don't take the law into our own hands and perform some act of vigilante justice, I don't think framing this as us somehow behaving unjustly for not wanting to consume what he produces any more being some kind of injustice is helpful in any way.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:46 PM on August 28, 2018 [35 favorites]


So banishment to less visibility is a systemic solution to this problem?

Yes! That is exactly correct. If someone gets caught masturbating in front of their coworkers, they get fired and they don't get to come back. This is the exact same situation. How do the women at these comedy clubs feel about CK's return? Probably not great! This is a workplace, and sexual harassment in any workplace should not be accepted, no matter how "centrist" you are.

I'm just very sick of the "well, can't we just have compassion for Louis??" narrative, because that compassion NECESSARILY comes at the cost of the women involved. Compassion for abusers is indistinguishable from institutionalized misogyny.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 12:47 PM on August 28, 2018 [105 favorites]


As for how long Louis CK's punishment should last, the first (public) allegations against him surfaced in 2002.

It wasn't until 2017 that he faced any consequences from his confessed serial misconduct.

I'd say 15 years of showbiz exile would be a pretty fitting punishment, meaning we could all look forward to his big comeback special in 2032.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:48 PM on August 28, 2018 [33 favorites]


> rose petals aren't extended to declared enemies after they have exhibited serious intent to reflect on their behavior and improve themselves

The problem is that Louis C.K. hasn't done this.
posted by reductiondesign at 12:49 PM on August 28, 2018 [19 favorites]


I fully believe that "redemption" needs to be on the table in some form, just because I think we'll be better off if there's an incentive to own your wrongdoing and become a better person.

The Order of the Stick had an excellent strip on what redemption means. In short, redemption is "on the table", but it's up to the person involved to take it up and earn it.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:49 PM on August 28, 2018 [9 favorites]


If I'm not mistaken C.K. admitted to wrongdoing shortly after accusations were made and explicitly apologized.

He did not. They were circulating as rumors for years.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:50 PM on August 28, 2018 [32 favorites]


Sorry, I think I'm just not understanding something. If I cornered a woman, masturbated in front of her, blocked her from leaving... that would be a crime, yes?

Yep.

As in, a police officer would come and arrest me, and I'd have handcuffs put on me, and get booked, and pay bail to get of jail, and then get convicted, and be on a sexual abuser list for the rest of my life? Especially if I did that crime to four more women?

No. Almost certainly not, unfortunately.
posted by ODiV at 12:51 PM on August 28, 2018 [29 favorites]


We will never improve relations with bad people if we refuse to treat them like people. This is is evident as much in our War on Terrorists as it is in #metoo. Keep lines of dialogue open, or the enemy will breed and brood in a non-evident manner.

"Keeping dialogue open" and "giving them a platform upon which to perform" are two very different things, particularly when the latter is how the gentleman in question earned money.

Louis CK could also have chosen to "keep dialogue open" by consulting a sexual addiction counselor. Instead, he chose to go on a stage. Ask yourself why you are equating the two.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:51 PM on August 28, 2018 [25 favorites]


Mel Gibson has set the blueprint for a #MeToo comeback. Expect other men to follow it. (Trigger Warning: Violence, Sexual Assault, Language) - Constance Grady, Vox.
We have a pretty good idea of what the men planning their #MeToo comebacks will do. Gibson already did it.
Should be noted that his comeback was several years in the making, and isn't a done deal yet. (Also, feels like it has an unwarranted redemption arc). Many of the abusers identified in the #MeToo movement don't seem to be that patient.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:51 PM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


The contempt-of-court analogy is a good one -- it's not a lifetime ban from society, unless you've decided to never stop being an asshole for the rest of your life. In which case, kindly jump into the sea.

100% this. I'm not opposed to the idea that a person can be redeemed, but the answer to "what do I have to do?" is, "we don't really know, other than try really hard for a really long time to undo the harm you did and be a good human being, and maybe one day some people (but likely not all people) may forgive you".

But of course that's not the answer they want to hear. The reason people ask "what do I have to do?" is that they want there to be a documented minimum required effort after which they can say nobody's allowed to still be angry at them.

Sorry guys, that's not how redemption works, and if your hope is to serve a minimum sentence quietly and then go back to whatever, please enjoy your lifelong exile as far as I'm concerned.
posted by tocts at 12:52 PM on August 28, 2018 [80 favorites]


Its absolutely frightening to think that rose petals aren't extended to declared enemies after they have exhibited serious intent to reflect on their behavior and improve themselves going forward. And I'm saying this as someone who has been sexually assualted. Maybe I am more forgiving than my neighbors.

Not more forgiving, but perhaps more willing to see evidence of remorse than I am, at least. Part of the point of this article and others like it this week is that the men have not done apology tours, have not said that they were full-stop wrong, have not exhibited an intent to improve themselves. They have merely gone away for a bit, and are now checking to see if it is okay to come back.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 12:56 PM on August 28, 2018 [18 favorites]


People keep using the word "atonement" as if sitting offstage for nine months constitutes some kind of grand and grave gesture. If we want to talk about a path forward, it might be more useful to think not in terms of atonement, but in terms of restorative justice.

What, in the past nine months, has Louis C.K. done to further the careers that he interrupted, or to ensure that future generations of women will not face the same treatment in his industry? Anything? Or did he write a distinctly self-centered apology letter and then take some time off, doing nothing to assist those he had wronged or others who might find themselves similarly abused?

Two weeks ago, I made the mistake of looking through Pennsylvania's grand jury report on the Catholic church, as well as the church's list of credibly accused individuals. I did not expect my grandmother's small suburban church to appear in either, but it did. Five times. It did so because of credibly accused priests who had been passed from parish to parish. Once and a while, they rotated out for a year of counseling and atonement, after which they were placed in the exact same position of power that had allowed them to abuse people in the first place.

It worked about as well as you'd expect. It was a system that allowed abuses to continue unabated for decades on end.

Sitting on the sidelines for a few months and then returning to the stage as if nothing happened does not atonement make. It does not guarantee that the abuses of the past will not be repeated, and it does nothing to help those who were wronged. It does not address the fact that C.K.'s past success as a relatable and incisive cultural critic was attained under false pretenses. There may or may not be a path back to the stage, but this isn't it.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:00 PM on August 28, 2018 [92 favorites]


I always knew there was a reason Michael Ian Black was my second-to-least favorite member of The State.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:01 PM on August 28, 2018 [8 favorites]


"Although I hesitate to use the word "fair" in this context, given that there were no criminal charges what is left to do? Banish him to the outside of the city walls?"

I mean, yes. In a world where legal repercussions are just a fantasy, it's up to the people to police themselves. Social policing is important and we should use it when people are acting unacceptably. Nobody has a right to fame and fortune, if anything, fame and fortune are things nobody deserves to have, certainly not forever. Supposing Louie or X figure didn't already have a fortune to rest upon, then they can get shitty fucking jobs like everyone else.

These abusers have the right to speak and make new comedy but capitalists and businesses, even in their decidedly morally-evil centered compasses have an obligation not to elevate abusers. You speak as though an "X strikes and yerrrr out" approach to this is reprehensible in some way, but it's super not. First of all, the x in "X strikes" is invariably already too high, and arguably 1 strike is enough. Yes, everyone makes mistakes and can learn from them -- as they should! However, global audiences and exposure aren't things people should have more than one chance at if they fuck it up by, you know, _abusing people._

So yes, 100%, in the absence of criminal justice, socially ostracizing folks outside the city gates is a valid approach. The rich and famous are not owed second chances and should not be given them.

If Louie wants to improve on himself and be a better person, so be it. If he wants to apologize and some folks want to forgive him, so be it. That never means they somehow deserve more spotlight moving forward. Billions of people never have these moral failings or do these horrible crimes, do they all deserve our global attention? Obviously not! It's fucking weird to elevate these individuals in the first place, doubly so once their horribleness is exposed.

"People are still angry. And as a person who would rather engage other humans than demonize them oftentimes I don't feel like I or people like me are welcome on Metafilter. This place is very toxic sometimes even when the discussion is about trying to enact positive change. I'd like some shared opinions on the healthiest way to consider individuals that didn't have criminal charges as a result of their misconduct, but those are rarely seen here."

People should always still be angry, like, it's not like in 20 years people should start being okay with people being abused. It's also not like in the next 20 years more of this won't be occurring systematically. Sorry, but a brief quiet internet fuss about millennia of shitty ingrained behavior is not at all a sign we're past it.

I don't see how what I'm suggesting here is toxic, a person losing their opportunities for undeserved and unnecessary global amplification isn't some horrible overreaction borne from white rage. It's a really baseline and mild matter of course response to shiftiness purported by these powerful folks. You can cry toxic when people are crying for Louise and company to be flayed alive in the streets -- "You are a bad person and we as a public do not believe you should be given wide platform to spread your evils and influence" is a pretty far fuckign cry from that.

These people aren't being demonized. Demons get cast into hell, these people get cast into breaks from their ridiculous jobs while still keeping their wealth and for the most part, their power.

"Yeah, as usual my centrism is incorrect and Metafilter is right. Sorry. Let me dust off my pitchfork."

Maybe start by dusting off your self-righteous box. Then stop shielding yourself with centrism and just stand by what you say or not on it's own merits.

"We will never improve relations with bad people if we refuse to treat them like people. This is is evident as much in our War on Terrorists as it is in #metoo. Keep lines of dialogue open, or the enemy will breed and brood in a non-evident manner."

Your core argument here seems to be for us to not treat them as people, but to put them on a special pedestal. How does "keeping lines of dialogue" equate to "continue letting these nasty people have massive platforms, money, and influence not available to the common person who didn't abuse anybody." We can still talk to Louie even if he doesn't get any more comedy specials. He already blew his opportunity for such platforms, what benefit is there to letting him have another, what lesson does that teach anyone, what behaviour is that encouraging? Giving Louie or anyone else a second chance doesn't mean giving them back their old positions of power. It means maybe if you interact with Louie in real life you can interact with them as if they're trying to be better folks. Where does this desire to give them back their disproportionate influence come from and why does it seem to begin and end with those who already had that influence (often because of all the various people they've taken advantage of or fucked over on the way)?

Like, you were once in a position because of fucked up things you did, then we find out and were mad about it, but welcome back you said sorry so here you go back to that position you didn't deserve in the first place.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:03 PM on August 28, 2018 [51 favorites]


pykrete jungle: Public shaming has always existed. It's older than concepts of the rule of law, and it's never gone away, because social mores can never be completely congruent with the law.

Who gets shamed, and for what and at what scale of time and numbers of people, is probably the most significant aspect of what's changing now.


Also, the extent of polarization over what (and who) gets shamed. MeToo-related wrongdoing seems "complicated" simply because so many people are outright in favor of harassment at some level. To them, a world where men have free reign to commit it makes more sense than a world where they don't. Now one of those worlds is morphing into the other, and the transition is messy. By contrast, a culture with more consensus on "the rules" will not have turmoil over how to react when the rules are violated, and will also see fewer violations in the first place because there's less ambiguity. When the water starts to change from one color to another, the fish say "This is BS -- in my day we didn't have water."

(The ambiguity promotes more of itself -- someone may be personally appalled by harassment, but also very aware of the entrenchment of pro-harassment norms, so they vaguely sympathize with harassers on that level -- "Sure, it's wrong here and now, but how was he to determine it was wrong there and then, in the absence of clear cultural messaging to that effect?" I disagree, of course, but I think it's part of the puzzle, e.g the reaction from Michael Ian Black.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:07 PM on August 28, 2018 [9 favorites]


We will never improve relations with bad people

It's not my job to improve relations with bad people. Since they are non-trivially harmful, it is my job to stay away from them, and, if I am in a position where I am responsible for other people, keep bad people away from them.

Why is this even a discussion?
posted by maxsparber at 1:12 PM on August 28, 2018 [50 favorites]


Very funny person and zamboni lover, Jamie Loftus has written a piece for Paste: Make Them Leave 2: In Which They Come Back, which is, as you might surmise, a followup to a previous one (CW: sexual assault). It isn't specifically about CK as it was published earlier this month, but it does mention him as it concerns the return of these men. I'd recommend reading the whole thing of course, but she concludes with:

"Aside from their own embarrassment and eagerness to game the system, allow me to editorialize and say that it is extremely doubtful that these men have learned anything. Less than a year, particularly if much of it was calculating a return, doesn’t indicate a hell of a lot of introspection."
posted by ODiV at 1:13 PM on August 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


(Note: I am trans, intersex, and nonbinary, and I was raised to be a man by a bunch of 2nd wave feminists, many of whom were or were going to be lesbians. I have a lot of enculturation in lesbian 2nd wave feminists. But I also have lived in a masculine or masculineish identity for most of my life, either passively letting folks id me as such, or just passively letting it happen. Because of this, I will now write as an insider to masculine culture. Also note: My pronoun preference is, since you will be using my pronouns when you talk about me, use whatever pronoun preference is most disruptive for you and/or your audience.)

We men know how to make amends. We are just rarely put in a position where we absolutely have to. So when we're forced into that kind of position, we whine about it, or leverage our privilege, to make that situation go away, if we can possibly do that. It's only if we're held accountable that we'll find the social level where we actually do make amends and figure out how to absolve ourselves enough that we can return, in some form, to society.

I would be perfectly happy if we in the rest of society changed society enough that #metoo accused men would really have to work on making real amends, and really had to change how we were, so we were less masculinity/privileged/patriarchy centric when we returned to working society, whether that be 3 months, or 3 years, or 30 years. But I don't see the rest of us doing that. Because change isn't comfortable for anyone. In a way, I think a lot of us in the rest of society would prefer to see C.K. be able to return to his old haunting grounds, his old comedy sets and topics, because then we wouldn't feel like we had to do any work to make the changes or to demand them in C.K., all of which is thankless work that we will never get direct credit for. And many of us don't see the long term effects of making such changes in our art, culture, expectations as positive.

Which I think is a shame.
posted by kalessin at 1:14 PM on August 28, 2018 [16 favorites]


How about the path to redemption includes some jail time? That seems fair. Especially for someone like Louer.
posted by greermahoney at 1:14 PM on August 28, 2018 [10 favorites]


As in, a police officer would come and arrest me, and I'd have handcuffs put on me, and get booked, and pay bail to get of jail, and then get convicted, and be on a sexual abuser list for the rest of my life?

Hi! A few years ago, on a dark winter night, a stranger jumped at me on a city street, grabbed my breast, and started masturbating furiously. I called the police. I went down to SVU. I filed a report.

And that was it. No arrest, no handcuffs, no booking, no jail, no conviction, no sex abuser list.

I guess I did get to see the guy's face on a poster in another precinct months later, after he did the same thing to someone else.

Suffice to say that the vast majority of crimes convicted don't involve an arrest, let alone a conviction.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:15 PM on August 28, 2018 [37 favorites]


OK, I have said my centrist peace. I am prepared to be blown away!
posted by fieldcannotbeblank at 12:15 PM on August 28 [2 favorites −]


I didn't mind your piece and yeah one of those favorites is mine.

Louis CK's entire brand is the "uncomfortable comic truth-teller" in the mold of Pryor or Carlin, so unless he reverts back to the absurdist one-liners with which he began his career some 30 years ago, I don't really see the point of him carrying on without addressing that massive elephant in the room.

Something I heard two male comics discussing just yesterday (though before this news hit) was that long before any of the accusations really started to stick, CK was getting a lot of laughs out of the "we're all perverts deep down inside" angle. Which is something that they (the comics) felt he should now be called on big time because, as one of them put it, "I know what I am inside. I also know that's entirely beside the point with regard to what I've actually done. Louis, you were deliberately confusing this point for years maybe because you saw all of this coming, and I now I want to see you own up to it. Friend."

(or words to that effect)
posted by philip-random at 1:16 PM on August 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


> InTheYear2017:
"Yes, this problem is systemic and societal. It's weird to downplay particular remedies, though"

What I'm hearing is "non-abusers should be given the chance they deserve," "they're already rich, let them be funemployed," and "they can take a worse job, like the rest of us have."

The first sounds reasonable to me. The other two, fine, I don't think they got what they had because they "deserved it" and I've received plenty of (emotional) abuse in non-glamorous jobs I've had (from bosses with non-glamorous jobs). Whatever, stick it to them. Matt Lauer can donate all his money to RAINN and scrub toilets for eternity as far as I'm concerned.

