Netflix Scraps Louis C.K. Stand-Up Special Amid Sexual Misconduct Claims

Louis C.K. - Getty - H 2016
Getty Images

Louis C.K. - Getty - H 2016

Netflix has scrapped a planned stand-up special with Louis C.K. amid claims of sexual misconduct made against the comedian.

“The allegations made by several women in The New York Times about Louis C.K.’s behavior are disturbing," a spokesperson for the streamer said in a statement Friday. "Louis's unprofessional and inappropriate behavior with female colleagues has led us to decide not to produce a second stand-up special, as had been planned."

In a report published Thursday, five different women accused C.K. of misconduct and claimed that he either masturbated in front of them or asked to do so. 

On Friday, C.K. issued a lengthy apology in which he admitted "these stories are true." He continued, "At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly."

(Read the full statement here.)

In the wake of the New York Times expose, his controversial new movie I Love You Daddy, which he wrote, stars in and directed, was dropped by distribution company The Orchard one week ahead of its planned Nov. 17 release. HBO has also cut ties with C.K., dropping him from an upcoming star-studded stand-up special and removing his previous stand-up specials and series from its on-demand services. Meanwhile, FX, where C.K. has a massive overall deal, says the situation is "under review."

The scrapped telecast was part of a deal C.K. signed with Netflix in February for two stand-up specials, the first of which premiered in April. In addition to that, four of C.K.'s previous stand-up specials are available to stream on Netflix as of Friday morning.

The New York Times report has put C.K.'s extensive slate of future projects under question. In addition to his own FX series Louie, which has been on an indefinite hiatus since May 2015, he also serves as an exec producer on Better Things, which is currently in the middle of its sophomore season, and Baskets, which is about to return for its third season. He also is an executive producer on Tig Notaro's Amazon comedy One Mississippi and is attached to an upcoming animated series on TBS titled The Cops.

Unfortunately for Netflix, the streamer has already had to make a similar decision following allegations of sexual harassment made against House of Cards star and executive producer Kevin Spacey. The day after a claim was first made about Spacey's inappropriate behavior by Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp, Netflix confirmed that the upcoming sixth season of House of Cards would be its last and the streamer issued a statement saying it was "deeply troubled" by the claims made against Spacey. The following day, production on the political drama was suspended indefinitely. As allegations against Spacey mounted, particularly by members of the House of Cards set, Netflix ultimately severed ties with Spacey. In a statement on Nov. 3, Netflix said it would not be involved in any future production of House of Cards involving Spacey and also scrapped its upcoming Gore Vidal biopic starring Spacey that had already finished filming for a 2018 release date.

It is still unclear whether Netflix will move forward with a sixth season of House of Cards, which had already filmed two episodes when the scandal erupted. In the same statement on Nov. 3, Netflix said it was planning to use the indefinite hiatus to "evaluate our path forward." Meanwhile, sources told THR the same day that the show's writing staff was already hard at work to rework the final season to write Spacey out.

Netflix is also the international distributor of the BBC comedy White Gold, which stars Ed Westwick, who has been accused of sexual assault by two different women in recent days. On Friday, the BBC confirmed that Westwick has "paused from filming" the series "while he deals with these allegations."

Nov. 10, 11 a.m.: Updated with C.K. statement.