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Hannah Gadsby Calls Out Louis C.K. for Not Working to Earn Redemption


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Hannah Gadsby doesn’t mince words when it comes to disgraced comedian Louis C.K. She has called out C.K. both in an interview with the L.A. Times and in her new stand-up show, Douglas (which I won’t spoil here), and in a recent interview with IndieWire, she’s back to saying he’s not taking the “clear path” to redemption.

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Speaking to IndieWire, she said, “Well, he can stop calling people the r-word, he can stop feeling sorry for himself. There’s a clear path to redemption, he’s just not taking it. He’s being self-indulgent and he’s being a cry baby. That’s not a path to redemption, that’s just throwing a tantrum for the tantrum itself.”

She later said, “You can apply it to anyone. I just think there’s an issue at large, and it goes across all issues of representation. I think because we think about men as the default, they don’t know how to let other people talk about their experiences without centering themselves. And that runs deeper than two lonely comedians.”

Some might think that C.K. deserves a comeback, but I’m with Gadsby on this one. C.K., after admitting to sexual misconduct, disappeared for a while before being booked to surprise sets in which he goes on tirades against, for example, the Parkland shooting survivors. That isn’t a sign of an honest quest for redemption or self-introspection. It truly is a tantrum, in which C.K. is lashing out against the culture he feels turned its back on him. He just doesn’t understand that it turned on him for good reason.

C.K. made comedy an unsafe space for women, and his redemption should be more than a few months of quiet and then a comeback tour where he rails against whatever catches his fancy. He’s been booed before, and I’m glad that Gadsby is once more using her platform for good by pointing out that he’s mostly just feeling sorry for himself that he got caught, rather than actually doing introspection and working to make up for the pain he has caused others.

This applies to many of the men accused of sexual misconduct and assault in the past two years. They do mostly seem to center their own experiences, rather than think on what they’ve done. Gadsby is correct in saying that men let themselves be the default and center everything around themselves, and it’s a larger problem than comedy. However, C.K. just happens to be the perfect case study of men having tantrums rather than reflecting on what they’ve done.

C.K. is still getting gigs. He might not be in movies soon, and some of his films might be shelved, but he’s still working as a comedian. He has suffered few consequences for his actions, and Gadsby is right to say that C.K. is just centering himself and what he feels, rather than bothering to think about the women he’s harmed. I hope she continues to say it until it sinks in to everyone’s mind.

(via IndieWire, image: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

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Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.

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