In an interview with Howard Stern this morning, comedian Sarah Silverman said that earlier in their careers Louis C.K. used to masturbate in front of her. But unlike the women cited by the New York Times who came forward with sexual-misconduct allegations against C.K. last year that he later admitted were true, for Silverman, it was done with her consent. “Listen, I don’t know if I’m going to regret saying this, but I’ve known Louis forever. I’m not making excuses for him — please don’t take this that way,” she told Stern. “But, you know, we are peers, we are equals. When we were kids, and he used to ask if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘Fuck yeah I want to see that!’” Silverman went on to say:
It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them, because he could offer me nothing. We were only just friends. So sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I’d be like, “Fucking, gross, no,” and we’d get pizza. So I’m not saying what he did was okay, I’m just saying at a certain point, when he became influential — not even famous — but influential in the world of comedy, it changes. And he realized that. He realized it later — but certainly before that New York Times — and even in that New York Times article, they talk about how he went on and tried to connect with some of these women to say “I fucked up and wronged you and want to make this right.”
Silverman said she’s not saying “everyone should embrace Louis again,” and she also acknowledged that her long friendship with the comedian makes it tough for her to judge the situation objectively:
I love him. He’s my brother. I’ve known him since I was 19. It’s so hard to talk about, because, you know, it’s all very black and white until it comes to your front door and the “bad guy” is someone you love. Listen: What he did was wrong. I would not say it was analogous to the serial rapist Bill Cosby, I would not say it’s even close to Harvey Weinstein. His pathology is permission-based — I’m not saying that’s okay because once he got famous, even just in the comedy community, that changes everything, and it makes it not okay — including, as he said even, putting these women in a predicament. It took him a long time to realize that that was not okay. But it just seems like how people come forward and say “I did this and I have immense remorse and I want to make it right” … I’m not saying they shouldn’t be punished or whatever, but it just is… They’re dead to the world, and then these schmucks that deny deny deny, no matter how much proof there is — and I’m talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Kavanaugh.
Later in the interview, Silverman says that once C.K. “became powerful, even within just his community, he felt like he was the same person, but the dynamic was different and it was not okay. But you know, I believe he has remorse, I believe he can come back, I just want him to talk about it onstage. But comics don’t like to be told what to do, so he’s just gonna have to find his way or not find his way and people are gonna watch him or not watch him.”
In response to the Stern interview, Rebecca Corry — one of the women who came forward against C.K. in the Times article last year — shared her thoughts on Twitter. “To be real clear, CK had ‘nothing to offer me’ as I too was his equal on the set the day he decided to sexually harass me,” she wrote. “He took away a day I worked years for and still has no remorse. He’s a predator who victimized women for decades and lied about it.” Silverman responded to Corry on Twitter with an apology: