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Louis C.K. Ruined More Than Just His Own Career

louis ck c.k. fx shows cops jen richards

Over the weekend, following allegations of sexual misconduct and a subsequent shitty non-apology, Louis C.K.’s entire career came crumbling down. The release of his movie I Love You, Daddy was cancelled; FX cut ties with C.K. and his production company; he’s been dropped by his representation and friends are making statements distancing themselves and apologizing for being complicit in his actions; Netflix cancelled his upcoming comedy special and HBO pulled his content from their streaming platforms as well as cutting him from their Night of Too Many Stars special. The list goes on.

All of this is 100% deserved and no one here is mourning Louis C.K.’s loss of work or status. But when you reach the level of success he had, and you lose everything, there are often a lot of people on the line that suffer alongside you. And because C.K. used his influence to amplify the voices of amazing women and other marginalized people–something that at best made a lot of people give him the benefit of the doubt for far too long, and at worst was a deliberate tactic to shield himself from accusations–those are now the people suffering the consequences of his actions.

FX has said they’re cutting ties with C.K., stating “He will no longer serve as executive producer or receive compensation on any of the four shows we were producing with him – Better ThingsBasketsOne Mississippi and The Cops.”

But it’s not entirely clear what that means for all of those shows. These shows that Louis C.K. chose to produce are phenomenal works of art, and Pamela Adlon, Tig Notaro, and Zach Galifianakis (not to mention the many, many people employed by their shows), deserve so much more than to end up the collateral of one man’s abusive behavior.

FX has reportedly been fairly silent on what will happen to these shows. Tig Notaro has previously made it clear that his involvement in One Mississippi was in name only. And either FX is downplaying his role in Better Things, or it’s another show that could easily do without him.

But of all of C.K.’s projects he’s been booted from, at least one is reportedly dead in the water, and it’s a hell of a shame. The Cops is an animated series starring Albert Brooks, which received a 10-episode, straight-to-series order on TBS, produced by C.K.’s Pig Newton and FX Productions.

We now know it was also set to star Her Story’s Jen Richards, who has long been vocal about the lack of trans representation in Hollywood, both in characters and casting. Richards announced on Twitter that she, a trans actress, was slated to play a trans character, something that shouldn’t be a rarity but is. As she reminds us, “the consequences of these actions go far.”

This is clearly not meant to put her feelings or her career above the importance of calling out sexual assault. Rather, she’s drawing attention to the far-reaching consequences of these men’s actions. Not only did she lose a job, but we all lost the breaking of yet another shameful glass ceiling.

We’ll have to wait and see, I suppose, what happens to the rest of these Louis C.K.-backed shows, because while I couldn’t care less about what happens to his career, we as a society are still in the place where it too often takes someone like him to make sure other voices are heard. Men like Louis C.K. use their successes as leverage against women, and no one should be dependent on that sort of man for their career.

(image: Shutterstock)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.