NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) – Comedian Louis C.K. has been accused of sexual misconduct toward several women, including masturbating in front of them to their horror and embarrassment, according to a report in The New York Times.
As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, C.K. has sold out Madison Square Garden several times and made women — and male hypocrisy — a staple of his standup routine.
“How do women still go out with guys, when you consider the fact that there’s no greater threat to women than men?” C.K. once said onstage.
But in the Times report, five women — including comedians Dana Min Goodman, Abby Schachner, Julia Wolov, and Rebecca Corry — allege the Emmy-winning star of FX’s “Louie” either touched himself in front of them, asked to do it or did so over the phone.
The Times report said in 2002, Goodman and Wolov – a Chicago comedy duo – were performing at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado when C.K. invited them to his hotel room for a nightcap.
Goodman told the Times that once in the room, C.K. first asked to take out his penis. She said she and Wolov thought he was joking, but they said he then did it — and then “proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating.”
The women told the Times that they heard C.K.’s manager, Dave Becky, was angry at them for telling people about the incident. Becky told the Times in an email that he “never threatened anyone.”
The Times also reported that Schachner called C.J. to invite him to one of her shows in 2003, and she said she could hear him masturbating over the phone.
The Times further reported that Corry said she was appearing with C.K. on a television pilot in 2005 and she asked if he could masturbate in front of her. She told the paper she said no and pointed out that he had a daughter and a pregnant wife, the Times reported.
Courteney Cox and David Arquette, who were executive producing the show, confirmed the incident to the Times. “What happened to Rebecca on that set was awful,” Cox said.
A fifth woman, whose remained anonymous in the Times report, told the newspaper she was working in production at “The Chris Rock Show” in the late 1990s when C.J. – then a writer and producer with the show – repeatedly asked her to watch him masturbate. The woman told the newspaper she went along with his request, but was not comfortable with it.
Lewis Kay, C.K.’s publicist, told the Times, “Louis is not going to answer any questions.”
In anticipation of the report, the premiere of Louis C.K.’s controversial new film “I Love You, Daddy” at the Paris Theatre in Midtown was canceled on Thursday night, and C.K.’s scheduled Friday appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” also has been scrapped.
Rumors of sexual misconduct have swirled about the comedian. A source told The Hollywood Reporter that the premiere was canceled in case the Times story, which had not yet dropped, was damaging to C.K.’s reputation.
“I Love You, Daddy,” a dark comedy, has stirred controversy because it highlights a romance between a 17-year-old girl and a 68-year-old filmmaker rumored to have molested a child. C.K. plays the teenager’s father, who is a successful TV writer and producer.
His character tries to stop the relationship between his daughter, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, and the filmmaker, played by John Malkovich. Other actors include Pamela Adlon, Rose Byrne, Charlie Day, Edie Falco and Helen Hunt. C.K. financed the film himself and quietly shot it over the summer.
In September, the film was very divisive at the Toronto International Film Festival because of how politically incorrect it was. It still landed one of the biggest buys of the festival, a rumored $5 million.
That same month, C.K. told the Times of the sexual misconduct chatter, “They’re rumors, that’s all that is.” His colleague, Tig Notaro, said in an August interview with the Daily Beast that C.K. should address the rumors, though she did not directly say anything about the allegations.
“I think it’s important to take care of that, to handle that, because it’s serious to be assaulted,” Notaro said. “It’s serious to be harassed. It’s serious, it’s serious, it’s serious.”
Meanwhile, HBO also announced that C.K. will not be participating in the cable network’s “Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism Programs” presentation, which will air live on HBO on Nov. 18.
HBO also said it was removing Louis C.K.’s past projects from its On Demand services.
FX also released a statement late Thursday.
“We are obviously very troubled by the allegations about Louis C.K. published in The New York Times today. The network has received no allegations of misconduct by Louis C.K. related to any of our 5 shows produced together over the past 8 years. FX Networks and FXP take all necessary actions to protect our employees and thoroughly investigate any allegations of misconduct within our workplace. That said, the matter is currently under review.”
Known for his candid, warts-and-all personal humor, which often includes bodily fluids and sex, C.K. — whose given name is Louis Székely — grew up outside Boston. He performed stand-up sets in New York and eventually landed writing gig on Conan O’Brien’s “Late Night” and David Letterman’s “Late Show.”
He went on to become the head writer of “The Dana Carvey Show” from 1995-96 and contributed to the animated “TV Funhouse” vignettes on “Saturday Night Live.”
He was a writer on “The Chris Rock Show” and voiced patients on the Comedy Central’s “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.” He also wrote and directed the film “Pootie Tang” with Rock, an infamous bomb. His recent TV series are “Baskets,” ”Horace and Pete” and “Better Things.”
He also appeared with Mayor Bill de Blasio at the New York Press Club’s annual Inner Circle show in 2015.
His new film, “I Love You, Daddy,” had its premiere this summer at the Toronto International Film Festival. C.K., who co-starred in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” said he and co-writer Vernon Chatman wanted to make a movie about beloved artists who are trailed by murmurs of scandal.
Some also see the black-and-white 35mm film as C.K.’s response to his own controversies. Allegations of questionable sexual behavior long have dogged C.K. and Roseanne Barr has said there are “multiple accusations” and comedian Tig Notaro advised C.K. to “handle” the rumors.
In the film, C.K. plays a successful TV producer whose 17-year-old daughter begins a relationship with an older director. It spawns a kind of crisis for C.K.’s character, who has his own issues with how he treats women.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)