NEW YORK– Last Sunday night Louis C.K. surprised the audience at the Comedy Cellar with a 15 minute set (which honestly doesn’t sound THAT long, or at least not as long as other guys I’ve heard stories about, and certainly no longer than any one of us has done) suggesting his return to comedy, and – there’s no other way to say it – the post-#MeToo internet has been pmsing about it ever since. As a concerned man, I ask you: how many weeks, nay, how many months must a man stay out of the public eye and do absolutely nothing to make amends with those he hurt before he’s completely forgiven and never criticized again? How long after a self-aggrandizing attempt at a public statement admitting to sexual harassment or assault should he go away and not speak of it before he can return and also continue to not speak of it?
The MeToo movement needs to answer these simple questions so that I know the path to redemption should my own sexual misdeeds come to light.
Look, we can’t be handing out life sentences anytime someone does something wrong, and by life sentence I mean hiding away in smaller professional circles very much not in jail longer than the admitted offender feels like, and by something wrong I mean actual crimes sometimes spanning decades. I ask you, at what point in actively not pursuing any change can we say a guy has served his time? I would really, really like to know in case my own actions somehow catch up with me one day.
Survivors of the abuses the MeToo movement has shed light on often suffer from depression, PTSD, and anxiety, just to name a few, but who is giving the time and thought to how the successful (and of course talented!) abuser must be feeling through all of this difficulty that he himself caused? He’s probably pretty embarrassed and sad if people don’t want to see him do his job anymore after they found out he made it so that his victims couldn’t do their jobs anymore while he called them liars the whole time. I cringe to imagine how he must feel because it’s probably how I will feel if anyone comes forward about what I’ve done.
So tell me: what’s it going to take? Other than sincerely attempting to make things right with those hurt, exhibiting any understanding of how they were wrong and how to be better so that others in their large following might learn, or perhaps NOT going right back to what they were doing before with no warning and no acknowledgement of what happened less than a year ago and throwing in a joke about rape whistles, what must a man who has made some “mistakes” do in order to be welcomed back into the community they hurt and forced into silence? The #MeToo movement better have some good answers soon, because who knows how long I have before my #TimesUp.