After the Louie star was accused of and later admitted to masturbating in front of female comics, among other instances of sexual misconduct, Silverman, a close friend of C.K.’s for many years, kept quiet on the matter. But in an incredibly poignant episode of her Hulu talk show, I Love You, America, Silverman breaks her silence on the painful subject and explains why it’s been so difficult for her to talk about it.
“I’ve, of course, been asked to comment, and in full honesty, I really, really, really don’t want to. I wish I could sit this one out,” she said on the episode, out on the streaming service later today. After joking that she’s going to “address the elephant masturbating in the room,” her tone then grew serious as she struggled to find the words to talk about her close friend.
“One of my best friends of over 25 years, Louis C. K., masturbated in front of women. He wielded his power with women in fucked-up ways, sometimes to the point where they left comedy entirely,” she continued, adding that she could couch it with heartwarming stories of their friendship and tales of what a great dad C.K. is — but that it’d be irrelevant now. “I hope it’s OK if I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he’s my friend,” she concluded.
Hours after C.K. responded to allegations in a New York Times story that claimed he acted inappropriately toward five women from 2002 to 2005 by saying, “These stories are true,” FX cut ties with the creator and producer, a decision made by Netflix and HBO the day before. Subsequently, his agent, manager and publicist stopped working with him. “I’ve brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother,” C.K. wrote in his statement. “I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/_WKFDqxiL80″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Read a transcript of Silverman’s remarks and watch the emotional clip below.
You’ve probably heard what’s happening in the news recently regarding sexual assault, especially in the entertainment industry. And to be clear, it’s not just Hollywood; it’s everywhere — like this stuff happens in bakeries too. It’s just not getting written up in The New York Times. This recent calling out of sexual assault has been a long time coming. It’s good. It’s like cutting out tumors. It’s messy and it’s complicated and it is going to hurt, but it’s necessary, and we’ll all be healthier for it.
And it sucks, and some of our heroes will be taken down, and we will discover bad things about people we like, or in some cases, people we love. Let’s just say it. I’m talking about Louis. And I’ve of course been asked to comment, and in full honesty, I really, really, really don’t want to. I wish I could sit this one out. But then I remembered something I said on this very show, that if it’s mentionable, it’s manageable. So I’m going to address the elephant masturbating in the room. And full disclosure: I’m still processing all this shit. But here’s where I’m at on it as of this moment. It could change tomorrow, and if it does, I will keep you posted.
One of my best friends of over 25 years, Louis C. K., masturbated in front of women. He wielded his power with women in fucked-up ways, sometimes to the point where they left comedy entirely. I could couch this with heartwarming stories of our friendship and what a great dad he is — but that’s totally irrelevant, isn’t it? Yes, it is.
It’s a real mindfuck, you know, because I love Louis. But Louis did these things. Both of those statements are true, so I just keep asking myself, “Can you love someone who did bad things? Can you still love them?” I can mull that over later, certainly, because the only people that matter right now are the victims. They are victims, and they’re victims because of something he did. So I hope it’s OK if I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he’s my friend. But I believe with all my heart that this moment in time is essential. It’s vital that people are held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are. We need to be better. We will be better. I can’t fucking wait to be better.
This article originally appeared in The Hollywood Reporter