The news that Louis C.K. is attempting to “return” to comedy less than a year after admitting to masturbating in front of nonconsenting peers enraged people all over the internet. Among those most upset by the news (no surprises here) are the women in comedy who have and will have to continue to put up with a toxic industry that is once again reinforcing how little it cares about them.
Kathy Griffin is one of the latest, but probably the most thorough, to lay out all the ways and reasons the industry fails to make comedy a safe space for women. “You’ll never hear a successful male comic say that dealing with women in the business is just exhausting and that they have reached their limit. Or that they’re tired of years of having to beg to be treated the same as women or that they’ve had enough of the emotional abuse,” she wrote in a 26-tweet thread. “[W]hat I’m discussing in this thread can be applied to any industry.”
The thread eventually gets into how Louis C.K.’s return highlights the huge double standard between women and men in comedy, and what they get ostracized for.
“You know how many women I know who have had their careers effectively ended because they asked for the same amount of money as a man or who dared to make script suggestions on a show they were working on? How quickly they were labeled as ‘difficult’ and thus un-hirable? Louis [C.K.] can go jerk off in front of women [without] their permission [and] then his management destroys their careers and he just gets to waltz back in without any accounting for his behavior and what he’s done to fix it?” she tweeted.
Kathy is far from the only woman in comedy who thinks it’s too early for C.K.’s comeback. “I’m still on the same shampoo bottle as when Louis C.K.’s time out started,” tweeted New York comedian Sarah Lazarus on Sunday.
Comedian Jenny Yang also shared a long thread that serves as a “how-to” for men who have admitted to sexual abuse. “Atoning for Sexual Assault in Comedy Idea #1: Privately apologize to each of your victims,” she wrote.
In her thread, Griffin explains why she thinks men are sticking by Louis C.K. “[T]he boys club closes ranks and protects its own. And many men in the business [w]ant to see Louis come back because deep down inside they know they’ve also done fucked up shit to women,” she wrote. “[T]hey want to know that it’s not going to hurt them on a permanent basis. Louis is their test case.”
You can read it in full below.
A) There's also something we're not talking about...general abuse of/retaliation against women in the workplace that isn't in the sexual misconduct department. I got a message from a famous woman comedian the other night that broke my heart....(cont)
B) I've known this woman for years, told me she was basically done with being a comic. She was tired of going up against the boys club...exhausted with being made to prove herself -- something successful male comics don't have to do -- after over 15 years in the biz..
C) Not sharing exactly how long she's been in the business because i don't want people guessing who it is. But as I read this message from her I got emotional because successful male comics don't ever have these thoughts. They don't feel beaten down by the business...
D) You'll never hear a successful male comic say that dealing with women in the business is just exhausting and that they have reached their limit. Or that they're tired of years of having to beg to be treated the same as women or that they've had enough of the emotional abuse...
E) Why should you care about this...this isn't a rant about rich sensitive celebrities. First, what happens behind the scenes in entertainment, the people who are in the business, impacts the media you consume...without balance you get a male dominated view point.
F) The brilliant
@JenSiebelNewsom has pointed this out repeatedly...the media we consume impacts how we see ourselves. Second, this business may make a handful of people wealthy but the average Screen Actors Guild member makes $32k a year...hardly wealthy.
G) Most of the people in this business are hardworking people who make just enough to pay their bills and are living paycheck to paycheck. Finally, what I'm discussing in this thread can be applied to any industry...we are talking about sexual harassment more than before..
H) That's a great thing...but there's a big layer of stuff we haven't even begun to discuss...how women are treated in the workplace generally. The entertainment business is toxic, sexist, and dysfunctional...and many of us wouldn't be in it if it wasn't what we were meant to do
I) Most of us aren't in this business for money...I know that sounds ridiculous as I type this out from my big fancy house, but I basically worked for free in this business until my mid-thirties. From 18 to age 35 I wasn't making more than a few thousand a year TOTAL.
J) But i stayed in it and continue to stay in it because I can't imagine doing anything else. This thread came about because of that text message I got from that female comic but there's no doubt that the situation with Louis CK has me and other women in this business thinking.
K) You know how many women I know who have had their careers effectively ended because they asked for the same amount of money as a man or who dared to make script suggestions on a show they were working on? How quickly they were labeled as "difficult" and thus un-hirable?
L) Louis CK can go jerk off in front of women w/o their permission & then his management destroys their careers and he just gets to waltz back in without any accounting for his behavior and what he's done to fix it? Hell, he hasn't even done a sit-down interview with a reporter.
M) Did you notice what was missing yesterday after the news about Louis CK was revealed? You didn't see any big women comics speak out about him...I want to be clear, this isn't an attack on these women, many of whom are my friends... the reason they haven't said anything is fear.
N) For women in this business, success doesn't insulate you the way it does for men. A successful male comic can go spout off about an issue he has and he will not receive any blowback from powerful people in the business. But if a woman does it she is still going to be told.
O) That she shouldn't have said anything...and she's going to be put in a category by men (and some women) that's labeled "watch out for her." Think about it, one of the biggest male comics in the business, in the era of
#MeToo, is gliding back in after doing nothing to prove.
P) that he's done anything to deal with what he's done to women in the past and you don't have any super successful women in the business talking out? FEAR. These women aren't stupid, they know the boys club closes ranks and protects its own. And many men in the business.
Q) Want to see Louis come back because deep down inside they know they've also done fucked up shit to women (sexual misconduct or misconduct generally) and they want to know that it's not going to hurt them on a permanent basis. Louis is their test case...
R) So many women in this business stay quiet out of fear, even when it comes to men who really don't have tons of power, because they fear the label of being difficult or disruptive. Women comics generally have a desire to disrupt but they focus on external material.
S) Rather than internal material (entertainment business) because they know who butters their bread. As many of you know, I have had no problem focusing on the internal but it has hurt me within the business. Whenever I do a story time or talk about some jerk in the business.
T) My agents and publicists (I don't have a publicist right now) get nervous and warn me that I'm burning bridges. I'm labeled as "crazy" by some members of the press. You don't think women in this business look at the reaction I get and say to themselves "Not risking it!"
U) But seriously it's time to end the culture of silence, all of us women in the business, collectively, are way more powerful than any executive or producer. There are so many fucked up things that have happened to us in this business...
V) I can't tell you how many times I've had women in the business say things like this "(Insert executive/producer/director name here) told me I was too ugly for this part." or stuff like "I was at a dinner party and so and so told me in front of 10 other people that I'm a bitch"
W) All of this stuff gets buried because we just want to keep working. I've been financially fortunate in my life, i've worked hard and saved a lot, but you think an actress or comic who makes $100k a year with two kids is going to start spilling the tea? No way.
X) So for the men who are saying that we need to let Louis CK work again, you're dealing with decades of scar tissue..of abuse we've put up with, stayed quiet about, and laughed off. We're tired of being labeled difficult after we ask for what we deserve.
Y) Hell, we're tired of being labeled difficult after we just ask not to be abused. And we're tired of normalizing your behavior. I hope I'm not the only woman with a large platform to speak out on this...but if I am, I'm fine taking that position...I'm used to it.
Z) But I have one question for my women colleagues: how can we go out there and talk about feminism if we're not standing up for our own sisters in the very business we work in? How can we fight for women's rights overseas if we're not fighting for it on the studio lot? --END--