Stewart condemned C.K.’s behavior on ‘Today,’ adding, “It’s one of those endemic, systemic, complex problems that we all haven’t had the urgency for.”
The fallout continues for Louis C.K. after the comedian confessed to sexual misconduct last week, including international distributors dropping his new movie I Love You, Daddy and additional names in comedy condemning his behavior.
The latest developments as they happen:
Jon Stewart ‘stunned’ by news
Stewart, one of C.K.’s longtime friends and collaborators, appeared on NBC’s Today Tuesday to promote his Night of Too Many Stars benefit, at which C.K. was originally scheduled to appear before HBO booted the comedian from the special.
Speaking to Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, Stewart said he was “stunned” by the allegations against C.K., which the comedian admitted were true in a New York Times exposé published Thursday.
WATCH: “Stunned.” Jon Stewart talks Louis C.K. scandal with @MLauer and @savannahguthriepic.twitter.com/fXBGz7NkEK
“You give your friends the benefit of the doubt,” he said, echoing a sentiment fellow comedian Marc Maron expressed on his podcast Monday. “I tried to think of it in terms of, I’ve had friends who’ve had compulsions, like drinking or gambling or drugs, and we’ve lost some of them. Some of them have died, and you always find yourself back to a moment of, ‘Did I miss something? Could I have done more?’ And in this situation, I think we all could’ve.”
The former Daily Show host, who says he hasn’t spoken with C.K. since the story broke, continued, “So you feel anger at what he did to people. But comedy, on its best day, is not a great environment for women. I think it’s gotten better over the years, but certainly, when we started 30 years ago, it was really difficult. So to do it was an act of bravery in and of itself. The idea that there was this added layer of pressure and manipulation and fear and humiliation.
He added, “Look, I don’t want to make it like, ‘Louis was the only one in the business!’ (He’s) not, it’s endemic.”
“I think it’s a question of, ‘We’re used to being in charge.’ And I think when you talk to women, they’re in a very difficult position, and you get mad at yourself too for laughing it off, or for thinking, ‘That didn’t happen,’ and it’s hard.”
“Have you talked to Louis C.K.?” -@MLauer
“No, I haven’t.” -Jon Stewart pic.twitter.com/BItu3TDLyc
Online commenters began calling on Stewart to speak out about C.K’s behavior after a 2016 interview with the former Daily Show host went viral, showing him laughing off a question about the allegations during a live taping of David Axelrod’s The Axe Files podcast.
“So the internet said Louis harassed women?” Stewart said as the crowd laughed, later claiming, “I don’t know what you’re talking about but I can’t really answer.”
Recalling the incident during his Today interview, Stewart said, “My first reaction was, What?!? And then joke, joke … As he kept going, I said, ‘I know this is very serious, but I know Louis. He’s always been a gentleman — to me.’ Again, it speaks to the blindness I think a man has, which is like, ‘Hey, he’s a good guy! What are you talking about?’ “
Bottom line: “We took somebody’s word for it,” Stewart said. “That’s an error on our part.”
More: Ex-manager Dave Becky issues apology; Marc Maron says C.K. lied to him
Distributors in Middle East, France, Scandinavia dump ‘I Love You, Daddy’
The Nov. 9 premiere of Louis C.K.’s new movie, ‘I Love You, Daddy,’ was canceled suddenly, just hours before the ‘New York Times’ published a story in which five women accused him of varying degrees of sexual misconduct. (Photo: Toronto International Film Festival)
Distributors in Scandinavia (Sweden’s Nonstop Entertainment), France (ARP Selection) Israel (Shoval Film) and the Middle East (the Dubai-based Front Row Filmed Entertainment) have canceled plans to release Louis C.K.’s I Love You, Daddy in their territories, The Hollywood Reporter, and Variety and ScreenDaily report.
The international distributors are following the lead of The Orchard, which announced it was canceling the film’s U.S. release on Friday, one day after C.K. admitted his accusers were telling the truth.
Front Row explained their reasoning in a Facebook post published early Tuesday morning: ”For as much as we acknowledge Louis C.K.’s creative and performing talent, by releasing the film in the Middle East and North Africa would mean condoning this type of behavior and forgetting the damage it has caused and still causes to the victims regardless of gender. Therefore, we, at Front Row, have decided not to release the film. This is the type of message we would like to send to the whole system which needs to re-examine its core ethical and professional values.”
Michele Halberstadt, the head of acquisitions at France’s ARP Selection, told THR that contractually, they cannot release Daddy until it comes out in the USA, but “contract or no contract, just look at the trailer, you can’t watch it now.”
She continued, “Louis C.K.’s life is so much a part of his movies and it’s very personal, so you cannot separate the work from the artist. It’s impossible and considering the subject matter the movie tackles it has become clear that you cannot screen the movie for what it is, that’s our position.”
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