If only this hadn’t been so predictable. Louis C.K., who in 2017 confirmed sexual misconduct allegations made by five different women, won a Grammy Sunday night for Best Comedy Album. The nomination for Sincerely Louis C.K. was his first since his accusers came forward.
This year’s Grammys already felt a little cursed. Kanye’s been banned from performing; The Weeknd is boycotting; Drake withdrew his nominations; and on top of C.K., Marilyn Manson and Dr. Luke have both received nods.
When reached by The Wrap for comment on the controversy surrounding those nominations, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. said, “We won’t restrict the people who can submit their material for consideration. We won’t look back at people’s history, we won’t look at their criminal record, we won’t look at anything other than the legality within our rules of, is this recording for this work eligible based on date and other criteria. If it is, they can submit for consideration.”
“What we will control is our stages, our shows, our events, our red carpets,” Mason continued. “We’ll take a look at anyone who is asking to be a part of that, asking to be in attendance, and we’ll make our decisions at that point. But we’re not going to be in the business of restricting people from submitting their work for our voters to decide on.”
In the fall of 2017, troublesome and long-simmering rumors about the comedian’s behavior culminated in a devastating report from The New York Times. Comedians Dana Min Goodman, Julia Wolov, Abby Schachner, Rebecca Corry and an anonymous fifth source told the Times that the comedian, an influential and powerful figure in their orbit, had masturbated in front of them without their consent. C.K. responded with a lengthy statement in which he admitted the allegations were true.
“At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first,” the comedian said. “But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them.”
“There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for,” C.K. added. “And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with... The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them.”
The comedian ended his statement by vowing to “step back and take a long time to listen.” Nine months later, he was back at the Comedy Cellar. He went on to pander to the far-right by making anti-trans remarks and mocking Parkland survivors. He’s since turned the allegations against him into a joke (“I like to jerk off and I don’t like being alone”), performed a markedly unapologetic set at Madison Square Garden, and released a special that tells us, above all, that cancel culture is a lie.