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Why Did Sarah Silverman Feel the Need to Say She Used to Let Louis C.K. Masturbate in Front Her?

from ÒI Love You, America with Sarah SilvermanÓ appears on stage at The Paley Center for Media's 2018 PaleyFest Fall TV Previews - Hulu at The Paley Center for Media on September 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.
Sarah Silverman is probably my top example of a well-meaning white lady. The actress-comedian is certainly a liberal person who has shown remorse for her blackface sketch and other screwups, but also wants to have conversations with “the other side,” and it can become very frustrating because humanizing the other side of issues that shouldn’t have two sides is overdone and doesn’t actually fix anything.

Still, one of the things that I have congratulated her for has been her statements on Louis C.K., showing support for her friend but also calling out his disgusting behavior.

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Then, everything changed when Howard Stern attacked. According to Variety, during an interview on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show on Monday, Sarah Silverman revealed that when she and C.K. were “kids” growing up together, there were times when she would let him masturbate in front of her, with consent.

“I don’t know if I’m going to regret saying this,” Silverman said. “I’ve known Louis forever, I’m not making excuses for him, so please don’t take this that way. We are peers. We are equals. When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘F— yeah I want to see that!’ … It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them. He could offer me nothing. We were only just friends. So sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I would say, ‘F—ing no, gross,’ and we got pizza.”

According to Silverman, this story was part of her interpretation of why C.K. didn’t understand that what he was doing was wrong, coupled with his “sudden fame” and “inability to grapple with the newfound power that came with it”—which, Silverman herself admits, she is not excusing, but she wants to “explain,” in some way, how C.K’s through the process went from his point of view.

“I’m not saying what he did was okay. I’m just saying at a certain point, when he became influential, not even famous, but influential in the world of comedy, it changes,” she said. “He felt like he was the same person, but the dynamic was different and it was not okay. I’m not saying everyone should embrace Louis again. I believe he has remorse. I just want him to talk about it on stage. He’s going to have to find his way or not find his way.”

Look, as I said before, Silverman has tried to be a mediating force in this journey, but I have to ask: Who is this for? What does it help anyone to tell the world that you used to let your friend masturbate in front of you? For me, as someone who does not condone C.K.’s actions, it just proves that he has an issue with wanting to masturbate in front of women and believed that behavior was normal.

For C.K. supporters, this will probably be manipulated to say that, since Silverman makes it sound like C.K. would’ve stoped if she did not consent, then if the women who have accused him had said “no” to him, C.K. would have stopped. That ignores the fact that Silverman and C.K. had a pre-established relationship and that no one should just be asking random women for permission to masturbate in front of them.

Really, this statement helps no one and just creates false equivalencies, something that Silverman acknowledges in her statements but continues to on afterward regardless. I’m not disappointed, because I didn’t expect better, but I’m still upset that she decided to do this.

(via Variety, image: David Livingston/Getty Images)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.

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