Louis C.K.'s admitted behavior has stunned the world, and the once-towering comedy giant may very well be facing the end of his career. Several women accused him of pleasuring himself in front of them, and he admitted their stories were true. His fall from grace proves a truth that becomes clearer with each passing day: when we speak out about injustice, we have the power to dismantle abusive and oppressive power structures and the people who feed them.
The peer responses to the Louis C.K. scandal have been swift and illuminating, and they have shed light on the misogyny rampant within the comedy industry, show business, and the world in general. And the light cast by these comedians' responses to Louis C.K. demonstrate the need to discuss these painful topics. The comics who have shared their opinions on the matter all have firsthand experience in the industry, from the shadiest comedy clubs to the biggest sold-out arenas. They know what the culture is like, and their comments illustrate that the behind-the-scenes atmosphere is far from funny or even safe – especially for women.
But what comics said about Louis C.K. also reveals what feels like a shared sense of betrayal. Louis C.K. was a friend to many of them, a colleague to others. No matter your gender, when someone's behavior is shown to be abusive or predatory, even if it isn't directed at you, the entire relationship is thrown into question. Now is the time to talk about it, share support for the victims, and lift one another up. And, thankfully, these famous comedians are doing just that.