Nearly a year after the New York Times reported that five women had accused Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct, his longtime friend Sarah Silverman told Howard Stern Monday that C.K. used to masturbate in front of her. The difference? She gave him full consent to do so.
"I know I'm going to regret saying this," Silverman said. "I've known Louis forever, I'm not making excuses for him, so please don't take this that way. We are peers. We are equals. When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I'd go, 'Fuck yeah I want to see that!'… It's not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them. He could offer me nothing. We were only just friends. Sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I would say, 'Fucking no, gross,' and we got pizza."
Silverman said these encounters happened when the two comedians were younger and "letting our freak flags fly." The comedian shared another story in which the two would strip naked in C.K.'s apartment building and throw their clothes out the window onto the street and proceed to go down the elevator naked to retrieve them. Silverman was clear these were consensual moments between the two and were not comparable to the experiences of the women who accused C.K. of sexual harassment.
The overall point Silverman was making hinged on how C.K. initially failed to realize the inappropriate predicament he was putting younger comics in by asking to masturbate in front of him once he became well-known and more powerful within the comedy world. "Once he became powerful, even within just his [comedy] community, he felt like he was the same person, but the dynamic was different and it was not OK," Silverman said.
Silverman said C.K. eventually did realize he could no longer act this way, even before The New York Times story with the allegations against him was published. "Even in that article they talk about how he went on tried to connect with some of these women to say he fucked up and wronged them," Silverman said.
"I'm not saying everyone should embrace Louis again," the comedian continued. "I believe he has remorse. I just want him to talk about it on stage. He's going to have to find his way or not find his way."
Listen to the Oct. 22 episode of Stern's SiriusXM radio show to hear the full interview.