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EDITORIAL: Louis C.K. performance raises questions

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Comedian and sexual abuser Louis C.K. is coming to perform in New Brunswick on Wednesday and Thursday, with both shows taking place at the State Theatre, according to NJ Advance Media.

Comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov accused C.K. of exposing his genitals and masturbating in front of them in 2002, according to The New York Times. C.K. asked if he could expose himself prior, and the victims believed he was joking.

“They thought it was a joke and laughed it off. ‘And then he really did it,’" Ms. Goodman said in an interview with The New York Times. "‘He proceeded to take all of his clothes off and get completely naked and started masturbating,'" according to the article. 

There is further harassment that the comedian engaged in, outlining a serial pattern of predatory behavior, according to the article.

“In 2003, Abby Schachner called C.K. to invite him to one of her shows, and during the phone conversation, she said, she could hear him masturbating as they spoke. Another comedian, