In an explosive New York Times report late last year, multiple women came forward to accuse Louis C.K. of multiple incidents of sexual misconduct. All five shared stories similar in nature, claiming that the comedian asked to masturbate in front of them or physically did so without their consent. Notably, C.K. was said to have engaged in this inappropriate behavior while in a position of power — at the time, the alleged victims were aspiring comedians and fairly new to the entertainment business.
C.K. subsequently admitted that the allegations were true and expressed remorse. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true,” he wrote. “But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
Now, fellow veteran comedian and longtime friend Sarah Silverman has revealed that C.K. used to masturbate in front of her — albeit with her explicit consent. In an interview on the Howard Stern Show Monday, she recalled those incidents, which took place early on in their careers when they’d let “our freak flags fly.”
“I know I’m going to regret saying this,” said Silverman. “I’ve known Louis forever, I’m not making excuses for him, so please don’t take this that way. We are peers. We are equals. When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘Fuck yeah I want to see that!'”
Silverman made sure to emphasize that her masturbation encounters with C.K. were in no way comparable to those of his five victims, with whom C.K. had a clear power dynamic. “It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them. He could offer me nothing,” she explained. “We were only just friends. Sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I would say, ‘Fucking no, gross,’ and we got pizza.”
Since the allegations first surfaced, Silverman has expressed compassion for C.K., as their friendship goes back more than 20 years. Speaking to Stern, she showed more of that sympathy as she attempted to explain how C.K. failed to understand the significance of his standing as a successful man in Hollywood. “Once he became powerful, even within just his [comedy] community, he felt like he was the same person,” Silverman said, “but the dynamic was different and it was not OK.”
Silverman added, “I’m not saying everyone should embrace Louis again… I believe he has remorse. I just want him to talk about it on stage. He’s going to have to find his way or not find his way.” She told Stern that she and C.K. haven’t spoken in three months.
C.K. has brought up the masturbation scandal onstage since relaunching his career over the summer. Unfortunately, I don’t think that rape jokes and complaining about financial setbacks were what Silverman had in mind.
Listen to a portion of the interview below via TMZ.