But those aren't particular remedies, because there aren't any particular remedies. They should go be better people. And maybe all those who knew and profited and didn't give a shit along the way can go be better people. I don't know how that happens.

The closest thing to a remedy in my mind is go ahead and boycott everyone you disapprove of and complain loudly when people continue to give them standing ovations.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 1:16 PM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


I can't say I'm shocked that they are coming back. They will always come back unless they are dead or in jail. We still have to live with them in this world, they're not choosing to give up their work voluntarily and they made a lot of people a lot of money.

"but the answer to "what do I have to do?" is, "we don't really know, other than try really hard for a really long time to undo the harm you did and be a good human being, and maybe one day some people (but likely not all people) may forgive you".
But of course that's not the answer they want to hear. The reason people ask "what do I have to do?" is that they want there to be a documented minimum required effort after which they can say nobody's allowed to still be angry at them."


Yeah, this too. They just wanna go back to normal, man!

"I'd like some shared opinions on the healthiest way to consider individuals that didn't have criminal charges as a result of their misconduct,"

I don't think anyone knows. I think a lot of us would just like to shove them off onto a raft in the Arctic, but we can't do that. We can't stop them or ban them, and apparently the social shunning won't last forever with everyone. Hell if I know.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:18 PM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


And if that's how we want to live, that's 100% okay. But we should be honest about it.

I am. And there's plenty of room in my wicker man.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:25 PM on August 28, 2018 [22 favorites]


As ever, the question is "what do we owe the abuser?", rather than "what do we owe the abused?".

My responsibility to Louis CK, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Garrison fucking Keillor and all the rest of these dipshits is absolutely nothing. I don't owe them another chance. I don't owe them a path back to their old careers. They've already had so much more than I'll ever have.

Even in having this conversation we are giving more thought to their plight than they've ever given to their victims'.
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:25 PM on August 28, 2018 [71 favorites]


He should have kept on laying low, but if he simply HAD to get on stage he should have come completely clean and done the self-critical shtick but for realsies. He should have mercilessly burned himself to the ground and then finished by implicating the audience for letting him off the hook so easy.

Not saying he deserves redemption, just that that approach would be in his wheelhouse.
posted by whuppy at 1:27 PM on August 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


like i honestly cannot conceive of something of less importance to me than yet another white male abuser's tearful redemption arc so he can go back to doing exactly what he's always done with fewer societal repercussions than i have for neglecting to shave my fucking legs
posted by poffin boffin at 1:30 PM on August 28, 2018 [98 favorites]


The Onion seems to have done a pretty good job interpreting what happened: Humiliation Of Women Receives 10 Billionth Standing Ovation
posted by foxfirefey at 1:35 PM on August 28, 2018 [28 favorites]


Why is is that people who have so much empathy for men like LCK have so little for their victims?

Oh wait. I know why.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:36 PM on August 28, 2018 [39 favorites]


Not everyone gets redeemed.
posted by Damienmce at 1:37 PM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Honestly, this thread is how the path to "redemption" goes. Some people conclude he's made amends. Others say he did nothing wrong. Some are disappointed but will still pirate his shows. Others want to jettison him to Antarctica. Someone will pay for his show and then heckle him until they're thrown out. It will settle for a while in some spot. People will fuss. Things will move. There's nothing else.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 1:37 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


Dana Min Goodman, Julia Wolov, Abby Schachner, Rebecca Corry, and Tig Notaro. There are five comedians to support instead of LoUis CK who also happen to be the comedians he victimized. We (and the media) keep referring to "Louis CK accused by women." No, Louis CK admitted to the fact that engaged in gross sexual misconduct in the presence of Dana Min Goodman, Julia Wolov, Abby Schachner, Rebecca Corry, and Tig Notaro. They are people with their own stories and their own names. I resent that CK is sometimes treated as the hero/anti-hero in need of some redemption narrative and that "the women" are just some sort of anonymous group of theoretical people that have impacted his career. Goodman, Wolov, Schactner, Corry and Notaro are specific people (with names) that CK specifically victimized.

I choose to support the careers of these five talented comedians who did not (to the best of my knowledge) victimize anyone. In fact, Notaro is in my town in December and I'll be there laughing and cheering for her.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:39 PM on August 28, 2018 [94 favorites]


I see Aziz Ansari is back too. I’m rolling my eyes so hard at this idea of “redemption” people are floating. It’s so transparent that these gross dudes hatched a pr plan to do a bit of damage control. Half assed apology, go quiet for a few months, glorious return! I said sorry so no one can be mean to me ever again! There’s no redemption here. Just cynicism and leveraging society’s need to both make everything ok for men and to devalue women. We never want to throw abusers away but we’re more than happy to flush their victims down the toilet in the interest of “moving forward”.
posted by supercrayon at 1:44 PM on August 28, 2018 [14 favorites]


I don't understand why this is such a wild concept. Louis CK was given power via a large public platform. He used that power to sexually assault, harass, blackmail, shame, fire and bribe many, many women over the period of years. He does not get that back. There is no math/time when him returning to his career is appropriate. He is not entitled to have the same thing he used as a weapon against women. The people who facilitate his return are, in my opinion, are just aiding in more abuse. When he recidivates, and he will, everyone who worked for him are woman abusers.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:49 PM on August 28, 2018 [34 favorites]


Atom Eyes:
@PFTompkins:
The fact that Louis, a comedian whose whole thing is plumbing the depths of his own psyche, apparently didn’t mention his most recent, famous news in his surprise set tells you all you need to know about his desire for “redemption,” right?
Tompkins is totally right about the thin gruel of Louis CK's character arc here, but I don't think things would've been the least bit improved by the scandal being part of his set.

I was a much, much stupider person a decade ago, but even I was weirded out by Letterman trying to fuse humor and self-reflection amid a scandal about sexual relationships with multiple women on the staff of The Late Show. It's not a joke, it's not a bit, and the impact on you clearly wasn't enough to actually cause you real-world hardship. The same can't usually be said for the people on the other side of these power dynamics... and watching an audience laugh at your situation, in solidarity with the person who caused it? That must suck.

It's hard to "disown" an artist and I agree that it's not clear-cut what penance is appropriate before they've paid their price to society (if that's even possible). But that same wave of concern and indignation isn't being applied for the folks whose careers were derailed to one degree or another by these people's actions. Their punishment for doing nothing wrong, on top of having to live through the incidents themselves, was likely worse than nine months in comfortable exile followed by a successful Atonement Tour.

Louis CK may or may not be redeemable, but no matter how much anyone loves redemption stories, or him specifically, it's negligent to be his advocate while so many suffer under the system that empowered him.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:49 PM on August 28, 2018 [11 favorites]


Let’s be very explicit about what Black is suggesting here: that a movement against abuse is also responsible for the redemption of those abusers. That this cultural moment requires that #MeToo to not just expose sexual predators, but to rehabilitate them. That the important thing now is figuring out “how we move forward.”

Yes, because women are their maids, mommies, and social workers to be subservient to these men. Nice try; not buying.

Those wealthy males all made their own messes. They can clean it up. They were booted out because they earned it. They are not owed a career of fame and fortune. That was a privilege based on public goodwill.

And who is rehabilitating the careers and lives of the women who were subject to the workplace terrorism that forever impeded their dreams and ambitions?

For these predatory men, these jobs are all dime a dozen talent, and there is no place for the bad pennies.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 1:56 PM on August 28, 2018 [23 favorites]


Louis C.K. and the Men Who Keep Getting What They Want, Megan Garber
The #MeToo comeback story—a common one these days, and one that will likely become increasingly common as we approach the one-year anniversary of the Times’ and The New Yorker’s initial reporting on Harvey Weinstein—is often discussed in terms of moral extremes. On the one hand, there’s the small and specific: the comeback, staged precisely at the whim and/or the strategy of the famous person in question, typically with the help of PR and legal teams expert in trial ballooning and public apologizing that use this combined expertise to plan the timing and messaging of the comeback. And on the other hand: There’s the suggestion, commonly invoked as a broad alternative to this precision, that if the comeback doesn’t happen in this precise way, at this precise moment, the famous person in question will be Banished Forever From Good Society. “There can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong,” Noam Dworman, the owner of the Comedy Cellar, told the Times. (Dworman invoked the prison metaphor even as he noted that he had not made the decision to host C.K. He had been at home, asleep, while C.K. had been on the Cellar stage, Dworman said; he learned of C.K.’s appearance only after club staff texted him about it.)

Famous man, straw man: It is an intoxicating combination. It is also a misleading one. Of course #MeToo comebacks are possible in the middle ground; of course notions of restorative justice—which are nuanced, and holistically empathetic, and focus their energies on victims as well as perpetrators—should be part of the calculus when it comes to conversations about forgiveness and responsibility and the long arc of a professional and moral career. What’s less tenable, though, is the widespread notion that the comebacks should be treated as all-or-nothing, black-or-white events. What’s less palatable is the insistent lack of nuance that tends to characterize discussions about comebacks, be it C.K.’s or Ansari’s or Lauer’s or Charlie Rose’s or Mario Batali’s or Garrison Keillor’s. Make his return entirely on his own terms—in a surprise set at the Comedy Cellar, in a series of shows in Milwaukee—or be banished; come back in precisely the way he wants, or be canceled. Those, it is so often assumed, are the options.

What results from that extreme thinking are discussions of comebacks—and the mechanics of them, in C.K.’s and Ansari’s case—that hew uncomfortably to the logic that made the comebacks necessary in the first place. So many of these stories of return revolve, still, around the desires of the men in question, to the evident exclusion of the interests of anyone who has the misfortune not to be famous or wealthy or powerful or male. In the story of his return, C.K.’s desire—now his desire to return to performing, and to the world as it was before—comes to supersede everything else. His desire is exerted, apparently, on the owner of the club he performed at (Dworman, asleep during the set, hearing of it only after the fact); it is exerted on the audience who happened to be in attendance at the Comedy Cellar on Sunday evening, who were given no choice about whether to participate in C.K.’s post-#MeToo return. (One audience member, Dworman said, called the club after the show: “He wished he had known in advance, so he could’ve decided whether to have been there or not.” )
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:01 PM on August 28, 2018 [11 favorites]


Redemption for the famous and powerful male abuser will always be more important than acknowledging the harm that was done to his victims, but somehow not wanting to pat an abuser on the hand and say “there there, you’re not a bad person!” makes me the dehumanizing monster. Good to know.
posted by rtha at 2:01 PM on August 28, 2018 [28 favorites]


Louie's not in jail. He hasn't been locked up and the key thrown away. He abused his professional power over women so I have no problem with him never having power over women again for as long as he lives.

But that doesn't mean he can't earn a living other ways. He can still produce (albeit without any authority over any personnel...a truly "silent" financial partner, perhaps) and he can still write. He'll do just fine in those roles and make a comfortable living. Why do we owe him more than that? Why does he deserve to perform again?
posted by rocket88 at 2:02 PM on August 28, 2018 [8 favorites]


Here, Talia Lavin is doing a #NotAllMenChallenge asking for donations to RAINN.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 2:05 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


Why does he deserve to perform again?

Because men are owed our time, attention, and respect simply because they are men.
posted by muddgirl at 2:06 PM on August 28, 2018 [21 favorites]


He can still produce...and he can still write.

Yeah, I wouldn't be so quick to let him off with that. His work directly before his dirty laundry was aired, I Love You, Daddy, is explicitly about abusive men's gross behavior, romanticized. LouisCK is not owed a job in the industry, at all.
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:12 PM on August 28, 2018 [19 favorites]


If there is any cosmic justice, that movie will haunt him until the end of his days, like his his own personal The Day the Clown Cried.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:19 PM on August 28, 2018 [6 favorites]


If there is any cosmic justice, that movie will haunt him until the end of his days, like his his own personal The Day the Clown Cried.
posted by Atom Eyes at 5:19 PM on August 28 [+] [!]


I'd rather just watch Chloe Grace Moretz kick him in the nuts, tbh.
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:25 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


I think some people just need to admit that they're not that bothered by sexual assault. Or, at least admit that they're not bothered enough to stop consuming products made by sexual predators, as long as the victims aren't someone they know. It would be a lot more honest than trying to twist themselves into knots trying to justify why we absolutely need to give these men a second, third, or fourth chance to be insanely rich and famous.
posted by runcibleshaw at 2:36 PM on August 28, 2018 [45 favorites]


If I'm not mistaken C.K. admitted to wrongdoing shortly after accusations were made and explicitly apologized.
Lets just be crystal clear - you are entirely mistaken. about many things, but specifically the facts about how it all went down w/ Louis CK

given that there were no criminal charges
Over 90% of victims of sexual crimes will never see any sort of official justice. There are definitely unfair things going on, but it's not Louis CK who is suffering because of it.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 2:41 PM on August 28, 2018 [31 favorites]


[Couple of comments deleted. Don't troll here. If you honestly don't care about sexual assault and you think it's a good idea to volunteer as much to the people here, be warned that's not gonna go anywhere good for you.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:44 PM on August 28, 2018 [24 favorites]


There are other careers!

That's the line in the sand I would like to see. Oh, you become successful and famous in your field, and then use that against other people? Find another job you are no longer welcome here.
posted by graventy at 2:57 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


Louis CK has Scrooge McDuck money. He never needs to work again and his children will still be spending his dough after he's dead. Our expectations for rehabilitation of criminals, especially criminals who hurt other people, can and should differ based upon their available resources in just about the exact opposite way it works now.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 3:15 PM on August 28, 2018 [19 favorites]


Step 8: Made a list of all the people we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

What amends have Louis CK, Mel Gibson, or any of these people made? A half-hearted, public, publicist- and lawyer-approved "apology" isn't direct amends. Do some actual fucking work; show you're serious about doing better; DO BETTER.

Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

When you find yourself not doing better, STOP. Admit that you've slid, make amends, and start working again.

Yeah, this hits a little close to home. Sorry.
posted by hanov3r at 3:36 PM on August 28, 2018 [24 favorites]


You're damn right I'm angry. As a woman, I will never get my first shot at most things. Why should people who harass people like me get second, third, fourth, etc. chances when I can't even get one simply because of my gender?

The reason that it is problematic to consume art made by people who harass and abuse others is simple: part of the reason they succeed at what they do is because they harass and abuse people. They go hand in hand. I don't really want to consume art that was partly borne out of the pain of marginalized people whose voices I will never hear. They will never get a first shot. Why should he get multiple chances?
posted by sockermom at 3:56 PM on August 28, 2018 [67 favorites]


The Onion seems to have done a pretty good job interpreting what happened: Humiliation Of Women Receives 10 Billionth Standing Ovation

They're all over this. They posted a picture of CK on stage titled Dick Pulled Back Out Again

Also an article titled Louis C.K. Fan Disappointed At Lack Of Psychosexual Power Games In New Material:

“I just thought his set would focus more on exploiting vulnerable women in his field for his own gratification. I mean, what makes Louis C.K. special is that he has so many layers, like how his actions were not only sexually inappropriate, but also a deliberate abuse of power against those with less influence in the industry—women whose careers and personal lives would be irreparably damaged as a result. I guess he sort of mentioned jacking off a little, but it seemed pretty disconnected from the stuff about his management threatening to derail these women’s careers if they told anyone about it, or about how traumatic and shameful the experience must’ve been for them in the moment. Man, he’s really not the same now.”

Bravo. In his "apology" he said he would take a long time to listen. Apparently what he heard is, "oh actually no one cares if you're an abuser, get back to earning that money."
posted by Emily's Fist at 4:08 PM on August 28, 2018 [47 favorites]


That's the line in the sand I would like to see. Oh, you become successful and famous in your field, and then use that against other people? Find another job you are no longer welcome here.

And if someone who's done something like this legit works themselves back up to something from the bottom--I don't mean "becoming a writer and leveraging your existing platform of awfulness" or whatever, but like "hi I'm Louis CK and I'm your new CPA" then I will maybe credit them with having earned their new success. Anything where that existing platform becomes part of the new career, you built that using the pain you caused other people. This isn't punishment. Punishment is actual huge cash transfers to the people you hurt, actual jail time. Don't tell me somebody's been punished enough because they were slightly less wealthy for awhile and they'd like to be very famous and fabulously rich again please.
posted by Sequence at 4:11 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


The Onion is at its best when the writers are really angry.

