The Ex and I encountered Louis CK maybe two or three times way, way, back in the day. I liked him. He struck me as smart and empathetic and just plain nice. He was no more or less neurotic than anyone else I met in the Ex's line of work.
Two things stood out about him:
He was secure enough about his own material that he could enjoy other comedians' work. Some standups will not laugh at another comedian. Some of them won't even watch, much less compliment another person's set.
Now this is where we get into to part of this post that makes my chest hurt. He really seemed to enjoy the company of women. I don't mean in a "Hey baby!" way. He talked to female comedians with the same respect he talked to his male cohorts.
Yesterday, Ex said he could remember one comedian having a rough time with someone who harassed her to the point that when he told me about it, I said it sounded like the guy was "marking territory." (This is how I finally remembered the conversation, which also helped me remember I wasn't there for this.) He said the woman sat down with Louis and just vented and he did nothing but listen for a long time.
Having written all of this, let me make it very clear that I am in no way excusing Louis CK. I am sure there were people who had a better vantage point than mine and who saw this dark side long before yesterday's revelation. As someone who has heard, "No one will believe the fat/ugly girl," I am not about to show disrespect to his victims by suggesting his actions are anything less than what they were.
Is his statement about what happened sincere? He's using some dodgy language because there may be lawsuits coming up and he has to be careful about what he puts out there. I think there's a part of him that has woken up and he does see what damage he has done. He is acknowledging it, which is miles ahead of what other people in his position have done. It doesn't mean he's there or it's all good, but his response is more than a few steps further than anyone else who has been accused of sexual assault so far.
He should have listened to Tig Notaro. He should have owned this, and started to fix things long before it got to this point.
The Ex brought up toxic masculinity. I think it should be factored in. However, sometimes I wonder if guys who would otherwise be decent people get corrupted by power. At some point they get lost. Without even realizing it, they turn into monsters.
Louis CK has produced work of his own that spoke to the experiences of women who are usually dismissed. You can see this on "Louie" and "Horace and Pete." How sad is it that someone whose work indicates he should know better turns out to be guilty? It's tragic that he turned out to be one of the bad guys. I hope his next step is to really work at undoing the damage he's done. He owes it to the women he has hurt. He owes it to the people who could still be hurt because he has contributed to making sexual misconduct okay.