The following article contains allegations of sexual misconduct that some readers may find distressing.
Louis CK has released an emotional statement confirming that allegations of sexual misconduct from five different women "are true".
The Emmy Award-winning star of Louie was the subject of a New York Times investigative report this week, in which four women went on the record with accusations and another spoke anonymously.
Among the claims were one from comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, who said that Louis CK asked them if he could take out his penis and then started masturbating in front of them at the US Comedy Arts Festival back in 2002.
The article also quotes comedian Rebecca Corry's recollections of Louis CK asking if he could masturbate in front of her while they worked on a TV pilot, and Abby Schachner's retelling of hearing the comic pleasuring himself over the phone while she invited him to a comedy gig.
Despite Louis CK's representative originally insisting that he wouldn't "answer any questions" about these allegations, the comic has now released a lengthy statement in which he attempts to take responsibility for his past behaviour.
"These stories are true," he said in a statement to Digital Spy. "At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick 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 dick 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."
The 50-year-old said that he has never "forgiven" himself for the acts, and that he's not able to "wrap [his] head around the scope of hurt" he caused all five women.
"I've brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother," he concluded. "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."
In the wake of this controversy, Netflix cancelled an upcoming stand-up special and the release of his controversial film I Love You, Daddy has been called off a week ahead of its planned cinema release.
FX, the US TV channel airing his hit shows Louie, Better Things and Baskets, have thus far only said that they are evaluating the future of their partnership with the comic.
"We are obviously very troubled by the allegations about Louis CK published in The New York Times today," an FX representative said. "The network has received no allegations of misconduct by Louis CK related to any of our five shows produced together over the past eight 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."
Below, Digital Spy includes Louis CK's statement in full:
"I want to address the stories told to the New York Times by five women named Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not.
"These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick 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 dick 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.
"I have been remorseful of my actions. And I've tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I'm aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position.
"I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn't want to hear it. I didn't think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it.
"There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.
"I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work.
"The hardest regret to live with is what you've done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them. I'd be remiss to exclude the hurt that I've brought on people who I work with and have worked with who's professional and personal lives have been impacted by all of this, including projects currently in production: the cast and crew of Better Things, Baskets, The Cops, One Mississippi, and I Love You Daddy. I deeply regret that this has brought negative attention to my manager Dave Becky, who only tried to mediate a situation that I caused. I've brought anguish and hardship to the people at FX who have given me so much, The Orchard, who took a chance on my movie. and every other entity that has bet on me through the years.
"I've brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother.
"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.
"Thank you for reading."
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of sexual violence. If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland's helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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