According to today's blind item, CK paid $10,000 for this "spontaneous set".
posted by muddgirl at 4:16 PM on August 28, 2018 [10 favorites]


To put it another way, dude tainted his own product with his behavior. Finding his product distasteful, even indefinitely, is not censorship, or even vengeance.

I couldn't agree with this more. Not wanting to buy what he is selling is not a punishment. And it's not just him selling a product, in this particular case. Louis is the product. He has a relationship with the audience that depends on a certain level of bona fides. More so, I would argue, than a writer or director or even an actor. He is standing up there as who he is.
posted by BibiRose at 4:17 PM on August 28, 2018 [16 favorites]


Michael Ian Black has explained his point in more detail, and is retweeting and engaging his critics (in particular, some of the ones with fairly wide Twitter reaches). He seems to be trying, but he's still assigning too much of the emotional labor to "the Me Too movement", and his litany of questions still reads more like JAQing than trying to start the conversation with other men (in show business or generally).
posted by Etrigan at 4:30 PM on August 28, 2018 [9 favorites]


According to today's blind item, CK paid $10,000 for this "spontaneous set".

That makes me think a lot less of the Cellar than if the owner was just a bro who thought CK had "done his time" or whatever. No, he knew there was a chance this would do his business $10K worth of damage, and he decided it was worth it.
posted by Etrigan at 4:36 PM on August 28, 2018 [10 favorites]


Everyone talking now about how extremely rich Louis is makes me assume that all of his talk about spending his own money on his productions and going into debt for Horace and Pete (which was actually good, and makes me angry that Louis turned out to be a sick scumbag) was just more manipulation and sad clown bullshit. My understanding was that he didn't have all that much money and would have to get some kind of job, but who would hire him? Who would want that kind of liability? Regular people get turned down for jobs for much less. But even then I was thinking, well that's a shame, a talented but sick person fucked up their life. But I guess that's not even the case? A talented but sick person gets to retire early and leave us all the fuck alone. But even that's not good enough for these sick fucks.
posted by bleep at 4:45 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]




I don't think MeFites have any inside knowledge on Louis' finances, but that debt thing was him kidding around.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 5:14 PM on August 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


I have no inside info about Louis CK"s finances but i know many people with far lower credits in that same industry and I don't feel at all weird about suggesting that he's made generational wealth from admitting openly and often that he's a disgusting pervert.

Also, Michael Ian Black's mea culpa? It includes this gem :
Other people, and I include myself in this group, believe that for some of these guys, there ought to be a way for them to return from exile. Not because it matters if a celebrity like Louis gets another chance. It doesn’t. But because I believe that the important, vital, and necessary work of the Me Too Movement will only survive if men feel as invested in its survival as women. Will that happen if men feel like there is no way back from their worst moments?
He thinks the only way men can care about sexual assault is if victims absolve them. He doesn't for a second consider men who don't sexually assault women. He's telling on himself and he doesn't even see it. He has a 15/16yr old daughter.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 5:47 PM on August 28, 2018 [48 favorites]


So, lets pretend that indeed, CK's actions cost him 90% of his fans. Even if this is true (I doubt it's that much, but hopefully more than half), he could still probably fill very large venues with people that just don't care about his behavior. If he wanted he could still probably have a very successful career as a stand-up comedian.

If he wants to get back on Netflix, on HBO, etc, etc, he'll have to have the support of large corporations. If even 10% of his past audience is sufficiently upset about the corporation giving him a platform, there's a good chance he won't get a platform from them again. (They obviously aren't ethical or moral corporations, they are just trying to crunch spreadsheets to see if he'll make more money for them than they'll cost them).

Mel Gibson, on the other hand, needs the large corporations to make what he does work (ie: acting). Again, the decision to allow him back into Hollywood's good graces is entirely dependent on if they think it will profit them.

Personally, I don't think CK has a chance at his comeback as long as he refuses to face head-on what he did. I'm not sure what that would look like, but coming back like nothing happened isn't really going to fly with the general public (IMHO). Part of the reason it won't work for him in particular (if he doesn't address it) is the nature of his stand-up was so self-reflective. He'll lose any semblance of authenticity if he continues to act like nothing happened.

In a (gross) way, he sort of did address his behaviors in his work already - the movie that no one has seen... I mean, he wrote a movie about someone in the entertainment industry inappropriately masturbating (wasn't he playing that character as well?). In a way that was his Woody Allen moment (not a compliment, and certainly not talking about the *quality* of that film I haven't seen).

I expect (I could be wrong) at some point he'll try to make a set out of all of this though, and it may try to sound contrite and like he's begging for forgiveness, for many it will come across as empty and insincere. Others will accept it, even though it probably won't be anywhere close to his best material. I have no idea if that gambit will work.
posted by el io at 5:50 PM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


And lets forever do away with the notion that men abusing women is seen by those men as "their worst moment." I've looked into enough of their eyes to know they don't even see it as a moment, much less their worst. Louis CK's worst moment was when he knew his movie wouldn't be coming out and he had to offer some sort of apology (that he obviously didn't feel - just look at it). His worst moments were never the moments where he assaulted women, but rather when someone else told him he had to "atone" for it. And never forget that however he defines atonement or repentance - he performed neither.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 5:55 PM on August 28, 2018 [31 favorites]


Why on Earth does anyone think that Louis CK (or Matt Lauer or Charlie Rose or etc...) have done anything at all to deserve redemption? All these dudes have done is just disappeared from public view. As far as I've seen today on the internet, the people defending Louis CK's comeback are just internet randos and not personal acquaintances of his. Even Michael Ian Black counts Louis as more of an acquaintance than a friend. In the absence of any public evidence, why should anyone assume that they have done anything to better themselves or have even made any amends? How do you know they haven't actually gotten worse while they've been away? How do we know they haven't found a new population of people that they can harrass? There's just as much public evidence out there that Louis CK has spent his 10-month vacation exposing himself to hotel chambermaids as there is that he has done anything worth any redemption -- i.e.: none.

This is probably also why all this talk of #metoo redemption always passes from the specific to the general and hypothetical. No one is talking about what Louis CK himself actually did to deserve to come back because as far as anyone knows, he's done nothing. Instead, people want to either talk about what they've assumed he must have done to deserve a comeback. Or they want to talk about some hypothetical harrasser and his hypothetical path to redemption and how nothing this hypothetical harrasser has done is good enough and how unfair that is and why can't he just come back already. But that dude doesn't exist. Louis CK exists. And he's apparently back. So we don't need to ask about what he needs to do to come back because the answer is apparently jack squat.
posted by mhum at 6:00 PM on August 28, 2018 [26 favorites]


Will that happen if men feel like there is no way back from their worst moments?

I just... I can't care. I feel like there's no way back from my worst moment, except that moment happened to me. It was not my own terrible, abusive self that caused it. My career has been permanently impacted by the way men chose to treat me (and the way I responded to it), and I'm only 31, and I didn't get rich in the process. I didn't respond perfectly to a bad situation and it affects how potential employers see me.

I mean, I've cried in a job interview because of questions I was asked, by nice people who meant well. I didn't get the job. That stuff happened because I was mistreated in the workplace.

It's #MeToo's job to fix these dudes? Whose job is it to explain to people who have power over my career why I struggle to play nice at work sometimes? I've got enough to do fixing myself. Good lord this shit is frustrating.
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:05 PM on August 28, 2018 [81 favorites]


We will never improve relations with bad people if we refuse to treat them like people. This is is evident as much in our War on Terrorists as it is in #metoo.

Hi. Terrorism scholar here. This is an amazing comment that combines bad counterterrorism advice with misogyny.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:30 PM on August 28, 2018 [68 favorites]


Can we talk about the irony of making people watch you perform without their consent being how Louis CK tries to get his career back?
posted by deadcrow at 6:33 PM on August 28, 2018 [61 favorites]


Will that happen if men feel like there is no way back from their worst moments?

I guess men will...what, just get even worse? Hey, I'm a bad guy, might as well rape whoever I want because I'm a bad guy?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:59 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


Can we talk about the irony of making people watch you perform without their consent being how Louis CK tries to get his career back?
posted by deadcrow at 9:33 PM on 8/28
[6 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


The fact that he decided to come back unannounced like that makes it plainly obvious that he does not consider the feelings of others, and probably has done next to no introspection in regards to his behavior.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:09 PM on August 28, 2018 [20 favorites]


Someone made the point that the very act of his showing up unannounced to perform in front of a crowd of unsuspecting strangers is proof that he is not at all sorry about his past behavior, as it is almost a statistical certainty that at least a few members of that captive audience were themselves survivors of sexual assault.
posted by Atom Eyes at 7:39 PM on August 28, 2018 [23 favorites]


While considering what a just societal punishment should be, we might spare a thought for the unintended consequences.

More specifically: let's say we decide that anyone who has confessed or has been credibly accused should be shunned by all of society, forever, never allowed a decent career, etc.

Consider what sort of stronger incentive that might be for future abusers to try to suppress their abuse coming to light. Would they, perhaps, be willing to go to greater and more harmful lengths to keep it secret?

I don't know what the right answer is, but given that this exact sort of unintended consequence has happened innumerable times before, it bears some consideration now.

(This is not specific to Louis CK's case. I don't care in the slightest what happens to him. Never have, still don't. I'm posting this here because, well... he's apparently the gonna be the one to ignite this discussion, so that's where it gets posted.)
posted by -1 at 7:41 PM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


And in all these cases, it's not just the guy "making a comeback". It's the guy (of course) who signed off on comeback guy. "Yeah, do your comeback at my venue/on my channel." It's the guy friends of comeback guy encouraging the comeback. It's just steaming shit all the way up and down.

(I kind of made a stupid assumption that CK had made some kind of apology in some kind of venue or format - I stopped listening or paying attention to him. The fact that he hasn't, and still saw fit to heave himself up onto a stage to tell some funnies, is just gross.)
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:43 PM on August 28, 2018 [9 favorites]


Consider what sort of stronger incentive that might be for future abusers to try to suppress their abuse coming to light. Would they, perhaps, be willing to go to greater and more harmful lengths to keep it secret?

The entire time I was reading what you wrote previously to this, I was nodding. I was cheering inside. Yes! I thought! If we as a society SHUN the awful deeds of men like these men, then we COULD change the culture! Maybe this is the direction we are heading! Glorious!

But then I saw you weren't heading that direction at all. I don't know how to feel about that. I prefer the first feeling.
posted by agregoli at 7:47 PM on August 28, 2018 [13 favorites]


I don't know what the right answer is, but given that this exact sort of unintended consequence has happened innumerable times before, it bears some consideration now.

Also! I'm more concerned with the "unintended consequence" of women being harassed and assaulted for millenia, myself.
posted by agregoli at 7:50 PM on August 28, 2018 [31 favorites]


I believe the idea is that when you take abuse seriously, victims of abuse are more willing to come forward and those who would abuse instead don't, because they know people won't stand by them.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 7:52 PM on August 28, 2018 [33 favorites]


While considering what a just societal punishment should be, we might spare a thought for the unintended consequences.

No. Just, no! I do not give a single fuck. You're out of time. We've been fucking slow to roll for literally centuries on holding men accountable for their transgressions. Let's try something else.

Maybe if we stop talking about it abstractly people like you will start to get it. I'm sick of being sexually assaulted and harassed. It started when I was 8, and since then has not stopped. Being called derrogatory names at the age of twelve. Stabbed in the breasts with safely pins. Solicited by grown men at the age of 16. Forced to kiss a homeless man in his 60s. Catcalled every month. Hands thrusted up my skirt on public transportation, men exposing themselves to me. Having literally every single sexual decision come under scrutiny, constantly. I had a first date that could almost be a play by play of what happened with Ansari, except he succeeded in the rape. I encounter dozens of men, online, every single day of my damn life that treat me misogynisticly. I'm bombarded with ideas from people like Trump, Elliot Rogers, Daniel Tosh. I'm regarded as less than a human. I am simultaneously disgusting and yet a conquest. Even the so-called "nice guys". Not even a year ago I went on a date with a self proclaimed feminist, we we're kissing in his car, he had us up all the way against the passenger door, unable to back up. I pushed against his chest to get distance from him. He didn't acknowledge the pressure. Later when I asked about it he said "yeah I noticed, I thought you were being coy".

Time is up. We act now. Every damn day we hem and haw about this, more women lose their jobs, careers, safety, sanity. No more!
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:20 PM on August 28, 2018 [80 favorites]


Look, I'm a guy. I understand the concerns some guys are voicing here. It seems messy and uncomfortable and did I do something wrong way back when and wouldn't it be great if we could work this out in a court room. And, wow, the scale of the problem!

For better or worse (depending on your perspective), that scale means most abusers won't get their just desserts. It's just not happening. I mean this is a thread about how even the Headline #MeToo Abusers are getting off fairly unscathed. Whatever MetaFilter's overarching perspective, the fact of the matter is most people out there are far more willing to forgive these transgressions (if they cared in the first place).

So maybe Louis CK's trajectory wanes a bit and Kevin Spacey's films go direct-to-video for a while. And people are justifiably angry and things seem unfair and a lot of op-eds get written and a MeFi commenter gets taken to task and everything's confusing. Nothing seems settled, but little by little things change.

That's how it goes.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 8:21 PM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


This is is evident as much in our War on Terrorists as it is in #metoo.

I don't know exactly what this means, even in context, but you wanna talk about terrorism? Let's talk about terrorism for a second.

Louis drove or attempted to drive five women out of comedy. He did it via the mechanism of jacking off in front of them, but understand that the eventual result is the same, and he knows that. It's part of it for him, and for the people who enable him. It keeps the club exclusive. It hurts the viability of these women as comedians, or gets them to quit the industry.

All of it is terrorism.

This?

I just... I can't care. I feel like there's no way back from my worst moment, except that moment happened to me. It was not my own terrible, abusive self that caused it. My career has been permanently impacted by the way men chose to treat me (and the way I responded to it), and I'm only 31, and I didn't get rich in the process. I didn't respond perfectly to a bad situation and it affects how potential employers see me.

I mean, I've cried in a job interview because of questions I was asked, by nice people who meant well. I didn't get the job. That stuff happened because I was mistreated in the workplace.

It's #MeToo's job to fix these dudes? Whose job is it to explain to people who have power over my career why I struggle to play nice at work sometimes? I've got enough to do fixing myself. Good lord this shit is frustrating.


Is a real person, who is typing words into the text box on this website just like everyone else who has commented here, has been terrorized, whose prospects have been damaged by it. It's fucking criminal. I'm so sorry that happened to you, Emmy Rae.

Fucking compare this shit with the war on terror. Give me a fucking break. The only terrorism Americans need to worry about is the terrorism inflicted by the ruling class on everyone else. By white cis het toxic men. The rest is peanuts compared to our mass shootings alone, which is all of the same rotten tree, just a different shaped apple.
posted by Caduceus at 8:22 PM on August 28, 2018 [38 favorites]


Jenny Yang has a very good Twitter thread on what actions could actually lead to some sort of redemption.

And the thing is, Louis CK has done none of those things. He has not given up his wealth. He has not given up on his privilege. He has not even confessed to the full extent of his crimes. He is slinking back as if he was a child coming back from time-out, not a grown man who has committed serious crimes.

It's funny how so many people are saying "IS THIS WHAT WE ARE NOW, DO WE JUST PUNISH THESE MEN FOREVER WITH NO HOPE OF ATONEMENT" when there has been neither any punishment nor any attempts to atone.
posted by storytam at 8:24 PM on August 28, 2018 [33 favorites]


So, if I'm having trouble getting a grasp on an issue, I try and compare it with something smaller more personal that I can understand better. So like in this case, if I owned a business and one of my employees just came to work one day and started masturbating in front of people...

Would I fire them?

Yes.

Would I hire them back ever?

No.

Would I ever give them a good recommendation to anyone in a million years?

Hahaha no.


