Don't we just live in a wonderful world, filled with unity, zen-like attitudes and non-judgmental medias. Of course, that's all baloney and you know it. Take for example the case of Louis C.K.
The 50-year-old comedian was shunned from the industry last fall when reports started to filter through mainstream news that, well, he liked masturbating in front of women in his dressing room. A rather perversely surreal act on the part of the actor/director/comedian.
The consequences were tough and swift, his movie "I Love You, Daddy," which he wrote, directed and starred in, was dropped by The Orchard, he was blacklisted in comedy clubs and an early retirement was what many wanted to come from the epic comedown he was enduring at the hands of the #MeToo movement.
Cue in, earlier this week. C.K. surprised everyone at New York City's legendary Comedy Cellar, where he showed up for to perform his first stand-up gig since the controversial allegations surrounding him had started. Based on the accounts from the people that were there that night at the cellar the performance was a total success.
Comedy Cellar owner, Noam Dworman, told the New York Times that the audience that evening gave C.K. "an ovation before he even started."
However, most of the mainstream media were shocked, shocked I tell ya, that C.K. would dare crawl out of the darkened woodwork he was placed in post #MeToo and, you know, perform. I'm not just talking low-brow outlets like Buzfeed either. Oh no, The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri wrote an Op-ed condemning the comedian, ditto The New York Times' Roxane Gay proclaiming that this is yet another example of men thinking "justice takes as long as they want it to." she went on to add that "it is painful that these men [like C.K.] think they are so vital to the culture that the public wants them to come back." Vox' Hana Michels' stated "we can’t be pushed out by your dick, your paycheck, or anything you say into a mic."
Meanwhile over on Twitter a lot of celebrities spoke out, including Kathy Griffin who tweeted "You know how many talented women and POC (people of color) comics are knocking on doors trying to get some time in front of audiences or powerful people in this business? And Louis just gets to glide back in on his own terms? Gosh, does it payoff to be in the boys club..the white boys club."
Don't bother defending Che if you're a celebrity though, just ask SNL comedian Michael Che who wrote on Instragram, defending C.K, “What’s interesting to me about these articles against Louis CK performing again, is how important fame is to people, A lot of what I read says that CK shouldn’t get to be a ‘famous’ comedian anymore. Because to them, he’s still winning. Isn’t that strange? Meaning he can be shamed, humiliated, lose millions of dollars, lose all of his projects, lose the respect of a lot of his fans and peers, and whatever else that comes with what he did, but since he can still do a comedy set for free at a 200-seat club a year later, it means he got off easy. THAT’s how coveted fame is."
Another comedian slammed for defending C.K. was Michael Ian Black who defended the comedian’s return saying he was “happy” to see him try to revive his career. He started off his tweet by saying “Will take heat for this, but people have to be allowed to serve their time and move on with their lives. I don’t know if it’s been long enough, or his career will recover, or if people will have him back, but I’m happy to see him try."
It is, of course, taboo for any man to chime in on social media when it comes to defending C.K, after all who are we to judge or opine on a situation that has to do with female victimization. At least that's what social media's mob intends to make you believe.
What C.K. did was wrong, very wrong, but isn't it time to start checking any famished anger you might have at the door and think straight for a change? Maybe now is the time for us to look at every individual #MeToo perpetrator and affirm various different consequences to them. Isn't it time to take a stance depending on the case at hand? Is it fair that Louis CK and Aziz Ansari (whose accuser seemed to be accusing him of bad date rather than any kind of abusive behavior) have to be put in the same league as evil men like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby? Of course not.
There has to be accountability and consequence with whatever unacceptable actions these men might have perpetrated in the past but every individual case is different. C.K's actions were perverse rather than abusive or aggressive, he used his power and name to act inappropriately towards his victims, but he apologized, so did Ansari, and importantly admitted abuse of power:
"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. 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."
Suffice to say, it was an actual apology, he didn't try and redirect the topic, unlike Kevin Spacey's infamous coming-out party which was a failed attempt to deflect the horrid accusations against him which involved abusing teenage boys. No, C.K. didn't run from the issue, unlike Mr. Weinstein's exit to Europe and total lack of compassion for his victims. It was an apology on the part of C.K, he did not victim blame, he owned up, confessed, and realized the power he held over these women. Only time will tell if he's being sincere, but he deserves another shot.