Cancel Culture RUINS Successful Comedian's Career
In 2017, Louis CK got “canceled,” and for good reason.
Five women, all of whom had worked with CK, came forward with sexual misconduct allegations. In the allegations, Louis CK was accused of repeatedly pressuring women — all of whom worked with or beneath him — into watching him masturbate. In some incidents, he did it without permission or over the phone. In others, he asked repeatedly until the victim gave in and agreed.
Now he’s performing at a sold out Madison Square Gardens.
To be clear, these allegations have been proven; CK admitted in his response statement that these accusations were all true. In his response, he stated “The power I had over these women is that they admired me … and I wielded that power irresponsibly. … I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”
And by a long time, he meant approximately nine months because by 2018, he was back to performing. In 2020 and 2021, he began his “comeback” tour with two separate specials called “Sincerely Louis CK” and “Sorry” (and yes, there’s merch). In one of his sets, he even makes light of the allegations, joking about how he likes to jerk off and doesn’t like being alone, how he “likes to share.” And these shows were successful. CK won a Grammy for “Sincerely.”
So what’s the issue here? Personally, I don’t care about the cutesy titles or whether or not Louis CK performs again; he’s already outed himself as moral scum, anything else is just auxiliary evidence of what we already know. The problem is how much success we keep giving this man, and a problem that CK himself identified. The accomplishment and admiration granted from his career gives CK power to wield over the women he harasses. It’s a dynamic that we’re all well familiar with by this point: Big man in the seat of power with a woman beneath him.
Those who maintain that as long as he’s funny, he deserves whatever success his comedic merit brings him are missing the point. We need to remember that by his own words, that success has been the key to his actions. We cannot separate the art from the artist’s sexual misconduct when the art allowed it to happen.
Sure he’s apologized, he’s promised to think more critically about his actions, but as long as he continues winning Grammys and selling out massive stadiums, he’ll still always have that power, canceled or not.