Sooo... what makes a situation where I'm considering giving money to a comedian any different. Honestly, the only thing that comes to mind is that in the example case I'd have a higher social status than the employee, and in the real life case a famous comedian has a higher social status than me. So... is that really something I think should reasonably affect my judgment? I don't think it is.
posted by Zalzidrax at 8:28 PM on August 28, 2018 [35 favorites]


Not being able to ride the wave of fame and success that was built largely upon a foundation of your own predatory and abusive acts upon the women around you... not being able to effortlessly slide back into the same career that would grant the same potential of abuse of power - this is not REMOTELY being shunned from society or denied a decent career. I don't understand how anyone can conflate thinking maybe Louis CK should stay the fuck out of his prior career with denying him any sort of rehabilitation, they simply aren't the same thing.

Like, if someone in a financial institution voluntarily sold client info and profited off of it, most people wouldn’t say “hey, come back into this position of trust and accountability, all you have to do is let us know you’ve thought really hard about what you’ve done” - that'd be crazy, right?

So why isn't it just as crazy to allow Louis CK to just waltz back into the same fame, glory and power he had before? (Spoiler: We value celebrity over the lives of women.)

This is really a bit of an absurd comparison, as the two crimes are nothing alike - one involves you directly interacting with the victims and making deliberate choices and taking deliberate actions to abuse them, while being very aware of their reactions to it. The other doesn’t even require you know who your victims are.

Think really hard about literally any crime that involves abusing anyone in any way via power and authority, and if you would happily see that person walk right back into that role after what amounted to a poor forced apology. His was basically the equivalent of writing "I will not masturbate in front of co-workers" a hundred times on a blackboard... that's the level of "rehabilitation" we've seen from him.

And if you haven’t already, then think long and hard about what all of this means for how we value women in our society... if you think denying Louis CK easy re-entry into a life of fame, money, prestige - and most importantly, power - is a bad thing, then you most certainly need to think about that much much harder.
posted by MysticMCJ at 8:34 PM on August 28, 2018 [16 favorites]


The thing is, we all know it's incredibly goddamned rare that a guy would actually try to atone and make amends for this. I cannot think of a single dude who has even really tried. If anyone knows of anyone who's done it, I'd love to hear it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:21 PM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


If the accused are still alive and breathing, and were not found guilty in a criminal court of a prosecutable crime and as a general rule some people are still uncomfortable with this individual, then some people ought to be comfortable calling a Spade a Spade and admit that social media has caused a regression from Trial by Jury to Trial by Public Shaming, rule of law secondary. And if that's how we want to live, that's 100% okay. But we should be honest about it.

Wow, I would have thought it was tough to favorably use the phrase "call a spade a spade" and then argue against criticizing a guy who jacks off in front of women. But you made it look effortless.

You have one part wrong though. Being willing to criticize behavior without feeling the need to prosecute it is a good thing, not a step backwards. We don't need to involve the government in every little thing.

Public shaming can get overdone, but that's a different argument. If you're real complaint is that you don't think pulling down your pants in front of women, unbidden and unwelcomed, is worthy of criticism you should make that argument plainly.
posted by mark k at 9:29 PM on August 28, 2018 [9 favorites]


When my children engage with various media and media actors, the questions I suggest for critical assessment are, "Would you like this person in your home? How would you feel if this took place in your home?"

In applying that standard, these media men never made it over my threshold, so my knowledge of their oeuvre is limited and observational rather than participatory.

Logic dictates that if you are a creepy, manipulative abuser of women, then you are a creepy manipulative abuser. How does this manifest? My assessment was that it was material that came across to me as creepy, abusive and manipulative. Maybe it was acting, but I was not going to hang around to find out if it came from a place of knowledge.

And I don't give a tinker's toss if that is not what was it was "meant" to be. If I don't think the joke is funny, that is not on me as the audience, that is on the comic who does not know how to tell a joke properly.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 9:35 PM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


> jenfullmoon:
"I cannot think of a single dude who has even really tried. If anyone knows of anyone who's done it, I'd love to hear it."

Megan Ganz called Dan Harmon's apology to her a "masterclass." I haven't kept tabs on what has or hasn't happened since.

> mark k:
"If you're real complaint is that you don't think pulling down your pants in front of women, unbidden and unwelcomed, is worthy of criticism you should make that argument plainly."

It's worth noting that the user you are replying to disabled their MetaFilter account hours ago.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 9:36 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


Eh, also that I occasionally confuse your and you're dammit.
posted by mark k at 9:40 PM on August 28, 2018


I do find parts of this tough to answer. On one level it's easy for me personally, as I instantly went from fan who hadn't caught up on his TV show yet, to having zero interest in ever watching it. A year later I haven't thought about him much and turns out still don't want to see him.

OTOH I'm excited by Florida Dem candidate having banned discrimination against once incarcerated people and I can't quite square this circle.

suppose he has to spend the rest of his life making a living in boring jobs rather than his dream career. That's exactly how life works for the majority of humans!

I have trouble answering the question for myself why someone who is to sleazy for Hollywood is acceptable waiting tables at a diner. I'm not making some subtle point here, I find it hard to sort that out.

That's the line in the sand I would like to see. Oh, you become successful and famous in your field, and then use that against other people? Find another job you are no longer welcome here.

That's an interesting way to look at it. It's like we erase the records of that job. You don't get to profit from the contacts or professional skills you made at that job. I think it's the closest to a "rule" I've seen that seems fair to me and to fit the offense.

Sleazy actor can get work but not based on his fame. He could learn web design or do home inspections. OTOH a sleazy VC could start their second career at the bottom rung of comedy clubs, if they really want, as long as they don't hit up money men to get roles in pictures or something.
posted by mark k at 10:12 PM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


suppose he has to spend the rest of his life making a living in boring jobs rather than his dream career. That's exactly how life works for the majority of humans!

Thisthisthisthis times a million. Nobody is saying he can’t ever earn a living again. In fact, there are plenty of isolated jobs where he wouldn’t have power over anyone. But there’s no special reason that because he was once rich and famous he deserves to continue to always be.
posted by corb at 10:27 PM on August 28, 2018 [13 favorites]


There are soon going to be so many litmus tests in the wild for “is this person someone I want to spend time with?” e.g. in dating. I’m still shocked that Chris Brown is guesting on people’s tracks, but it tells me something about those artists and the fans who listen to those songs.
posted by mantecol at 10:30 PM on August 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


What I'm looking for from people who've been accused of wrongdoing is not just working with their PR teams to see what's the absolute minimum they can do to get away with their careers intact (whether it be write a shitty apology, or go into hiding until some other chump's under the microscope, or pretend to be concerned for long enough, or make a big donation to RAINN, or do some gladhanding with, I don't know, Patrick Stewart, or seed some disinformation with the right people to cast doubt on the accuser's motivations, or whatever).

What I want is for folks who go under the social microscope to actually give a shit about their accusers and figure out what really making amends looks like, and go do that for a while.

That's my primary goal. And I'd be happy to help folks figure that out, or at least make a fucking attempt to do it. I have reasonable rates and I've helped other companies do it, or at least make an attempt, before. I'd even provide pointers for free. And so would many other random people on the Internet, if only the accused's PR people would even listen to one of us.
posted by kalessin at 10:50 PM on August 28, 2018 [9 favorites]


I found this Hollywood Reporter interview with the Comedy Cellar owner really interesting.

If I'm understanding him correctly, he's saying that once CK walked in and said he wanted to perform, his employees did the expected thing in putting him on even though "it's not an open mic" because he's famous, and that he basically doesn't want to be in the business of censoring comedy (other than by deciding who's famous enough to open the mic).

He says it's a free speech issue, others will say it's crass pandering to the worst instincts of the audience. But if this is how club owners think, it sounds like keeping him out of that part of the industry is going to be impossible without a lot more work by a lot of people. Keeping him from voicing a talking animal in a Disney movie is probably a lot simpler.
posted by smelendez at 11:10 PM on August 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


And I have other comedians work here who I've heard accusations of worse things than Louis, worse than sexual harassment. If everybody we know that has done something they're really ashamed of, like that last scene in [Avengers:] Infinity War, we'd see people disappearing all around us. At Thanksgiving dinner you'd see people being vaporized.

lol he thinks this is a bad thing i guess? he's wrong.

also i note he fails to mention the 10k put into his pocket, what a surprise.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:25 PM on August 28, 2018 [23 favorites]


Is there a source on that $10k anywhere besides that gossip blog blind item?

It says: "This former A+ list comedian/A list actor paid $10K to get himself on stage this weekend."
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 11:34 PM on August 28, 2018


People keep using the word "atonement" as if sitting offstage for nine months constitutes some kind of grand and grave gesture. If we want to talk about a path forward, it might be more useful to think not in terms of atonement, but in terms of restorative justice.

Yes, this exactly. I am fully on board with the concept of restorative justice. I am not on board with abusers thinking they can just hide out of the public eye for a bit and all must be forgiven when they deem they've been away from the spotlight long enough enough.

Why are people so worried about the abuser being exiled from society? Why aren't we demanding restitution from them for their victims?
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:44 AM on August 29, 2018 [10 favorites]


What does it mean for Louis CK to go away? I keep hearing he should go and do something less public. As though abuse doesn't happen everywhere there's a power differential. As though wealth and prominence has ever been a reward for good behavior, miserable jobs a punishment for bad.

Being so public going forward, so famous, that is part of establishing the kind of power differential in question. Never mind how it normalises and excuses it more broadly, u demonstrating to the public at large that it's not a big enough deal to actually matter in any practical way.

In an ideal world, he'd be riding a desk or janitorial job - something with no public profile, and no position of authority over anyone. So shelf stacker, fine and dandy. Shelf stacking supervisor, absolutely not. He cannot be trusted with any power, nevermind the gobs of it that comes with continued success in a competitive and public field like comedy.
posted by Dysk at 2:35 AM on August 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


It can’t just be me who assumes that men who argue so hard for “redemption” of serial sexual assault are doing so out of self interest.
posted by winna at 4:32 AM on August 29, 2018 [35 favorites]


I have trouble answering the question for myself why someone who is to sleazy for Hollywood is acceptable waiting tables at a diner. I'm not making some subtle point here, I find it hard to sort that out.

A guy waiting tables at a diner rarely attains the kind of reputation that makes other aspiring table-waiters seek him out for advice, thus putting themselves into a position where he can force them to watch him masturbate.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:43 AM on August 29, 2018 [10 favorites]


Some people have brought up the idea of restorative justice here, which makes sense. There's no one definition of RJ (I think the wikipedia article is pretty decent) but generally it involves the offender, if he has already demonstrated at least some readiness to take responsibility, meeting formally (under trained mediators) with the people who have been harmed by his offense. That can mean just the individuals directly harmed, and it can also mean everyone who's been harmed indirectly, including entire communities. Everyone gets to speak. Generally listening to those who have been harmed talk about their harm builds a sense of true responsibility and remorse in the offender. The offender doesn't get to just offer an apology or even just express culpability; real remorse requires but goes beyond that.

Ultimately, the people who have been harmed explain what they need from the offender and what they feel would count as restitution. The offender and those he has harmed reach an agreement where together they define the steps he is going to take as restitution.

For some abuser to just apologize and stay out of the way for a bit is not considered restitution in this kind of framework. Restitution would involve him meeting in person with the people he has harmed and committing to do what they need of him, not what he thinks is enough or what people who have not been harmed are willing to accept from him.

That is one potential answer for "but what should we do with them".
posted by trig at 4:59 AM on August 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


At Thanksgiving dinner you'd see people being vaporized.
How do I sign up for this?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:24 AM on August 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


No entertainer is entitled to my money or esteem, even if they’ve never done anything wrong. I am free to just not like them and not provide my patronage. They certainly aren’t entitled to it after they HAVE something wrong, egregiously wrong and tremendously damaging in fact, and I am certainly in no way socially obligated to rehabilitate their reputation (not even their behavior, just their reputation) by giving them my time and money as some sort of act of forgiveness.

Let them be broke, try to get jobs doing whatever, have to go back to college and learn a new career, and then try to get hired despite everyone knowing what they did. That’s literally what everyone else has to do, especially people who REPORT sexual misconduct. If that sort of years-long reinvention is required of anyone, it should be required of the perpetrators.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:36 AM on August 29, 2018 [21 favorites]


No entertainer is entitled to my money or esteem, even if they’ve never done anything wrong.

Full agreement. If "because I feel like it" is sufficient justification for why I bought a salad yesterday over stir fry, why am I obligated to provide the equivalent of a judicial brief to justify not watching someone? I'm not paid to watch these people, I don't get any academic credit or credentials for watching them, and I'm not interested in writing about them. So why is it so critical that I watch CK or anyone else for that matter?
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:12 AM on August 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


Just wanted to drop in and mention that as painful as “yet another powerful man is a sexual predator who got away with it for decades due to a network of other men protecting him” always is, it’s actually something I expect at this point.

But “progressive” men being so eager to jump on the bandwagon of “ohhhh, but what if he’s really sorry? Not that he's done anything other than release a PR statement to that effect, but what if he wants his old life back and he just isn’t interested in making amends and isn’t that okay? Maybe it’s time! Maybe women need to accept that if they don’t magnanimously forgive sexual predators and give them lots of money that men won’t be as interested in their desire not to be raped” is WAY WORSE, for me personally. The eagerness to absolve a series of horrific crimes because “oh he didn’t get to do his dream job for a few months, he had to sit home and collect residual checks without hearing people applaud him on the regular, isn’t that punishment enough” is just a gut punch of a reminder that so many men still do not understand what this whole discussion is about. If you don’t think what he did was monstrous, then you still don’t understand what he did.

I am also sick to death of hearing about how “no women in the audience got up and stormed out, so you must be overreacting!” I cannot tell you how much my body shuts down when a man who frightens me is nearby. How my breath speeds up. How my hands go cold. How I lose the ability to speak, let alone move. These are defense mechanisms that have been taught to me by men since I was a child— not on purpose, but because the experience of living in a world where another person can become a monster on a dime is profoundly disorienting and destabilizing. I would not have walked out of that audience. I would have sat, frozen and horrified, hearing the applause around me like mockery.

Oh, and no men in the audience getting up and leaving— no fucking kidding. Of course they didn’t. They are just so eager for him to be ~redeemed~.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:20 AM on August 29, 2018 [45 favorites]


And what if women had gotten up and stormed out? Would we be talking about how they need to forgive, and are unfairly “punishing” a guy when the reality is that he torpedoed his own career?
posted by Autumnheart at 6:28 AM on August 29, 2018 [19 favorites]


-1: While considering what a just societal punishment should be, we might spare a thought for the unintended consequences.

More specifically: let's say we decide that anyone who has confessed or has been credibly accused should be shunned by all of society, forever, never allowed a decent career, etc.

Consider what sort of stronger incentive that might be for future abusers to try to suppress their abuse coming to light. Would they, perhaps, be willing to go to greater and more harmful lengths to keep it secret?


I think this is kind of what Michael Ian Black was getting at (but with excessive sympathy for Louis) -- the notion that burning bridges can seem strategic but is counterproductive if it means cutting off the enemy's avenue of retreat, incentivizing them to fight harder, like a cornered animal. There's a logic to worry about that.

But... this is sort of trivially true for the whole shebang of "justice". Like, suppose Richard Nixon hadn't been pardoned and were instead tried, sentenced, and imprisoned. Arguably, that would teach future corrupt politicians "don't get caught" rather than "don't break the law". But do we therefore throw in the towel on having and enforcing laws?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:31 AM on August 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


Those women would have been stalked online and gotten death threats within hours if any conspicuously walked out, probably.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:32 AM on August 29, 2018 [24 favorites]


I don’t know what greater lengths and more harmful mechanisms an abuser would engage in, that would somehow be easier to hide than smaller and less egregious infractions. Like what, instead of just masturbating in front of someone and letting them walk out, a guy will instead decide to tie the person up and rape and murder them? So maybe we shouldn’t impose consequences on the small stuff?

