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November 15, 2017

The One Thing Missing From the Outcry Against Louis CK

The tsunami of truth-telling, justice -seeking women rolling over Hollywood is wide, deep and impartial. The men caught up in its powerful, long-denied currents, accused of sexual harassment and assault, range from the epically powerful (Weinstein) to the relatively unknown (Toback) and now to the beloved.

Although sexual violence has touched #metoo, and I wasn’t surprised, seeing Louis CK’s name added to the list of accused was unnerving. Aside from seeing Weinstein at the Oscars and recognizing him as a Hollywood power player, he was an unknown quantity. But Louis was my guy. I’ve quoted him, shared clips of his standup to illustrate points in my diversity consulting, and kept his bit on air travel downloaded to my iPhone to provide levity and perspective to my own travel misadventures. I found his gender commentary frank and refreshing. I studied his sets to emulate one day in my own foray into comedy.

Then he admitted his guilt and social media blew up. Despite my bias favoring Louis CK, it seemed his apology got more negative reactions than news of either his behavior or Weinstein’s. In fact, when I posted his his statement on two of my feeds I got more vitriolic responses than I’ve seen in a while. Men and women alike expressed hatred towards Louis, while others rejected my appreciation of his apology as a possible model for other men.

Louis’s bad behavior probably feels more like a personal betrayal than Weinstein’s because we got to “know” Louis CK onscreen and he portrayed himself – on and off stage – as a progressive male. But that alone doesn’t explain the breadth and depth of anger directed at him post-apology. True, his statement was neither ideal nor perfect, but most of the reactions I saw lacked something essential to progress and change: compassion.  Read the rest on Huff Post

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