Jon Stewart Gets Honest About Not Believing Louis C.K. Sexual Misconduct Rumors: ‘You Get Mad at Yourself’
"You give your friends the benefit of the doubt," Stewart said during an interview on TODAY.
Jon Stewart joined Matt Lauer during the November 14 edition of “TODAY” to promote his upcoming HBO comedy event “Night of Too Many Stars,” and the comedian took some time during the interview to address Louis C.K.’s sexual misconduct. Stewart says he became aware of the rumors surrounding C.K.’s behavior only a year ago when an audience member asked him about the rumors during a live taping of a podcast. Although Stewart took the rumors seriously, he was also willing to give a good friend like C.K. the “benefit of the doubt.”
“A year ago I was doing a podcast with David Axelrod and a man in the audience asked me about it. I hadn’t heard at that point of any of it,” Stewart said. “[The audience member] said, ‘What do you think about the allegations against Louis C.K.?’ and my first response was, “What?…I know this is very serious but I know Louis, he’s always been a gentleman to me.’ Again, it speaks to the blindness that a man has like, ‘Oh he’s a good guy, What are you talking about?’…That’s an error on our part.”
Stewart says he has not spoken with C.K. since the The New York Times published a report on November 9 in which five women accused C.K. of sexual misconduct, including asking all of the women if he could masturbate in front of them. Comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov said C.K. did masturbate in front of them in his hotel room in Aspen, Colorado during the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. C.K. admitted all the allegations were true in a
statement made November 10.
“You give your friends the benefit of the doubt,” Stewart explained about not believing the rumors when he first heard them. “I have friends that have compulsions and have done things like gambling, drinking, or drugs, and we’ve lost some of the them. Some of them have died. You always find yourself back to a moment of, “Did I miss something? Could I have done more?” In this situation, I think we all could of. You feel anger at what he did to people.”
“Comedy on its best day is not a great environment for women,” Stewart continued. “I think it’s gotten better over the years but certainly when we started 30 years ago it was really difficult, and so to do it was an act of bravery in and of itself. The idea there was this added layer of pressure and manipulation and fear and humiliation…I don’t want to make this “Louis was the only one of in the business.” It’s not, it’s endemic. We’re used to being in charge, and I think if you talk to women they’re in a very difficult position. You get mad at yourself for laughing it off or thinking it didn’t happen.”
HBO has since removed C.K. from the Stewart-hosted “Night of Too Many Stars,” which airs live on the network on November 18 at 8pm ET. You can watch Stewart on “TODAY” talking about C.K. in the videos below.