This isn’t like throwing people into prison for having an ounce of weed. These are not victimless crimes. And moreover we are in the era of everyone being in constant possession of a camera. We’ve got a reality TV star going on news shows with hours of clandestine video from the freakin’ White House. Nobody is going to get to hide their shit. Which, frankly, is going to do more to get people to reconsider the wisdom of their behavior more than any amount of leniency will ever accomplish. You WILL get caught and your shit WILL hit the fan. If anything, abusers should perhaps examine the lack of their own paranoia and not give themselves any more opportunities to get busted, if not by the law then definitely by the public.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:45 AM on August 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


burning bridges can seem strategic but is counterproductive if it means cutting off the enemy's avenue of retreat, incentivizing them to fight harder, like a cornered animal

Depends if you're looking to make your enemy retreat (temporarily from public life) or not. If you're looking to eradicate them (from public life), it's not counter productive.
posted by Dysk at 6:49 AM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Lewis CK, Aziz Ansari, Casey Affleck, Johnny Depp, and Chris Hardwick have faced less backlash for their behavior than Winona Ryder, Katherine Heigl, Megan Fox, and Mo'nique and the women never actually abused other people.

Fuck those guys.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 6:55 AM on August 29, 2018 [51 favorites]


The crazy thing is, they wouldn’t be eradicated from public life. They could invest their money in the stock market and live off the interest, go wherever they want, live wherever they want, take up underwater basketweaving, fly helicopters, learn to paint, or run for mayor. The only thing they would give up is their fame. They otherwise have exactly zero barriers on their freedom of movement.

And what exactly is “fighting harder” in this context? They act like bigger assholes, more publicly, than they otherwise would, like Trump on Twitter? They just flat-out lie and put the burden on the victim to try to dig themselves out from the slander? Isn’t that what already happens? What is the incentive to NOT come down like a ton of bricks on this behavior whenever it occurs?
posted by Autumnheart at 7:00 AM on August 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


It also never fails to boggle my mind when people actually say, “Well, what do you expect me to do, go my whole entire life without pulling my dick out at work even once?” as if that is some incredibly unrealistic and unfair expectation that nobody could possibly achieve. As if our society simply will not advance if we don’t provide opportunities for dick-flashing.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:07 AM on August 29, 2018 [25 favorites]


The crazy thing is, they wouldn’t be eradicated from public life [...] The only thing they would give up is their fame.

That is exactly what I mean by public life yes.
posted by Dysk at 7:15 AM on August 29, 2018


(For folks who are interested in restorative justice, the excellent and fascinating podcast, Ear Hustle from San Quentin, about San Quentin life, produced by and about San Quentin prisoners, which you ought to be listening to, especially now that there's a Prison Strike, had an episode dedicated to sex trafficking and restorative justice. I highly recommend it. Though there is definitely very uncomfortable listening and talk about triggering subjects, so a huge content warning for this episode in particular. Also be warned that this episode has some long pauses. For example, there's about a 10 to 15 second period of silence around 5:45 minutes.)
posted by kalessin at 7:17 AM on August 29, 2018 [10 favorites]


I understand why people want to discuss whether comedy clubs should book CK again or whether audiences should embrace him if they do, but since both of those things have already happened and seem likely to continue to happen, I am not sure that plants our flag at the right point on the battlefield.

I also understand the urge to propose deeply satisfying sounding extralegal punishments that could be imposed on people like CK on a societal level, but since those aren't happening, I am not sure if that's a great place to focus energy either.

Honestly, I'm not where we should put our efforts in because it feels like this is another case of the game being rigged. At this point, the primary question is how much flak the #metoo movement is going to take for not being forgiving enough or offering a clear enough path to re-acceptance for a man who has acknowledged his transgressions but seems unlikely to do anything substantial to actually try and atone for them. Ten months spent spending money and relaxing before returning to work is some pretty underwhelming comeuppance.

I feel like we're going at this the wrong way, but I have this feeling it's because we've already lost and what else can we even do?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:18 AM on August 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


No, public life is having friends and going to the grocery store, it isn’t fame. Nobody is entitled to fame. And as far as that goes, if one’s own behavior means one loses their friends and get dirty looks in the produce aisle, then.....that’s totally okay. If a person doesn’t want to experience those things, one should not behave in a way that earns that reaction.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:19 AM on August 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


That's a private life. Public life is life in the public eye.
posted by Dysk at 7:21 AM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


all the stuff about how he can just go work at a fast food counter or be a walmart greeter is cathartic and not unreasonable for abusers in general, but it is completely inapplicable in this specific case due to his enormous amount of wealth, and this is genuinely important. Yes, it would be fair for him to go get a normal job like a normal person, but he won't and he doesn't ever have to.

what he is doing now, and what he wants to be doing going forward, is deeply, egregiously misrepresented by thinking of it in terms of "work" and "career" and the get-a-job rhetoric obscures this fact. not because writing and performance aren't legitimately work, but because he is not doing them, has not done them for years, to make a living. His living is a done deal forever. He is imposing himself on the public and re-entering his "career" not because he needs to work, but because he needs praise. attention. applause. the warm fellowship of his male peers and the fearful apprehension of his female peers. He wants to be the kind of person who got away with what he used to do, and you can't do that without power and reputation. you can't make women choke down their disgust and paste on a smile if they're not afraid you can speak a word and damage their lives. He doesn't need any public platform in order to live his life with freedom and money. He wants it because it is a privilege to which he is accustomed and he loves it.

in short, he is doing everything he's doing in pursuit of a deep psychological need, not a financial one. not a creative one, either; you can write by yourself without an audience, and you can write without publishing. the thrill of audience response, like the thrill of making a trapped woman feel something awful, is not about survival but about pleasure.

decent people will deny him his pleasures going forward.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:32 AM on August 29, 2018 [54 favorites]


>No, public life is having friends and going to the grocery store, it isn’t fame. Nobody is entitled to fame.

That's a private life. Public life is life in the public eye.


It's both: it can be used to mean, contextually, either 'life appearing in public' (that is, yes, going to the grocery store is 'public life,'; having dinner at home is 'private life') but also 'public service' or 'having a public identity' (eg, an actor, a politician; someone who can't always go out to get groceries without that act being identified with their work). This is googleable: dictionaries have multiple definitions listed (although some only list one of the other, so maybe it's a regional variations).

This is a semantic distinction and I think you're both actually talking about the same thing w/r/t CK and his ilk with different meanings on the words? (Or maybe not?)
posted by cjelli at 7:38 AM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


all the stuff about how he can just go work at a fast food counter or be a walmart greeter is cathartic and not unreasonable for abusers in general, but it is completely inapplicable in this specific case due to his enormous amount of wealth, and this is genuinely important.

Indeed. While there are ways that having him just retire from public life and live happily from his riches for the rest of his life is unsatisfying, it is what I'd press for. The stuff about jobs with no position of authority or power is a hypothetical to make the same applicable more broadly in the abstract, including to abusers who don't have CK's wealth.
posted by Dysk at 7:38 AM on August 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I may have told this story here before -- during the summer I attended a panel in NYC with the Samantha Bee team, and was floating on the way out. Topics did include Trump, MeToo, the upcoming abortion vote in Ireland, and it was positive and funny and uplifting. It felt like progress.

And then almost immediately after, I saw Louis CK on a street corner being recognized, greeted, and fawned over by two, pretty young women. It looked like CK was loving it. And it felt like the hope I had minutes before was slipping away.
posted by armacy at 7:39 AM on August 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


And everybody who defended him last year because it was so repellent and pathetic that it just had to be a compulsion, a fixation, not a deliberate choice to abuse and humiliate, hey guys the poor man just hates himself and needs help -- I guess they all just take it for granted that now he's back in the clubs, he's going to go on giving in to his compulsions around women for the rest of his life, and now that everybody knows about it there's no more use complaining? since he couldn't help himself, and he's still that self.

or will they seamlessly switch gears to claim he's reformed, of course he'll never do it again, that it's just that easy to change and stop, because it was under his control all along and it was a choice to abuse and humiliate, every single time? what an admission that would be.

if it is not obvious, I think there is not a chance in hell he won't do it again. He may adjust his technique and style slightly, and he may not.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:48 AM on August 29, 2018 [21 favorites]


When I read about this I could think about was all of the women he victimized having to see all of this play out and to be reminded yet again of his existence, let alone the fact that he's back on stage. And he got a fucking standing ovation, while some of those women quit their entire career because of him.

Yeah, sorry if I have less empathy for Louis CK than I do for literally multiple abused women. And while I'd like to say 'and I'm not sure how anyone else could' I'm not as optimistic as I used to be about that.
posted by nogoodverybad at 8:00 AM on August 29, 2018 [14 favorites]


The consequences for Luis CK are likely to bump him out of the elite 1%, where the field ends up promoting more people like him. Those consequences are unlikely to involve becoming utterly unemployable.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 8:33 AM on August 29, 2018


There's this dude who sexually assaulted me, a long time ago.

Every year or two he emails me and demands that I forgive him, because forgiveness is good for the world and for our souls. Every time, I tell him to fuck off and stop contacting me.

I used to point him to resources for perpetrators who want to take accountability, but I stopped doing that, because it's so obvious that he doesn't give a shit about that.

So, that definitely shapes my experience of this "Local rapist is back, demanding your forgiveness and having done nothing to earn it" plot arc. It's boring and I'm sick of it.
posted by ITheCosmos at 8:40 AM on August 29, 2018 [49 favorites]


And what if women had gotten up and stormed out?

Yeah, I've seen enough standup sets to know that this rarely goes well for them.

Even when the comic doesn't go after them with full anti-heckler guns blazing, he (the comic) will almost always at least say something to or about the person as they are exiting, typically sneeringly and with a large dose of condescension.

So I would imagine that, rather than having to run that gauntlet, many of those women just sat quietly waiting for it to end.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:17 AM on August 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


"he got a standing ovation"
"And what if women had gotten up and stormed out?"


Does no one remember that time a woman wasnt having it with Daniel Tosh making rape jokes, and in response he practically tried to incite 5 guys to gang rape her because it would be hilarious? I have zero time to listen to men's opinions on the actions of the women in the audience.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:24 AM on August 29, 2018 [59 favorites]


For folks who are interested in restorative justice, the excellent and fascinating podcast, Ear Hustle from San Quentin, about San Quentin life

I absolutely support restorative justice, but not really in assault cases unless the victim specifically asks for it. Even having it suggested to me for that would be... let's say problematic bc it sounds better than "murderous".
posted by poffin boffin at 9:38 AM on August 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


Why should the walkout expectation be placed on the women of the crowd? I would have liked to see a substantial fraction of the audience get up and walk out, all genders. That would send messages to the performer and the club-owner that it will take more than just showing up again to win the crowd back.

And going forward, I hope the consuming audiences of various forms of media start looking deeper into the behaviors of the people we support with our entertainment budgets. I don’t know how that’s done without going hardline and judging people on superficial things, the way a religious group might, but the realest problem with all these abusers was the years they spent getting away with their abuse. Same goes for any other professionals we support with our dollars. We need to do a better job of discovering and shutting those situations down immediately. Imagine how many predators are currently getting away with similar things but are not famous enough yet to be blasted by #MeToo.

The original #MeToo post that I saw had intentions beyond just getting some famous dudes in trouble, so let’s not get too distracted by them. That’s just what the everyday predators want, for 90% of the heat to be focused on some abstract stars. But this is about creating a safer world for everyone. And it’s not going to be easy, because most predators aren’t big stars whose employers will fire them at the first hint of an allegation. For most people, the burden of proof falls more on the victim.
posted by mantecol at 9:45 AM on August 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


Is this group of people thinking it's OK to make a comeback now because there is a sense that #MeToo is losing power? With the revelation one of the most vocal spokespeople paid off her own accuser, the reaction on Twitter was largely one of concern that it would weaken the movement. Initially I couldn't believe people would be so surprised that some percentage of people in the movement had committed offenses of their own. Now, I am not so sure. Granted, there were probably people who would have simply seized on something had this not come along. And maybe it didn't take a scandal at all; maybe it's just that hard for a movement like this to keep up momentum. Maybe all it gets is about three to four seasons, and a lot of attention to powerful famous people before it even has a chance to help most of the people harassment affects.
posted by BibiRose at 9:53 AM on August 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


I think this whole Louis CK situation is a perfect illustration of how the stakes are so different for men and women. It's like that Margaret Atwood quote: "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them."

A lot of men seem to be concerned about society not giving harassers and rapists a chance to redeem themselves.

The rest of us are concerned about society not giving close to one tenth of a shit that HARASSMENT AND RAPE ARE AN EPIDEMIC WITH DEPRESSINGLY FEW CONSEQUENCES.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:57 AM on August 29, 2018 [35 favorites]


As an aspiring creative who got assaulted by a white guy creative in the entertainment industry in the same way that Louis CK did, I'm just coming in here to tell you that everyone who is thinking there is something to "debate" is supporting someone who is a criminal and a confessed sex offender. It's misogyny and capitalism talking here. No one who hasn't experienced what it's like or perpetuates it themselves who want to book him again gives a shit, because the benefits and joy he gives makes more joy to those individuals than the long term impact of supporting artists who aren't fucked. Do you even understand how painful it is? We are literally assaulted to be told that being creative has no space for us and we can't make a living out of being us, because how dare we exist as anyone else, and our only worth is as an exploited pleasure object with no agency. Do you have any idea of how dehumanizing and disgusting that is?
posted by yueliang at 10:02 AM on August 29, 2018 [22 favorites]


BibiRose: With the revelation one of the most vocal spokespeople paid off her own accuser, the reaction on Twitter was largely one of concern that it would weaken the movement.

I can't be the only one who literally never heard of Asia Argento until this new revelation, can I? In fact I'd venture to say that MeToo never had a "face". (It's not like how, say, TakeAKnee clearly began with Colin Kaepernick.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:14 AM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]




The Vulture has posted a report on the set from the perspective of two female audience members. The situation was apparently more disgusting than was thought, with a comment about being "clean as a whistle" leading into jokes about rape whistles not being clean, and the women feeling utterly uncomfortable with the audience response.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:24 AM on August 29, 2018 [26 favorites]


Thanks for the link, NoxAeternum. And ugh:
"Both women say the set was awkward, but the first woman was particularly upset by it. “It was an all-male set to begin with. Then, it’s sort of exacerbated by [C.K.’s] presence,” she said. “If someone had heckled him, I think they would’ve been heckled out. It felt like there were a lot of aggressive men in the audience and very quiet women. It’s the kind of vibe that doesn’t allow for a dissenting voice. You’re just expected to be a good audience member. You’re considered a bad sport if you speak out."

...

The woman told Vulture that it was tense to watch C.K. make jokes in a room so obviously welcoming of him. “You hear this big, loud guy sitting next to you, yelling, ‘Oh, it’s so great to have you back, Louis,’ and people cheering and giving him a standing ovation,” she said. “Our voice is definitely not going to be prioritized in that space. [Dworman] says we can’t [have a discourse] properly. How do you think the women in that room felt? It’s just really frustrating.” "
I feel ill just thinking about being trapped in that space, full of women looking around and seeing men they know for who they really are. I've experienced that vibe, when men's exuberance has this undercurrent of "you aren't going to make a scene, are you? You're going to be a cool girl about this, right?"
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:33 AM on August 29, 2018 [42 favorites]


I, an accused abuser of women, have decided that I have atoned enough (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
I’m back! I know I admitted to doing some lousy things to women who trusted me and looked up to me. But don’t worry. I atoned.

I did Whole 30. I walked across a lake of fire. I listened to some podcasts where people did not hold back. I did sit-ups. I lived in a hut. In a hair shirt! By candlelight! For a year! Well, less than a year. And not by candlelight. Or in a hut. Or any of those other things. But for a period of literal months, I did not do something that I wanted to do. Which is an extremely long time. […]

It doesn’t seem fair that today if you do something bad, you’re just — stuck. Like, you can literally make “Ignition (Remix)” and people are like, nope, still a bad person. And you’re supposed to go away forever. Forever? That’s like, multiple minutes. I’m just supposed to sit underground forever where no light shines, like some kind of albino mushroom or a woman’s career?

