If I told you that someone said the actual words, “Leave Louis C.K. alone,” surely you would think that I was kidding, or that at least they were kidding while satirizing Chris Crocker’s famous “Leave Britney alone!” YouTube meltdown.
I’m not kidding, nor was Janeane Garofalo, who definitely said those words in a recent live interview with BUST magazine editors Emily Rems and Callie Watts that has been published as the latest episode of the mag’s Poptarts podcast.
While discussing the difference between Democrats and Republicans (it starts about 32 minutes into the audio file posted in the link above), Garofalo said she believes that it’s “okay to question the source” of allegations that are part of the MeToo movement. “If you don’t anyone can be accused of anything at any time,” she explained. “I could say right now, ‘I’ve got pictures of you molesting a child. Don’t question me! Don’t question me!’” She added that such issues should transcend gender, that we must question who the person is making such claims and why they’re doing that because, “context matters.”
Well, it’s one thing to say context matters and then it’s another thing to say what Garofalo did a few minutes later. Rems asked how Garofalo felt stand-up comedy has changed for women. Very much so, said Garofalo, in terms of of diversity and subject matter. Rems then asked about MeToo and was cut off by Garofalo, who referenced her previous comments about questioning sources. Rems continued, naming Louis C.K., and referencing the things that are happening in green rooms that turn them into hostile environments for women.
“I think Louis C.K., leave Louis C.K. alone,” said Garofalo. “Enough with that. There’s so many issues we’ve gotta be motivated on. He’s been my friend, I stand by that, he’s been my friend since 1985 and I think he has suffered and when he performs at the Comedy Cellar and people get all irate, if you... if nothing else, care about his daughters. If nothing else, if you can find no compassion for him, which I think you should, think about how his daughters, who hear all of this stuff, feel. Why don’t you leave him alone for them if you’re so women-empowering? And by the way, this isn’t your fight. If it’s your fight, then it’s your fight. I believe that it’s between the people that... took issue with him. People get so upset and then I wanna know if they write their congressman.”
One could reasonably say that by attempting to thwart his behavior of harassing women from being normalized by questioning and protesting his attempt at an easy comeback comeback that started less than a year after he admitted to sexual misconduct, people are thinking about his daughters. They’re thinking about all girls (and people in general) and how to make the environment they’ll grow up in better than the one that allowed Louis C.K. to get away with what he did for so long. He should have thought about his daughters before wielding his dick and his power “irresponsibly,” as he said.
Luckily, the BUST editors did not let Garofalo off the hook.
“Why about all the women that he flapped his dick on?” asked Watts. Garofalo stammered that we’re still talking about this when there are “so many other things.”
“Why should I have sympathy for someone because they have a daughter?” asked Watts. Another good question!
“Two daughters,” said Garofalo. “Because you don’t understand what it’s like to be a public pariah.” Like anyone is entitled to fame! You get your shot, if you blow it by, say, masturbating in front of people who aren’t comfortable with it, well, maybe that’s it for you. Be glad you made the money that you did!
“You don’t understand what it’s like to have people in the street yell things...” said Garofalo.
“But he chose to be a public person and he chose to take advantage of that,” said Watts.
“Also I don’t think you know the full story about some of the...” continued Garofalo. Some of the what! What’s the full story??? What does Garofalo know???
She seemingly began to wind down, explaining that Louis C.K. confesses his sins (or whatever) onstage and that talking about this doesn’t win her any friends (“It’s like talking about Israel”). “I do believe when you’re a friend with someone, and if you think that they have suffered—I don’t believe in kicking a person when they’re down,” she said. Given her lack of articulation here and her repeated reference to her friendship with Louis C.K., it seemed that Garofalo’s stance was biased. (Later she’d clarify that she thought she’d feel this way about Louis C.K. if he weren’t her friend, and she certainly doesn’t extend the same compassion to Harvey Weinstein.)
After a few more exchanged words, Garofalo asked what Watts’s stake in this is and Watts said, “To let people know they can’t just rip their dick out in front of people because they can... When I walk into a room and you have a bigger position than me, that you don’t just get to wag your dick at me because you can.”
“Okay, first of all, that’s not what he did,” said Garofalo.
Then what did he do? Is the technicality here that he asked first, as he claimed in his statement in which he confirmed that his accusers stories were true?
“And also, you weren’t there,” Garofalo continued. “This is so unfair, because it’s another thing where people get bullied. I feel progress is thwarted when anyone says what I—because believe me, the pushback I get when I’ve discussed this before, when people ask me about it, feels so unjust to me, when there are so many issues we could be talking about. And I do think there is a point where somebody stops kicking people when they’re down. It doesn’t matter what the gender is. It doesn’t. This isn’t about male or female.”
Garofalo accused her interviewers as “misunderstanding exactly what happened.” “You’re going on what you’ve been told in the main about what happened,” she said. “He is not a person who goes into any room and in a powerful way, rip his dick out. He’s not,” she said. So, what? He did it timidly? She added that Louis C.K. has “paid heavily, heavily, and his family has paid heavily.” Okay, and?
Garofalo concluded the section of their chat on Louis C.K. by saying, “I feel like the amount of vitriol that’s gonna come back to me about this is going to be painful, but I feel like if your stomach hurts when you’re going to talk about something, then I think then you know you have to talk about it.”