Comedian Jon Stewart says his friendship to industry peer Louis C.K. apparently blinded him to years of sexual harassment recently revealed by a New York Times report.
NBC’s Matt Lauer sat down with the former host of “The Daily Show” Tuesday to discuss an upcoming benefit for individuals with autism, but the two took a moment before the segment’s end to discuss a widening sex scandal embroiling Hollywood.
Mr. Stewart said he was “stunned” and “angry” to learn that his friend engaged in sexual misconduct involving masturbation.
“A year ago, I was doing a podcast with David Axelrod and a man in the audience asked me about it,” Mr. Stewartsaid. “I hadn’t heard, at that point, of any of it. He said, ‘What do you think of the allegations against Louis C.K., and my first response was, ‘What?’ and then joke, joke. And as he kept going, I was, ‘Look, I know this is very serious. I know Louie. He’s always been a gentleman’ — to me, which, again, speaks to the blindness a man has.”
Louis C.K. released a statement on Nov. 10 that vindicated five women who spoke to The Times about abuse dating back to the late 90s.
“These stories are true,” the comedian wrote. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my d—k without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your d—k isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
Mr. Stewart said he now tries to understand how he failed to realize the truth about his friend.
“[I was] stunned, I think,” he said. “You give your friends the benefit of the doubt. … 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 have.”
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