I’m not denying that I did something that was wrong. I do understand that. I feel bad. I have felt bad! I felt really bad for a really long time! People yelled at me, and I had to sit there and listen to them tell me that I made them feel bad, and I felt bad. That is a terrible feeling. I don’t want to overstate this, but I think it is literally the worst feeling in the world, having other people tell you that you did something wrong.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:22 AM on August 29, 2018 [26 favorites]


Asia Argento and Rose McGowan are very good at getting attention, whatever the topic, and both have their own questionable histories (one certainly seems to be a predator and the other has supported rapists). Neither of them - or any actress - started Me Too. It was started 12 years ago by Tarana Burke to help women of color understand that they weren't alone and that women coming together over this topic has power, inspired by a 13yr old girl telling her she'd been raped. Tarana Burke didn't know how to react properly and as she thought of it later she felt the most affirming thing she could've said in that moment was "me too."
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:38 AM on August 29, 2018 [32 favorites]


but not really in assault cases unless the victim specifically asks for it. Even having it suggested to me for that would be

To be absolutely clear and forthright, I made the recommendation to learn more about restorative justice via the podcast only because it provides information. It is not my intent and not on my agenda to require restorative justice for anyone, nor even suggest it.
posted by kalessin at 11:39 AM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Local rapist is back, demanding your forgiveness and having done nothing to earn it" plot arc.

This. Like I feel like they think the consequences are people know they are shitty and that is not the consequences, that is not even close to the consequences, you fucking asshats.
posted by corb at 11:48 AM on August 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


(yes, i'm aware, i'm sorry if my thread-related thoughts about the subject seemed, idk, accusatory? or like i was saying you personally thought it was appropriate for this specific incident. i meant to go into more detail about how much i generally like RJ for stuff like situations involving minors and/or first time offenders of nonviolent crimes, like theft or vandalism or whatever, but i got distracted by a dog video.)
posted by poffin boffin at 11:50 AM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I have multiple times given my first rapist opportunities to atone. He's my brother and so I tried to get what I needed so he could return to the family. I at the time wasn't even asking for a lot - I wanted him to admit it to me without equivocating, I wanted him to hear how he harmed me and how that harm continues, and I wanted him to go to therapy specifically focused on helping him to not be a rapist. I never got even the first part of my first demand even though he has admitted it to multiple other people including his husband. The last time I tried to open this dialogue with him, after his husband said my brother wanted to heal what was between us, by writing him an email laying out the roadmap, his husband wrote my mother and threatened to kill us both if I ever brought it up again. The husband's father is also a retired federal judge and we were threatened with legal stuff for my "lies and harassment."

In my experiences, most sexual offenders do not actually want to rehabilitate, even when they swear on a stack that they do. Even an incredibly conniving master manipulator wasn't able to just say what he did to me in order to receive things he very much seemed to want (the chance to be back in my mom's life and manipulate her through his son who has never cared about except as a weapon).

If somehow I was ever open to allowing him to apologize again, my demands now would include shitloads of money.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:04 PM on August 29, 2018 [21 favorites]


Which I guess is all to say, that even if a victim is up for restorative justice, I have little faith that the type of people who serially commit these sorts of crimes would engage.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:07 PM on August 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


I should clarify that I'm not talking about the actuality of who deserves credit for the Me Too movement, but rather the possibility that the movement is vulnerable to being jeopardized by misbehavior from "The Me Too Woman", simply because in the public mind there isn't one.

That said: Tarana Burke should be much more recognized (without the risks entailed by hitching everything to her, specifically).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:14 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Deirdre Coyle on Twitter: To people saying that serial abusers deserve a second chance: Their second chance was the second person they abused. Their third chance was the third person they abused. Their fourth chance was the fourth person they abused. Their fifth chance was the fifth person they abused. Th
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:30 PM on August 29, 2018 [30 favorites]


If you've not read the Twitter thread by Jenny Yang linked by storytam above, you should read it. She's brilliant and it's a worthwhile read.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:50 PM on August 29, 2018




No. Just, no! I do not give a single fuck. You're out of time.
We've been fucking slow to roll for literally centuries on holding men
accountable for their transgressions. Let's try something else.

Maybe if we stop talking about it abstractly people like you will start to get
it.
I'm not really sure what you think I don't "get" or what I'm "out of time" for.

Did you think I was advocating that abusers be given some sort of free pass? Because for the life of me I can't see where I said that, or why I would.

Or did you assume that because my post wasn't an expression of sufficient quantities of outrage that I must somehow automatically be "one of the bad guys" and thus worthy of your scorn?

Given your reaction, I suppose I should say what I feel as well:

Abuse like this happens because not everyone is wired correctly, and because most of our society's defense layers that are supposed to prevent their actions and to protect us from them didn't.

And they still don't.

All we've managed so far is to kill a couple celebrity careers... mostly... for a while. And now our biggest problem with that is "man, we should make sure they don't come back".

That's where my post was coming from. If our approach to this is focusing on the magnitude of reaction to discovery after the fact, we're pretty much just repeating the mistakes made fighting numerous other social problems. More punishment after the bad guys are caught, that'll fix it!

But it doesn't, does it? It maybe makes the perpetrators more worried of getting caught, sure, but does it actually deter?

It doesn't work in the War on Drugs, and it doesn't work when preventing violence.

There's an interesting parallel with that last one here. Did you ever see "The Interrupters"? If you haven't, you might want to check it out. One of the ways that you can address violence is by having people in a community close to the acts try to intervene before things get to that point. Sure, it's easier to campaign on "more years behind bars" and "tough on crime", but how well is
that working for us? The focus of that documentary was a group of people who try to intercede in their community before the crimes happen.

That should be all of us, but... well, it's not easy. Especially not for topics like sex, abuse, or rape. Nobody wants to "be lame", or to take a friend aside and say "Hey, what the fuck, that's wrong". And especially early on in the cycle, there's a temptation to avoid confrontation. "He wasn't serious". "That's just how he is". I know there were times in the past when I could have confronted a peer of mine over something they said, and didn't. I doubt I'm alone in that.

So no, I don't want to mostly focus on ensuring maximum social condemnation after the fact, because I don't have much faith that will produce any real changes.

Personally? I want people to focus on "interrupting" all the steps that lead up to shit like this, and I think that our Two Minutes Hate and anger that we're not shunning hard enough are giant distractions from the real problem: that we as a society suck at intervening and breaking the cycles well before this sort of thing happens.

That's where my post was coming from, and where my head was when I wrote that. I didn't elaborate because I didn't want to be misunderstood and get flamed. I should have.
posted by -1 at 1:49 PM on August 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


. Sure, it's easier to campaign on "more years behind bars" and "tough on crime",

This is literally not happening with rape. How about we start getting rapists behind bars before we start comparing it to the war on drugs.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:57 PM on August 29, 2018 [22 favorites]


I wish you good fortune in your endeavor to interrupt abuse before it starts! Be sure to tell us how it's going, in 20 - 25 years.

I wish you ill fortune in Telling People Their Problems Aren't Important, which is what you are engaged in now. Maybe you should focus on Doing The Thing you claim to want to do?

just a thought.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:59 PM on August 29, 2018 [19 favorites]


More punishment after the bad guys are caught, that'll fix it!

I think it's a fundamental misunderstanding to view people's reaction as "punishment." What if we took the view that people were reacting out of a sense of self-preservation? Someone who has repeatedly assaulted, abused, harassed and harmed people is seeking to gain a position of power again, a position of power similar to the one that allowed and enabled the prior long-running series of bad actions, and also, has shown no understanding (whatever that looks like) that those acts were bad, or any progress (whatever that looks like) towards changing these long-established behavioral patterns.

Understood in that framework, responses like "So no, I don't want to mostly focus on ensuring maximum social condemnation after the fact, " and "We will never improve relations with bad people if we refuse to treat them like people. " and " I worry we would be remiss to punish everyone equally simply because they were tagged with the same hashtag. " and "I wonder if outrage is the actual end result rather than positive cultural change in a genuine attempt to curb this behavior going forwards." really look like, and function as, this:
People (women) should refuse to engage in self-protective behavior.
People (women) should volunteer to be victimized again.
If we are not saying these things, then we need to be extraordinarily clear that we are not saying these things.

What would that extraordinary clarity look like? It might look like a "sufficient quantity of outrage"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:20 PM on August 29, 2018 [18 favorites]


that seems like a really bad faith reading of -1's comment, which you've conflated with things a different commenter wrote.

maximum social condemnation after the fact would work great, but for the fact that we are in the minority here, brainstorming completely unimplementable ideas for punishment and restitution. the standing Os for the return of Louis CK will go on whether we thread the conceptual societal punishment needle perfectly or not.

it's not wrong to want to consider things from a preventative or pragmatic angle, because this is a big fucking problem that needs to be attacked from multiple angles. at some point, it's worth listening to suggestions for how to cauterize the hydra's neck stumps, even if those suggestions are flawed, rather than discussing all the things you can do with the heads you've cut off.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:35 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


[One deleted. No "fuck you"s; this needs to not be about any one person in the thread on a personal level. Let's keep it focused on the external, the article, what to do about these guys coming back into their careers.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:37 PM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


The shunning isn't actually happening. Consequences of any kind aren't happening to more than one or two people. Barely anyone is being held accountable for sexually assaulting people. We can talk about how punishment and shunning aren't working when we actually try them. So far, it's a lot of concern trolling about things that aren't going on.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 2:46 PM on August 29, 2018 [21 favorites]


which you've conflated with things a different commenter wrote.

I'm addressing a line of thought concurrent in both, and which you have helpfully picked up on, the ideas of punishment and restitution. But I think using the language of punishment is only one way of thinking about this, and that discussions on what the punishment should be, and hasn't he been punished enough, and how could we possibly punish all the people who are guilty of this, and what about the legal system all in part do the same one thing: re-center the abuser.

And I understand that these stories of sin and redemption and justice and punishment permeate our society, they are the briny bath we've been pickling in, they are the water that we as fish do not even notice, they are the narrative through which we understand and structure our world.

Maybe we do not even know what justice or fairness look like.

And so appealing to sense of justice or fairness that has been inevitably and maybe irrevocably shaped by stories and norms and a culture that re-centers the abuser, that makes the abuser's journey of sin and redemption the core idea, would not in fact be "real" justice or "real" fairness.

You can see it here in the language I am using, I am trying to talk about "people who have taken bad actions" but I can't think of another way to talk about this without talking about "abusers," which elides a series of decisions into a personal characteristic, as changeable as our height or eye color.

I do not even have the language to describe this mode of thinking.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:51 PM on August 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Maximum condemnation vs preventative intervention isn't a zero sum game. It doesn't have to be either/or.

whynotboth.jpg?
posted by Roommate at 3:00 PM on August 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


Yeah, to take off the mod hat, 'whynotboth' is the obvious reply here. Significant public consequences for harassment/etc is exactly what lets people know it's ok to intervene or to come forward. This is how to create the conditions for early intervention. We signal what's acceptable or not -- by accepting it or not.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:22 PM on August 29, 2018 [19 favorites]


Roxane Gay just published an opinion column on the NYT.
posted by kalessin at 3:43 PM on August 29, 2018 [17 favorites]


The Roxane Gay piece should be required reading for "so what, we'll just cast them into fire forever??" crowd. Great, concrete examples of what redemption could look like, but also why there is so little concern for healing of victims.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 3:56 PM on August 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


or to take a friend aside and say "Hey, what the fuck, that's wrong"

I'd argue that this is exactly what people are trying to do with Louis C.K. right now.

It's great if you can prevent abuse from happening in the first place, but interrupting a pattern of abuses is also a worthwhile goal.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:00 PM on August 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


Okay I had to step away for a second, props to lobster mitten for handling my tantrum behind the scenes and giving me a second chance.

Abuse like this happens because not everyone is wired correctly,

The best interpretation of this (and despite no reasonable evidence given to assume you mean the best, I'm going to anyway,) is that you're trying to convince an abuse victim that what happened to them was inevitable.

I absolutely refuse to accepting that women are just going to have be a sacrifice at the feet of the great pillar of men.

I'm tired. I'm sick of men like you that do more to police women's grief than to stop your buddy from harrassing a woman.

I can no longer take it in good faith when men claim to disparage one response to abuse, supposedly at the favor of a different response. You'd rather cut it off at the head? What are you doing to make that happen? But yet you're very free and willing to offer advice on how to react to that abuse you didn't help to get stopped. It's just another silencing tactic, and I'm sick of it.

We can demand Justice for abuse that had failed to be stopped, while trying to stop more from happening. We are demanding "more" punishment only in the truth that any amount is more than the current distribution of zero.
posted by FirstMateKate at 4:01 PM on August 29, 2018 [32 favorites]


The Roxane Gay piece should be required reading for "so what, we'll just cast them into fire forever??" crowd.

eh. she's off my to read list since her insistence yesterday that "lumping in" accountability for aziz ansari with the other will somehow impede "progress" on the issue. like coercive date rape is somehow? idk? less? something? i'm fucking. dislike.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:10 PM on August 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


From that amazing Roxane Gay piece:
We worry about what will become of them in the wake of their mistakes. We don’t worry as much about those who have suffered at their hands. It is easier, for far too many people, to empathize with predators than it is to empathize with prey.
I have a lot of complex feelz about this.

I think the cultural push for everyone is still "do not be weak" within the confines of your assumed gender identity. Of course that's going to make it easier to empathize with the predator - prey is weak, the predator is seen as stronger, and humans indoctrinated by our culture generally want to be seen to be the strong ones.

As dismaying as it is, there is still an undercurrent of "but what if I am falsely accused? How long will I be punished for something that I may not have done?" That thought process is always going to look for the comfort of a quick redemptive narrative for the accused, regardless of the stack of evidence that this is more than just an accusation and regardless of the actual work (or lack thereof) that the accused has done to make true amends.

I think Gay's suggestions for things that men who have been in power can do to show true remorse - public, non-filtered apologies; using the remains of their power to uplift those they abused; actively contributing to organizations which are working towards ending similar abuse - are absolutely spot on.
posted by hanov3r at 4:16 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've noted before: I am trans, intersex, nonbinary, and otherwise marginalized, but I grew up masculine in a strongly feminist environment, and unless I am performatively genderqueer, I pass as masculine. So I think it's fair to say that I belong to masculine culture unless I am strongly identifying as something else.

Also, I have personally experienced and continue to experience a small amount of social retribution for accusations my ex made against me in a poison pen type of effort during a really terrible, intense breakup from a relationship that had gone on perhaps 2 to 5 years longer than was healthy for either of us. (The breakup was 7 years ago and I still feel the impacts.) My ex poisoned my social circles and our shared circle of friends with stories about my alleged abusiveness. I believe what she did to me and my reputation was something I absolutely didn't deserve. I didn't do what she said I did. I didn't abuse her. I didn't take advantage of her. If anything, the opposite was true. So I stand unfairly accused, ostensibly with no way out, no way to redeem myself.

In most men this would make them crazy with frustration, with feeling at the short end of the stick, with life, so unfair, against them. In many men we've seen who maybe weren't in cut and dried situations, where the accusation seemed maybe motivated, in part, by political or personal gain, by revenge, perhaps, whatever, the accused men were kind of shitty about making apologies, or making amends. Or even doing meaningful things to try to defuse the roles that power, privilege, and toxic masculinity have in the global conversation about abuse of power and privilege, and toxic masculinity in work and entertainment and so on.

But I still believe victims and accusers. I'm still a strong, dedicated feminist accomplice. I still believe men are absolutely shitty, as a whole, at apologizing and at making real amends and making real change in society, in culture, in their own behavior. And I still believe the needle has hardly moved. I believe that men like Louis C.K. and all the others who've ever been accused, even if they are entirely convinced of their own personal innocence, absolutely owe us (society as a whole, as well as specific victims) hearty, meaningful apologies, justice restoring, and amends-making. Whatever that looks like.

And I want us to go forward with figuring out what that looks like even if our solutions aren't permanent, if they aren't perfect, if men might get a little banged up while we're all still in process. Because, guys (and here I mean men and men apologists), look at all the shitty, disgraceful stuff we let happen to women and other minorities while we try to get our heads out of our asses. Symmetry, or even some crappy attempt at it, would be better than letting everyone else blow in the wind while we look for some perfect execution. Let's get going.
posted by kalessin at 4:24 PM on August 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


I missed the Aziz thing from Roxane Gay and I super duper disagree with her (obviously). I also had people on twitter - mutuals, not randos - press me on Aziz and it became super duper clear that a whole lot of people remember the text of the accusation far different than it is in reality. It's not surprising, sadly, but it is super frustrating.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 4:35 PM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


like obviously i only have my own interpretation of her words, but her follow up tweets did nothing to dissuade me from that interpretation, and it felt ugly and invalidating to basically be impatiently and dismissively informed that discussing accountability for the most common kind of sexual assault -- so common in fact that many adult women will tell you now, today, in 2018, that it's "just part of dating" -- would derail discussions of other kinds of sexual assault.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:44 PM on August 29, 2018 [12 favorites]


I think a lot of women who dismiss "a bad date" do so to protect themselves from the reality of what we live through. I've spoken on it before - I think in the Aziz thread - but I personally know multiple women who the night of or morning after knew exactly what had happened to them but within about 48 hours they were calling it anything but that. Not to say this is just women to men, just those are the stories I know and have lived through most often.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 4:51 PM on August 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


I keep thinking about the Comedy Cellar's owner mentioning how CK didn't ask him to go on, he just got the emcee to let him go on.

