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The Good That Came Out Of Louis C.K.'s Comeback Attempt

By Kristy Puchko | Industry | August 29, 2018 |

By Kristy Puchko | Industry | August 29, 2018 |


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Yesterday, news that admitted sexual assaulter Louis C.K. made a return to stand-up set the internet on fire. Across comment boards and social media, a debate raged about whether it was too soon for his return, what the place of abusers will be as the Me Too movement progresses, and if some don’t deserve a so-called second chance. Though in C.K.’s case, this would be more like his sixth chance, because this wasn’t the first time he faced consequences for masturbating in front of unwilling co-workers, just the most public. Anyhow, for victims of sexual misconduct and their allies, yesterday was infuriating and exhausting. But it wasn’t all bad.

Our outrage was not fruitless. Our voices were heard. We don’t yet know what will become of C.K. and his comedy career. But we saw waves and waves of people cry out, “Enough!” We banded together and did something incredible. For starters, we showed sexual assault survivors that their stories are being heard and remembered. And we encouraged a sense of community through our shared passion for a better future.

Some took the opportunity of C.K.’s repulsive return to point out other sensational comedians who deserve attention, and who—funny enough!—have never used comedy clubs or television sets as a hunting ground. In response to a Kathy Griffin tweet, Padma Lakshmi shared a stellar list of recommendations. (Which The Cut compiled into a video-rich list.)

But perhaps best of all was the impact of The Village Voice writer Talia Lavin. When comedian Michael Ian Black decided to use his position of fame and privilege to advocate for a “pathway” back for abusers like C.K., Lavin was one of the people who called out how he was putting the perpetrator’s well-being ahead of the victims’.

And when that tweet had plenty of men pouring into her mentions, she responded with a thoughtful idea, the #notallmenchallenge.

Something remarkable happened. One after another, men on the internet chose not to mansplain what Talia really meant, or argued they are real feminists, or condescended or cried out “NOT ALL MEN!” Instead, they actually donated to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. And she has the receipts.

Black even apologized, made a donation, and credited Lavin.

By Lavin’s estimation, the gauntlet she threw down, challenging men to prove they are the good allies they claim to be led to about $3000 in donations to RAINN in one day.

Yesterday was a reminder that storm clouds can come out of nowhere and boom and rattle us. But we can do something. Together, we can become the silver lining we want and need.



Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.



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