Comedian Louis C.K. admits and apologizes for sexual misconduct

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LOS ANGELES — U.S. comedian Louis C.K. said on Friday that allegations against him by several women of sexual misconduct are true and apologized for his actions.

“These stories are true,” he said in a statement emailed to Reuters and other news outlets.

Five women detailed sexual misconduct allegations against the Emmy-winning comedian in a New York Times report published on Thursday, including three women who said he had masturbated in front of them. The allegations dated back 15 years.

C.K released his statement after his upcoming film “I Love You Daddy” was scrapped for release on Friday, and Netflix Inc canceled a planned special with the comedian because of the allegations.

“I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves “ his statement added.

The comedian had previously declined comment on the New York Times story.

He is the latest celebrity in the entertainment business to be accused of sexual misconduct by people coming forward in the wake of allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey.

C.K., 50, said he had “spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.” He did not make clear how long he would be stepping back for.

The comedian, best known for his TV comedy series “Louie,” acknowledged he had misused used his power over the women, who were in the early stage of their careers at the time.

Two of the women in the New York Times article, comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, said C.K. had invited them to his hotel room after a comedy festival in Aspen, Colorado, in 2002 and then masturbated in front of them.

“The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly,” C.K. said.

Wolov and Goodman could not immediately be reached by Reuters for comment on Friday.

Netflix said earlier that what it called C.K’s “unprofessional and inappropriate behavior with female colleagues” had led the streaming service to decide not to produce a planned second stand-up special with him.

Film distributor The Orchard said it would not be moving forward with the release next week of “I Love You, Daddy.” The movie was written and directed by C.K. and he also appears in the film as the father of a 17-year-old girl who has a romance with a 68-year-old filmmaker.

Time Warner Inc’s HBO said on Thursday that C.K.’s past projects with the network, including 2006’s “Lucky Louie” series, would be removed from its on-demand services and that the comedian would no longer participate in its Nov. 18 televised “Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism Programs.”

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Ben Klayman and Clive McKeef)

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