I am not being flippant when I note that what literally happened is that CK had a thing he badly wanted to do, but he knew he might not get permission. So he just used his power to do it without asking first, figuring that sure, it would upset and bother some of the people there to witness, but if no one spoke up to stop him and he didn't get in trouble, he'd probably get away with it just fine.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:47 PM on August 29, 2018 [35 favorites]


I wish more people working that night would talk, even anonymously. I'd like to know if the owner's telling is accurate or if it was a setup. I admit I am swayed by the blind item (CrazyDaysAndNights have posted enough "reveals" that they have some weight in the gossip community but their percentage doesn't seem to be 100, so who knows). And maybe both stories are true - it was the emcee and Louis slipped the 10k to that emcee, not the owner.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 6:56 PM on August 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I know I read that 10k thing somewhere else besides that website, but now I can't find it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:01 PM on August 29, 2018


I saw it on ONTD, maybe? Or a Twitter account I followed bc of ONTD? But the source was still CDAN, I think.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 7:03 PM on August 29, 2018


Whether he bought his way in or not, he still presumed he could show up to an unsuspecting audience and do what he wanted and get away with it.
posted by agregoli at 7:04 PM on August 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Oh I am not at all disagreeing about the non-consensual part of his set. I'm just wondering if the owner is lying to cover his own ass or if the 10k is true if someone else took it.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 7:05 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


And so appealing to sense of justice or fairness that has been inevitably and maybe irrevocably shaped by stories and norms and a culture that re-centers the abuser, that makes the abuser's journey of sin and redemption the core idea, would not in fact be "real" justice or "real" fairness.
At no point in my original post nor my response were issues of "justice" or "fairness" concerns of mine. Nor was any notion of "redemption" of the bad actor. My apologies if they read otherwise.

the man of twists and turns
I wish you good fortune in your endeavor to interrupt abuse before it starts! Be sure to tell us how it's going, in 20 - 25 years.

I wish you ill fortune in Telling People Their Problems Aren't Important, which is what you are engaged in now. Maybe you should focus on Doing The Thing you claim to want to do?
At no point did I say these issues and these problems weren't important. I don't think that. If I did, I would have said something like "I don't think this is important."

But you know what? If I'm perfectly honest, if I had started doing what I discussed here a decade or so ago and had tried to intervene early on in the process, I probably would have had an impact on at least one person I used to know. When I was younger I had a chance to do exactly what I'm suggesting, and I failed. I didn't. I don't know whether or not that person went on to do anything or be abusive or keep thinking what they thought. Maybe they totally changed and reformed before they harmed anyone. But I should have at least tried to intercede or call them out or whatever. So yes, I have a personal bias here.

multiple (sentiment):
Maximum condemnation vs preventative intervention isn't a zero sum game. It doesn't have to be either/or.
I agree.

FirstMateKate :
I can no longer take it in good faith when men claim to disparage one response to abuse, supposedly at the favor of a different response. You'd rather cut it off at the head? What are you doing to make that happen? But yet you're very free and willing to offer advice on how to react to that abuse you didn't help to get stopped. It's just another silencing tactic, and I'm sick of it.
I'm not really sure what to say to this. You've decided that anyone with a slightly different reaction is the enemy, and therefore anything that doesn't align with what you said is a "silencing tactic".

At any rate, as someone who's not a journalist, a district attorney, or a celebrity, we have limited options.

Reaction is necessary to some extent. Of course letting someone hop right back into their "well-liked celebrity" status would be harmful -- does anyone here really think otherwise? Where I think we differ is that I think it's only useful as a tool 1) when the law has failed (which it clearly has) or 2) so that societal norms are made clear.

I can't do anything about #1, I'm not a cop or a DA. And I think that "making norms clear" isn't enough on its own: personal intervention within close social circles is necessary if we want to prevent rather than just react.
posted by -1 at 7:15 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Can you even hear yourself? Maybe carry around a tape recorder and just play it back occasionally.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 7:24 PM on August 29, 2018 [14 favorites]


It just seems really hard to believe the owner hadn't planned for this contingency. CK was a regular performer for decades and I think an occasional walk-on. The club featured in his show for years, including the intro.

They never had a staff meeting about whether he's allowed on stage, or what to do if he comes in and gets in an altercation, or what to say if a customer asks about him?
posted by smelendez at 7:27 PM on August 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Do I really need to make a metatalk thread about how "hush, emotional woman" maybe shouldn't be tolerated on the site? I feel like some downright unfounded misogyny is being allowed, while emotionally-talked about logic is shut down. (Yes I'm referring to myself, trying to stay chill and talk to everyone all together)
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:36 PM on August 29, 2018 [25 favorites]


They never had a staff meeting about whether he's allowed on stage, or what to do if he comes in and gets in an altercation, or what to say if a customer asks about him?

It seems entirely possible that this was what they planned to do if he ever showed up - Aziz Ansari has played there several times as well, and the owner generally speaking doesn't seem to have a particularly negative take on Louie's appearance:

Did a staffer let him onstage at the Comedy Cellar, or was this an open-mic situation?

No. He just went and told the emcee that he wanted to go on, and it's pretty much autopilot at that point — the emcee let him go on. It's not an open mic, but it's Louis C.K., somebody famous like that.


Have you talked to the emcee about that decision?

Well, I haven't spoken to him because I didn't feel he could say anything other than "OK." I don't consider it a decision.
......
Would you let C.K. come back on soon, given what happened last night?

There is the matter of principle here, in my ACLU mode, which is that I don't feel that there's a clear standard out there in the world of when someone is supposed to be fired or denied an audience. And I don't think anyone's come after the theaters and stages that allow Mike Tyson to tour the country with his show, and Bill Clinton is still invited to charity events, and Monica Lewinsky disinvited [in one case]. I would just like to be a platform.
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:37 PM on August 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Reaction is necessary to some extent.
And lest there be any confusion this is not the same as "don't react past X amount". To be exceedingly clear (which that sentence isn't): reaction is good and necessary, but I don't think that there's some point of "strong enough" reaction that will prevent abuse in the majority of cases. I think that only comes from the intervention that I was talking about.
posted by -1 at 7:37 PM on August 29, 2018


I don't consider it a decision.... I don't feel that there's a clear standard out there in the world of when someone is supposed to be fired or denied an audience.


So basically what the owner is saying, is that there hasn't been enough negative reaction to abusers returning to their scene, and if maybe there was, a judgement call could have been made to stop Louis CK from forcing his act on unknowing participants. Interesting
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:43 PM on August 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I hereby propose a clear standard that nobody who has admitted to serial sexual assaults may ever be permitted in front of a live audience without the audience being provided with significant advance warning, unless said audience is in the form of a jury.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:55 PM on August 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


Do I really need to make a metatalk thread about how "hush, emotional woman" maybe shouldn't be tolerated on the site? I feel like some downright unfounded misogyny is being allowed, while emotionally-talked about logic is shut down.
I don't know if you're responding to me (I think you may be), but I think there's a good chance you are, so:

Debating for the sake of shaping or changing my opinion might be useful at times, but this was absolutely the wrong time and place for me to do it. Re-reading my posts and trying to parse them from the perspective of someone who doesn't share my train of thought? Not good.

If what I wrote is going to be used by anyone as any sort of justification for the "hush women" side or seen as in any way supporting or tacitly endorsing abuse, then I've failed so remarkably and so thoroughly at my side of the discussion that I hope the mods remove all of my posts in this thread.
posted by -1 at 7:57 PM on August 29, 2018


I further propose that nobody who has been accused of serial sexual assaults may ever be permitted in front of a live audience without the audience being provided with significant advance warning, unless said audience is in the form of a jury.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:58 PM on August 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


I don't feel that there's a clear standard out there in the world of when someone is supposed to be fired or denied an audience.[...] Bill Clinton is still invited to charity events, and Monica Lewinsky disinvited [in one case].

of course there is a clear standard, he articulated it plainly with as good an off-the-cuff-example as anyone could ask for, and he agrees with it. The standard is you ostracize victims, particularly when they are women, and you welcome abusers, particularly when they are men. Men are jokers; women are jokes. That is "the" performing world's standard but it is also his standard, his personal standard, and he is standing up and saying so.

I would just like to be a platform


good news is if you just want to be a platform, if your highest ambition is to be a doormat on which Louis CK can stand to wipe his famous feet, that is an ambition you can realize. amazing the number of people who can't think of anything they'd rather be.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:58 PM on August 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


I don't feel that there's a clear standard out there in the world of when someone is supposed to be fired or denied an audience.

He just went and told the emcee that he wanted to go on, and it's pretty much autopilot at that point — the emcee let him go on. It's not an open mic, but it's Louis C.K., somebody famous like that.

Gollygee I wonder whatever could be the connection between these two statements.

And I don't think anyone's come after the theaters and stages that allow Mike Tyson to tour the country with his show, and Bill Clinton is still invited to charity events, and Monica Lewinsky disinvited [in one case].

Got it. So, since other people have not blocked other abusers from appearing in public and getting paid for those appearances, it's out of your hands, nothing you can do.

Real profile in courage, there, bub.

(On preview, IRFH got to the point first and more succinctly and funnier.)
posted by soundguy99 at 7:59 PM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


The current estimates are that about 6 out of every 1000 rapists ever spends a single day in jail for the rape. How does anyone figure that a strong judicial answer can't and won't work? We've never seen it tried for sexually based crimes. I wish any of the 20 or so men who have assaulted me even got met with the barest minimum of social ostracizing, but it - along with legal consequences - just didn't happen (except in the case of my brother where DECADES later people finally cut him off entirely). I bet most people in this thread who have been sexually assaulted have never seen any form of official or social justice for what happened to them. But sure, lets talk more about how it can't work and how........somehow?.........interrupting the abuse before it starts???? or while it's in action??????? is the way forward, when all of us victims have never seen that either.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 8:00 PM on August 29, 2018 [16 favorites]


You know, I am far more OK with Mike Tyson being allowed his comeback or whatever because he is one of the super rare cases where a rapist went to prison. He, unlike nearly every other famous rapist, actually for real served his time. I can disagree with that amount of time, or how I think laughing with him on the Tony's stage is fucked up, but unlike Louis CK and Woody Allen and Roman Polanski and and and and and and and, he didn't just disappear into his wealth- he was convicted. Now, what is the major difference between Tyson and the majority of famous rapists?
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 8:06 PM on August 29, 2018 [29 favorites]


unless said audience is in the form of a jury.

what if it's angry villagers with rotten vegetables and small but pointy stones
posted by poffin boffin at 9:10 PM on August 29, 2018 [14 favorites]


Only if the pointy stones are aerodynamically stable.
posted by kalessin at 9:23 PM on August 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


This is why they have to provide significant advance warning. So you have time to pick up rotten vegetables and small but pointy stones.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:38 PM on August 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


multiple (sentiment):
"Maximum condemnation vs preventative intervention isn't a zero sum game. It doesn't have to be either/or."
I agree.


Okay, in light of that it's a bit weird how much your first comment on the thread read like you were a arguing for preventative intervention instead of shunning, which you positioned as ineffective.
posted by Dysk at 2:31 AM on August 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


All this discussion on Louis CK's return to comedy reminds me of Hannah Gadsby's superb "Nanette," in which she deconstructs standup as totally inadequate for dealing with the trauma she describes -- indeed, pokes fun at -- in her act.

CK's elephant-avoiding return would seem to be proof.
posted by Gelatin at 7:02 AM on August 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


Is CK such as good comedian that if we don't get to see his comedy anymore that there will be a huge void left? Can nobody host a morning show like Matt Lauer or Charlie Rose? NONE of these guys are irreplaceable in these roles.

Talk about elephants in the room -- that fact is exactly what worries so many in our so-called "meritocracy." If even Skippy the Wonder Lizard can replace Lauer as a morning TV hose, why exactly do they command such high salaries? Only by pretending that they're unique and irreplaceable -- and more often than not, they aren't.
posted by Gelatin at 7:28 AM on August 30, 2018 [18 favorites]


Only if the pointy stones are aerodynamically stable.

What about pointed sticks?

Is CK such as good comedian that if we don't get to see his comedy anymore that there will be a huge void left? Can nobody host a morning show like Matt Lauer or Charlie Rose? NONE of these guys are irreplaceable in these roles.

Interestingly - and relatedly - I recently watched some clips from some old Cosby Show episodes someone put up on Youtube. And while I can't speak to whether the person posting them may have cut out a lot of the stuff Bill Cosby himself was in, what struck me was....the most bad-ass character on the show was actually Clare Huxtable. Cliff Huxtable came across as more or less the same kind of bumbling fuck-up that every sitcom dad has ever been since the beginning of time. Whereas Clare was the one with the cleverest put-downs, the most righteous smackdowns, the best ideas.

So Bill Cosby could have easily been replaced on his own show, while Phylicia Rashad made that show. ....But Cosby was the man and so it was his name in the title, not hers.

and the hell of it is - at the time the show was on the air, I never noticed that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:54 AM on August 30, 2018 [15 favorites]


Talk about elephants in the room -- that fact is exactly what worries so many in our so-called "meritocracy." If even Skippy the Wonder Lizard can replace Lauer as a morning TV hose, why exactly do they command such high salaries? Only by pretending that they're unique and irreplaceable -- and more often than not, they aren't.

Another frustrating dimension of that argument is that entertainment industries routinely treat women as replaceable when they transition to middle-age or become "hard to work with."
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 8:51 AM on August 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


For those asking for examples of redemption, I think John Profumo offers a good example.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:16 AM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wasn't Profumo's affair consensual? Not quite the same level of redemption required, I think.
posted by rocket88 at 9:34 AM on August 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Abigail Nussbaum has some good things to say about Louis CK.
ten months is a piddling amount of time for CK to have retired into semi-obscurity with his millions over crimes that, if he were not rich and famous, might have landed him serious prison time. Other comedians have also pointed out that CK’s return to comedy is a workplace safety issue, as well as an egregious violation of comedy’s alleged protectiveness of its practitioners.

[...]

But what I find shocking (if, unfortunately, not surprising) is the assumption that CK’s return to the public stage is inevitable, and that the only question is whether it’s been long enough. Even among people who have been criticizing Black, in the comments to this tweet and others he made throughout the day, I kept seeing the notion that calling for CK to be banished from comedy forever was somehow a bridge too far.

Whereas for me, I’m happy to say: Louis CK should never be allowed on a comedy stage again. It doesn’t matter how hard he works and what amends he makes and how much he changes–though, to be clear, so far he’s done absolutely nothing to actually work towards forgiveness. A public platform is a privilege, not a right. In CK’s field in particular, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people vying for even the smallest spotlight. Some of them are furiously talented, with ideas and perspectives we’ve never even considered. Most of them, we will never hear from. Louis CK had one of the biggest spotlights in the business, and he used it to abuse people, and to stymie their careers. You don’t get to come back from that. It is perfectly reasonable to say that other people–people who have not misused their power–should get to go on stage before, and instead, of him.

[...]

Louis CK has done absolutely nothing to indicate that he is seeking redemption. He clearly wants his career back, but there has been absolutely no indication that he regrets his past behavior (except inasmuch as he regrets what it eventually cost him), much less any attempt to make restitution to his victims, or work on himself to try to become a better, less toxic person. But because he is a famous, rich white man, Black automatically assumes the existence of his regret, and reads his attempt to get his career back as an act of attempted redemption–and then he gets mad at the rest of us for refusing to share in his fantasy, and castigates us for our cruelty and lack of charity.

[...]

