The story arrives after members of the comedy community and online outlets hinted at potential allegations for years. When Gawker published a blind item in 2012 that was widely speculated to be about C.K., and a follow-up post in 2015 raised further questions, it became a reoccurring talking point in the press. Comedians like Roseanne Barr and C.K.'s former collaborator Tig Notaro also spoke publicly about the allegations, which the comedian would often deny or avoid in interviews. "I don’t care about that," he told Vulture when the subject was brought up last year. "That’s nothing to me. That’s not real."
Long known for his comedy routines that blended observations about family life, crude jokes, and social commentary, C.K. rose to a unique position in American comedy following the success of Louie, which debuted in 2010 and has been cited as an influence on a range of autobiographical shows like Master of None, Atlanta, Maron, and the C.K.-produced Better Things. (Better Things star Pamela Adlon, who also appeared occasionally on Louie, released a statement today saying the following: "My family and I are devastated and in shock after the admission of abhorrent behavior by my friend and partner, Louis C.K. I feel deep sorrow and empathy for the women who have come forward.") In addition to releasing stand-up specials and producing his own show, he also wrote and starred in the web series Horace and Pete, which was released last year. Before emerging as a popular stand-up in the '00s, he was a writer on influential comedy programs like Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Chris Rock Show, and The Dana Carvey Show.
Some of CK's fellow stand-up comedians, like Rosie O'Donnell, Michael Ian Black, John Mulaney, and Jen Kirkman have made public statements about his behavior on Twitter. Parks and Recreation co-creator Mike Schur apologized for casting CK in his show despite having heard about the rumors. CK's longtime friend Marc Maron, who conducted multiple celebrated interviews with CK, also noted the situation on Twitter. "I've been friends with Louis CK for a long time," he wrote. "I read the article and none of it is good. I'll have more to say about it on my own show and not a shitty platform like Twitter."
The story arrives in the wake of the ongoing Harvey Weinstein scandal, which has led to many victims of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse to speak on the record about their experiences. As seen in the noted allegations against Kevin Spacey, James Toback, and Brett Ratner, these stories exist in different facets of the entertainment industry. Louis C.K. was not the first, and it's likely he won't be the last.