The comedian and podcaster Marc Maron has become one of the most prominent performers to reckon publicly with the admission by Louis C.K. that he had engaged in acts of sexual misconduct with several women.
In Monday’s installment of his WTF podcast, Mr. Maron talked about a New York Times report in which five women spoke about past experiences when Louis C.K. masturbated in front of them, asked if he could masturbate in front of them or was heard masturbating while he spoke on the phone. Following this report, Louis C.K. said in a statement, “These stories are true.”
Mr. Maron, a friend and colleague of Louis C.K.’s, said on his podcast that he was aware of at least one of the incidents detailed in the Times report. But when Mr. Maron asked if it was true, he said Louis C.K. had denied it.
“Sadly, I knew what most people knew,” Mr. Maron said. “There was a story, out there, I guess going back several years. That there were unnamed people in the story. It took place in a hotel room in Aspen. It was always out there, but then it would pick up momentum at different times.”
Describing his conversations with Louis C.K., Mr. Maron said: “I would say, ‘This story about you forcing these women to watch you jerk off — what is that? Is that true?’ He goes, ‘No, it’s not true. It’s not real. It’s a rumor.’”
“And I would say, ‘Well, are you going to address it somehow, to handle it, to get out from under it, whenever it shows up?’” Mr. Maron continued. “He goes, ‘No, I can’t. I can’t do that. It’ll give it life. It’ll give it air.’ And that — that was the conversation. The other incidents, how would everybody know about that?”
Mr. Maron said larger institutional problems in comedy made it difficult for women to be heard and believed when they spoke of being mistreated by other performers.
He said that he knew Rebecca Corry, one of the women who spoke to The Times, “and she couldn’t tell me about this.”
“There was no place for them to go with these stories, where they felt safe to tell them,” Mr. Maron said.
“I want to believe women, but in this particular instance, there was no one named in that story,” he said. “There was no place for women to go tell this story. There was no women attached to it. I didn’t know their names until Friday. So I believed my friend.”
Separately, Abby Schachner, another of the women who spoke to The Times, wrote in a Facebook post that she forgave Louis C.K. and accepted what he had said in his statement.
Ms. Schachner wrote: “Louis put out a statement, which frankly, made me cry. It touched me. And I do feel some of his insights speak to how I felt. I looked up to the people who recognized my work and made them (sigh), father figures/mentors whether they wanted that role or not. I shot myself in the foot, protected myself when I needed to be bold, was ‘bold’ when I should’ve been ‘poised’, hid behind ex-boyfriends, excuses, and the excuse of my excuses. I felt like I disappointed anyone who ever believed in me. But most of all, I never truly valued myself.”
Ms. Schachner said that Louis C.K. “did abuse his power.”
“And yes, obviously he has a ‘glitch,’” she continued. “But I do, too. We all do. We’re learning a new language here, and we need to be kind, and we need to be open, and we need to be fair, and we need to listen.”
She concluded by writing: “I do forgive Louis. I forgave him. But most of all, I think it’s time to forgive myself, too.”
Other women who spoke to The Times had different reactions to Louis C.K.’s statement. The comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov wrote in a Twitter post, “It was a statement not an apology. Don’t get it twisted.”