Comedian Louis C.K. received a standing ovation on Sunday night at New York’s Comedy Cellar, when he resumed his professional activities in a surprise performance following a nine-month, #MeToo-related hiatus.
“The question is, how long do you have to stay in #MeToo purgatory?” asked Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo Wednesday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
Answering his own question, Arroyo said, “My sense is, you have to have a public contrition. You need to be called out and shamed publicly, I think. But then it’s up to the audience.”
“These guys can put their toes in the water and see if the audience will accept them. My guess is, they won’t,” he added.
Arroyo and host Laura Ingraham discussed another rumored comeback from #MeToo purgatory, that of the “Today” show’s former anchor Matt Lauer. Fans of Lauer and others he worked with at “Today” go way back — and some might be unaware of his recent shameworthy exploits, they noted.
Comedian Kathy Griffin, who herself experienced quite a backlash after posing with a simulated severed head of the president, weighed in on C.K.’s return, attributing its reception — albeit controversial — with his gender and race.
A) You know how many talented women and POC comics are knocking on doors trying to get some time in front of audiences or powerful people in this business? And Louis just gets to glide back in on his own terms? Gosh, does it payoff to be in the boys club..the white boys club https://t.co/hewlglA2a7
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) August 28, 2018
BuzzFeed News reporter Scaachi Koul supported Griffin’s contention that C.K.’s and others’ “effortless returns highlight a double standard for women comics.” Koul’s contention is that comics like Griffin and Samantha Bee, whose misdeeds were less severe than those of C.K. and Aziz Ansari, are relinquished to apologize in perpetuity.
Koul says the return of men accused during in the heyday of #MeToo is “unnecessary.”
“Bee and Griffin have had to beg for the public’s forgiveness over and over again; the men, meanwhile, just have to sit out for a few months,” Koul observed.
C.K.’s #MeToo moment arose last November when five women came forward and accused him of sexual misconduct — to which he admitted.
FX Networks ended its partnership with him in the wake of the revelation, and indie film distributor The Orchard canceled the theatrical release of his film, “I Love You, Daddy,” according to Rolling Stone.
The content of the controversial film mimicked that of the very real sexual impropriety of which Louis was accused—pleasuring himself in the live and telephonic presence of women who had not granted him permission.
One Twitter respondent to The New York Times’ story on Louis’ return asked the question with which all of Hollywood — and many Americans — are grappling in the age of #MeToo.
What is an appropriate period of time for those accused or convicted of #MeToo-related crimes or behaviors to remain in professional seclusion?
Take a look at the discussion on “The Ingraham Angle” — then see the tweets below:
Genuine question: how long do people like that have to stay away that'd be satisfactory, bearing in mind they still have live somehow & probably do have dependents?
— Heinrich (@henryfadimo) August 28, 2018
“There can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong,” Noam Dworman, owner of the Comedy Cellar, told The New York Times.
Many wonder "how long" Louis CK should be "punished" for before he's "allowed to do comedy."
Not sure, but
1) he's not been punished.
2) For non-famous men, each count of indecent exposure and false imprisonment (which CK's admitted to) carries a sentence of ~1yr in jail
— Amir Talai (@AmirTalai) August 28, 2018
Louis CK was a very good comedian. One of my favourites. Sadly it turned out he was also a sex pest, and his years of denial were very damaging & unforgivable. So I think it’s OK that other comedians get to have a go now instead. We won’t run out of comedy.
— Matt Green (@mattgreencomedy) August 29, 2018
If theres anything worse than Louis CK returning to comedy, its hearing male comedians' thoughts on it.
— Melanie Bracewell (@meladoodle) August 28, 2018
Here's what Louis CK could do: use his immense wealth to establish an organization that identifies budding female comedians and matches them with resources, connections, bookings, and mentors. Repair some of the damage. That's what actual remorse might look like.
— David Roberts (@drvox) August 28, 2018
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.