HOLON – Two years after being swept up in the #MeToo movement and acknowledging sexual misconduct with multiple women, comedian Louis C.K. took to the stage at a nearly packed basketball arena outside Tel Aviv, where the audience seemed ready to let it go.
“How have your last couple of years been?” he asked near the start of the hour-long set Thursday night, before describing himself sitting in a restaurant, eating alone, as someone at another table gives him the finger for the duration of the meal.
Later in the set, he acknowledged his transgressions, saying that even though he had asked permission before masturbating in front of women, it had been a mistake. “If they say ‘yes,’ then still don’t do it, because it’s not popular.”
The 52-year-old comedian’s career imploded in November 2017 after he acknowledged complaints of harassment reported by the New York Times, most of which involved him masturbating in the presence of women he knew professionally. Some of the women said they feared their careers would suffer if they discussed the incidents, which took place more than a decade ago.
C.K. released a statement after the Times report, saying “these stories are true.” He acknowledged abusing his power over others and causing them pain but did not publicly apologize.
Earlier this month, one of his five accusers disputed that his behavior was consensual. “We never agreed nor asked him to take all his clothes off and masturbate to completion in front of us,” Julia Wolov wrote in an op-ed for the Canadian Jewish News.
The revelations, which came at the height of the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse in the workplace, led to the cancellation of C.K.’s numerous TV contracts and the scrapping of his feature-length film, “I Love You, Daddy,” shortly before its release.
The comedian vowed to “step back and take a long time to listen.”