It’s much easier to just go away for a few months, come back without saying anything, and trust that water-carriers like Black will spin narratives in which you are a tortured soul seeking redemption.

Which means it’s up to the rest of us not to fall for it. And that falls to men most especially. Stop making endless excuses for the privileged in a world where women and POC often don’t even get a first chance (as multiple people have pointed out, Winona Ryder wandered the wilderness for twenty years because she was caught shoplifting; Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd lost their careers because they wouldn’t sleep with Harvey Weinstein; Louis CK losing his career for a decade-plus of harassment is not a tragedy by any sane person’s definition). Stop confusing redemption for simply showing up. Stop insisting that people who clearly just want their spotlight back are obviously sorry. Stop prioritizing the justified comeuppance of victimizers over the suffering of victims. And stop putting up with this bullshit when other people do it. That is the only way forward, for all of us.
posted by jeather at 10:20 AM on August 30, 2018 [28 favorites]


For those asking for examples of redemption, I think John Profumo offers a good example.

How about Christine Keeler?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:50 AM on August 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


For those asking for examples of redemption, I think John Profumo offers a good example.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:16 PM on August 30 [1 favorite +] [!]

How about Christine Keeler?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:50 PM on August 30 [1 favorite +] [!]


Maybe lets just not compare situations that have nothing to do with sexual assault and harassment to this situation, which is about sexual assault and harassment.
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:13 PM on August 30, 2018 [22 favorites]


What kills me is that if Louis CK is back for the money, it means he cannot picture a future where he adjusts his gazillionaire lifestyle in the slightest. Could he not take it down a notch or two, and just retire? Why would he ever get onstage again? Does a guy who made millions every year, for year, have no savings or investments at all? Even a disgraced comic at his level must layers of royalty and residual deals to keep him comfortable by now, even if folks maybe aren't looking for him like they used to. Does he have no wealth invested, or wealth he could invest? Couldn't he roll some of that comedy money into a block of condos and collect rent from people who will never meet the "Lou Székely" who's name appears near the bottom of their lease?

Why does a megamillionaire like Louis CK have to work another day in his life? Was the world truly crying out for the fucking parade jokes he's been working on these last nine months? I don't know his life, but I struggle to picture the scenario where he needs additional comedy money. Why come back at all? Louis CK ought to be in jail, or on a sex offender registry somewhere but instead, he was on track to be forgotten, free to enjoy his absurd riches in obscurity. A fate well finer than what he deserved, but apparently, not enough for him.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:08 PM on August 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Why would he ever get onstage again?

Jaya Saxena, writing for GQ, wonders roughly the same thing: "Why Do the Bad Men Think We Need Them?"
This is where Lauer’s words feel telling. I can’t know anyone’s motivation for attempting to return to the spotlight, whether it’s a play for more money, or about personal “redemption,” or if they just miss this job so much they don’t know what to do with themselves. But on some level, it seems that these men think the world needs them and their work. That these industries are somehow lacking in their absence, or that these audiences clamor for new material. They don’t just want to be back in the spotlight. They think we need them to be.
posted by mhum at 5:43 PM on August 30, 2018 [14 favorites]


Louis C.K. Has Clearly Learned Nothing — and I'm Done (Guest Column) - Maureen Ryan, Hollywood Reporter
Once the industry has stopped enabling toxicity and begun prioritizing the needs of survivors, we can talk about paths to rehabilitation for abusers. Hard pass on Louis C.K. though: He used his comeback to do more damage.
...

There are roads to restitution, reparation and change for those who have violated others, broken the law and ignored codes of ethical, compassionate and moral behavior. Those who do the hard work, those who do what they can to improve poisonous institutions and communities, well, I can be patient with those folks, even when the process is messy. Up to a point. As a woman once said, "Compassion without accountability and boundaries is a form of enabling." Yep.

That said, I no longer care about whatever road Louis C.K. is on. At this point, I'd be happy if I never see his name again, anywhere. This wealthy, famous, connected man had so many chances — more than most people will ever get — and he fucked them all up.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:34 PM on August 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


Megan Ganz called Dan Harmon's apology to her a "masterclass." I haven't kept tabs on what has or hasn't happened since.

I noticed yesterday that Ganz has written an episode in the upcoming season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia titled "Time's Up for The Gang".
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:30 AM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


Why would he ever get onstage again?

basically
posted by poffin boffin at 11:36 AM on August 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


The Comedy Cellar’s Owner Has Clearly Been Waiting to Let Louis C.K. Back on Stage Since Day One - Rachel Withers, Slate - "Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman tried to poke holes in the stories of Louis CK's accusers."
But Dworman’s defense of his decision to allow C.K. back goes even further—it’s not just that it’s time to forgive C.K. for being a sexual harasser, but that C.K. isn’t a sexual harasser at all.

When Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov (two of C.K.’s five original accusers) tweeted on Thursday that Dworman had spent nine months trying to poke holes in their story, causing them a great deal of pain, he replied saying that he was “stunned by the level [of] hate that passes for logic.”
Just awful.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:27 PM on August 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


Standup Comedians Explain Why Louis C.K.'s Return Was So Infuriating - Alison Stevenson, Vice
posted by ODiV at 8:40 AM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


Hollywood redeems men for almost anything and punishes women for almost everything
Anne Hathaway
Sin: Acting too excited when she won her Oscar
Time it took to come back: 5 years

Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino
Sin: Getting sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein (allegedly)
Time it took to come back: 17 years and counting
posted by jeather at 2:04 PM on September 6, 2018 [14 favorites]


I finally borrowed a netflix login and watched Hannah Gadsby's Nanette. Then searched for articles about because it's so intense. NYT “If he does have an audience, then I won’t be quitting stand-up,” Ms. Gadsby said, and laughed. “Quote me on that: If Louis C.K. finds his audience, I will definitely not quit stand-up. Because my work here is not done.”
posted by theora55 at 5:52 PM on September 8, 2018 [9 favorites]


This is from the literary world, but addresses a similar issue: Six female authors have removed their works from an upcoming Indigenous anthology after the publisher decided not to remove a contribution by a poet who has been convicted of domestic assault.

Including [Neal] McLeod's writings was a chance to publish someone who has stood up and taken ownership of their actions, [University of Regina publisher Bruce] Walsh added, noting McLeod underwent "intensive therapy" after pleading guilty and resigned his teaching position at Trent University.

"I believe there can be redemption for violent men, just as there can be for anyone," said Walsh.
...
But accountability is also important, argued Erica Violet-Lee, a Cree activist who initiated the open letter.

"When we demand accountability of men who have harmed women and therefore our communities, it's a deep act of love. What example does it set for boys if men are allowed to abuse women without consequences?

"Native men aren't disposable; but there's a big difference between throwing someone away and holding them accountable for their actions."

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:01 AM on September 10, 2018 [2 favorites]


Norm MacDonald opens mouth, inserts foot and leg:
It’s quite a doozy, but probably the biggest thing Macdonald reveals is that after ABC canceled Roseanne, Macdonald convinced C.K. to give Barr a call.

“She was just so broken and crying constantly,” Macdonald said. “There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, ‘What about the victims?’ But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that.” As for what C.K. and Barr talked about during their call, Macdonald said they “were just giving any advice you could give to each other. There would be no way for me to even understand that advice, because who has ever gone through such a thing?”
It just gets worse from there.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:29 AM on September 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's even worse than that, Norm's partner on his Netflix show is a Holocaust denier who used to jerk off men under the Queensboro bridge!
posted by riruro at 12:15 PM on September 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


a Jewish Holocaust denier
posted by philip-random at 12:31 PM on September 11, 2018


So between MacDonald and his comedy partner they have conceived of one massively homophobic joke and one about the Holocaust.

Boy, this one is going to be must-miss television.
posted by maxsparber at 1:16 PM on September 11, 2018 [7 favorites]


And in unsurprising news, MacDonald is furiously backpedalling after his interview wound up having a...deleterious effect on his career.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:17 AM on September 12, 2018


Norm MacDonald: "If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry."

Dude. DUDE. Apologies should NEVER start with, or really include, "if". There's no "if" - you minimized the pain of the victims by comparing it to the consequences Barr and CK have been hit with. Period.

An actual apology directly recognizes that AND talks about what you will do to make sure you don't stick your foot in your mouth again in the future.
posted by hanov3r at 11:26 AM on September 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Christ almighty, Norm, OJ Simpson's book title was more believably hypothetical ...
posted by tocts at 1:50 PM on September 12, 2018


Norm Macdonald Tells Howard Stern: “You’d Have To Have Down Syndrome” To Not “Feel Sorry” For Harassment Victims
Norm Macdonald, whose scheduled appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon was canceled by NBC in response to the Netflix comic’s comments about #MeToo, told radio host Howard Stern this morning that “You’d have to have Down syndrome to not feel sorry” for harassment victims.

“Down syndrome,” Macdonald repeated. “That’s my new word.”
What a delightful person.
posted by Lexica at 2:50 PM on September 12, 2018


I love that Lorne was likely involved in the decision to cancel the appearance.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 4:14 PM on September 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Unbelievable. It's exactly like he thought, "Hmm, what could I say to remove all doubt that I'm a horrible person with no sense?"
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:17 PM on September 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


Macdonald walked back his earlier #MeToo statement, telling Stern that the movement “is what you want for your daughters. We want that to be the future world, of course.”

No, you utter pillock, we want that for ALL WOMEN because they are PEOPLE, and we want it NOW, not in the future.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:55 AM on September 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


And now there are rumblings (link to twitter) that Jian Ghomeshi is getting hired again. Sweet. No wait I mean fuck everything.
posted by ODiV at 7:44 AM on September 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's not just rumblings, Cliffe has already confirmed it. In keeping with past fuckery, the NYRB fact-checkers are apparently not bothering to (or have been told not to) contact any of his accusers.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:51 AM on September 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Aaand the article is out. Not gonna link to it, but it's titled "Reflections from a Hashtag" so it's not exactly subtle.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:12 AM on September 14, 2018


Everyone involved with this article in a decision-making capacity deserves to stub their toes every 53 seconds for the rest of time.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:32 AM on September 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Coolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcool.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:46 AM on September 14, 2018


Appropriate, given the thread title: They're Here
Ghomeshi’s cover story arrives shortly after Harper’s published a first-person essay by an accused sexual harasser, the former host of NPR’s “The Takeaway,” John Hockenberry. It is titled “Exile” and in it, Hockenberry describes himself as “no rapist or sex offender” but a victim of a “society at large” that “chooses... not to distinguish between the charge and act of rape and some improper, failed, and awkward attempts at courtship.” Hockenberry left “The Takeaway” after multiple sexual harassment allegations, as well as allegations that he “bullied colleagues.”

Both Ghomeshi and Hockenberry are familiar names; their stories garnered plenty of media attention at the time. It seems that both the New York Review of Books and Harper’s think it’s time that both Ghomeshi and Hockenberry be given legacy platforms for their redemption. The decisions seem to reflect the magazines’ belief in a sort of equivalence between the platform that many women had to fight for to be heard and taken seriously, and the platform that has been willingly handed over to Ghomeshi and Hockenberry. (Presumably, both Ghomeshi and Hockenberry were both paid for writing for the NYRB and Harper’s, respectively.)

The subtext is: “Okay, we’ve heard from the women; let’s hear from the men.” And in this attempt to appear evenhanded, both legacy publications are in fact risking their reputations, as the backlash to Ghomeshi and Hockenberry’s pieces—which are first, calculated steps towards a comeback—mounts. But it doesn’t seem to matter; Harper’s and NYRB suggests that these men are too valuable—their stories too interesting—to ignore.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:47 AM on September 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


If you want to subject yourself to Ghomeshi's article without giving the NYRB a click, Nicole Cliffe tweeted a bootleg copy, and Mara Wilson's reply of "This is the worst LiveJournal post ever" pretty much sums it up.
posted by Etrigan at 12:00 PM on September 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


Moira Donegan:
Literary magazines, like Harper’s and the NYRB, say that they aim to engage their readers in conversations about politics and literature, to create an intellectual community. When they run pieces like this, they make it clear that they imagine that community to contain only men. They also seem to imagine that “intellectual” community of men to want no input from critical voices, to only be interested in being told, over and over again, that they are perfect and unimpeachable, that nothing about their lives or their behavior must change.

This, let me be clear, is the generous reading of events: that these magazines are full of, and imagine their audiences to consist of, vain, intellectually lazy men looking to indulge their narcissism. What might me more likely is that these magazines run such pieces to draw attention to themselves, in a cynical bid for outrage clicks. In which case they are trying to eek a monetary profit out of women’s marginalization and pain.

It’s not fun to play “Who goes Nazi” with lit mags, but if you’re keeping score: Harper’s ran two pieces against Me Too (including one that endangered my safety); NYRB gave Ghomeshi a platform; and the New Yorker invited, then disinvited Bannon to headline its festival.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:30 PM on September 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


The Phantom Reckoning Megan Garber, The Atlantic
Guilt, gilt: shocking, predictable. What happened at CBS this week mingles real culpability with a shadow form of it. It combines direct consequences for alleged misbehavior with something more suggestive of accountability theater—a slow-moving performance that shares its lines and lights and cues with many other #MeToo-related cycles: the revelation of abuses enacted by the powerful; the carefully constructed gestures of contrition (CBS accompanied the Moonves news with the announcement that it is giving $20 million to as-yet-unspecified women’s-advocacy organizations); the scant evidence, beyond that, of the kind of deep self-examination, on the part of individuals or the organizations that enabled them, that can lead to real and systemic change. There have been, over the past months, very many rote recitations of the letter of the law, and very few articulations of the spirit. So many empty performances of remorse. So many shadows obscuring the mirror American culture was meant to hold up to itself as people summoned their courage and shared their stories. The new world promised in the most hopeful moments of #MeToo has thus far not materialized, and little wonder: Its occupants live, despite it all, in the land of the phantom reckoning.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:01 AM on September 17, 2018 [1 favorite]




The NYRB editor who greenlit Ghomeshi's piece has apparently been fired. (Good riddance.)
posted by tobascodagama at 2:31 PM on September 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


Maxwell Strachan: Ex-Harper’s Editor Says Staff Was ‘Sidelined’ During Hockenberry, Roiphe Pieces
Hasan Altaf, who left Harper’s last month to join The Paris Review, says the magazine’s editorial staff was “sidelined and dismissed” during the development of the Hockenberry piece and journalist Katie Roiphe’s controversial March cover story, which contended that “Twitter feminism is bad for women.”

“No one in editorial was in support of the Hockenberry article,” Altaf said. “No one I spoke to was on board or in support or happy about it in any way.”

“Similarly,” he added, “nobody on the editorial staff was in support of the Katie Roiphe article.”
[...]
Months earlier, Roiphe’s piece pushing back against the Me Too movement had also generated significant criticism both externally and internally. Former Harper’s editor James Marcus told The New York Times in April that he was fired from the magazine after taking a “principled stand” against the story. (Harper’s said at the time that the dispute was “one small part of a larger and more complicated story” of why Marcus was fired.)

Marcus also told the Times in April that he had “expressed [his] opposition” to MacArthur’s idea to “run a contrarian piece on #MeToo movement,” but was ultimately “overruled.” The Times reported that Harper’s reached out to a few writers who declined before Giulia Melucci, the magazine’s vice president of communications, contacted Roiphe, who took the assignment.

“The piece was widely disliked by the entire staff,” Marcus said then.

Altaf agreed, adding that the resulting rift caused a distrust that still exists within the office.
[...]
[Melucci] added: “We don’t run like North Korean publications, so people have different opinions here about stories, and we allow them to be free with their feelings. But we also believe in free speech, so we publish things that are controversial. That’s the statement.”

On Tuesday, MacArthur, who also serves as Harper’s president, joined the CBC radio show “The Current” to discuss the Hockenberry story. During a contentious eight-minute interview, MacArthur criticized the female host’s “tone,” downplayed the allegations against Hockenberry, suggested the country is entering a “buzzsaw of illiberalism” and took issue with what he sees as a “disproportionate response” to some recent sexual harassment allegations.
John MacArthur and Giulia Melucci are fucking monsters.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:09 PM on September 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Aziz Ansari performed at the same club as Louis CK, and the asshole who owns the place really managed to show his ass even more (if you can believe that) in this piece about it.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:16 PM on September 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


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