By now, most of us have heard about disgraced comedian Louis C.K.’s surprise appearance at Comedy Cellar in New York.
We can’t always stop bad people from being admired public figures. It depends on the public’s value system, and whether enough of us are willing to demand that creative people adhere to the same decency standards that apply to the average person.
Granted, there has been difficulty in applying basic decency standards to the average person, especially where sexual misconduct is concerned. Women still hear the questions “What were you wearing?” and “Why were you there in the first place?” after they’ve been harassed or assaulted by men who aren’t very popular with anyone.
Okay, Louis C.K. is a genius. I won’t suggest every person who ignores boundaries is untalented or stupid. Horrible behavior can come from people who have something to offer.
The real question is whether we have a compelling reason to tolerate a public figure who imposes on others that way. The answer is, we don’t.
Last Sunday night, the creep made an appearance in front of an audience who didn’t expect him. I’ve read that the majority reaction was positive, but some people took offense. The wanker in question is also accused of telling a rape joke during his act.
(Please accept my apologies for the British English obscenity. I’m angry. If you have any questions about proper usage of the noun wanker, avoid it — especially in polite company.)
If this comedian can generate enough interest in his post-scandal work to restart his career, no one can stop him. However, anyone who is motivated can boycott the businesses associated with him. The audience members who felt uncomfortable can also register complaints in writing with Comedy Cellar’s management, and I believe they should. Women who work in the clubs — as entertainers or employed staff — shouldn’t have to share the building with someone who ignores boundaries, and public pressure is the only thing that can protect them.
Comedy Cellar’s management knew negative publicity would result from this incident. However, it’s the type of controversy that has more pluses than minuses for a business. It’s one of those scandals that people can’t wait to hear about, and they can’t wait to see how it turns out. The curiosity can outweigh concern for others.
If men believe there’s a way to excuse a man who masturbates in front of women who aren’t in a position to tell him to get lost, I’d like to ask those men a question: Would you leave your teenaged son alone with Kevin Spacey?
You can always split hairs and say there’s a difference because Kevin Spacey has an accuser who was underage at the time of the alleged incident. Then you’d better ask yourself if the age factor really is what you find “different.”
Boundaries are boundaries. Yes, sexual aggression is more serious when the target of that aggression is young. However, we can’t forget that sexual aggression is pretty serious when the target of the aggression is anybody.
Here’s a link to Zack Sharf’s Indie Wire article: