By Samantha Milowitz || Staff Writer
On December 14th, 2016, I was accepted into my one and only college. I collapsed onto the floor as I read the only word that mattered: “Congratulations.” After that, there was a haze of champagne and congratulatory phone calls that suddenly made it all feel so real. The night got better as I continued the celebration by meeting two of my favorite friends for sushi and a concert at Madison Square Garden. It was actually not a concert, but a standup show featuring comedian, Louis CK. When I opened up the newspaper last week, seeing the accusations of sexual misconduct spread across the New York Times, I couldn’t help but think about that night: How great it was and how I had laughed at the atrocious things Louis CK had said, thinking they were all for entertainment’s sake. I now can’t help but find that night slightly tainted by yet another male celebrity that thinks they are entitled to treat women as sexual objects.
On November 9th, five women came forward with disturbing sexual stories featuring Louis CK. Beginning in 2002, accusations were made by women in the same field as Louis, comedians who admired his work. All of the instances of sexual misconduct involve Louis asking the women if he can masturbate in front of them, sometimes doing so without a yes or no answer. Louis had not spoken up about the accusations until November 10th, when he issued a statement via the New York Times. He said, “The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them,” (Louis CK, New York Times). He also said that he would take some time to stand back from his comedic career for the time being.
It seems like everyday I look at the front page of the newspaper and see a different male celebrity being accused of sexual assault. The list seems to be never ending: Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore, Charlie Rose, Louis CK, Matt Lauer, and I’m sure there are more skeletons that will be revealed. I am aware that sexual assault takes place all too much, but to see so much of it be exposed in the media is astounding. These men are held with the utmost respect in Hollywood, making them untouchable. They have been serving as role models and in the meantime, they have been assaulting hundreds of women, in total.
Most of these assaults are not recent, but years in the making; these women have either tried to come forward or have been too scared to do so. It is sad that these women had to hide their experiences for such a long time. What we do have to wonder is: why now? After all these years, why this time to reveal these sexual allegations? I believe it has to do with our current presidency. Here, we are trying to keep sexual assaulters off the streets and away from women, yet we put one in the white house. Mr. Trump has been accused by many women of sexual assault, and he has also been heard on tape, speaking about women as sexual objects in a rather crude and dangerous way. Seeing how far this man went in the election, being a sexual assaulter, must have instilled some sort of fear in these women, that if they did not come forward, these men could rise to a greater state of power. Trump’s presidency has ignited power in these women to feel comfortable coming forward and sharing their stories. Although it is sad and terrible to see these stories taking over every single day, it is also empowering to see these women finally speak up about their assaulters and get some kind of justice.
The Louis CK accusations ignited an anger in me specifically because of the admiration my family and I have for him. We used to watch his show, “Louis,” all the time and had inside jokes based on the episodes. One was based on a tradition Louis had before he went on a diet called a “bang bang.” To bulk up before his diet he would go to two different restaurants, back to back, and eat everything on each of the menus. When his name appeared on the front of the New York Times, all of those pleasant moments went away and were instead replaced by a disgust I have for men’s manipulation of their power in society. It was then that I came to the sad truth that no man is safe, not even the ones that make us laugh.
First-Year Samantha Milowitz is a Staff Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.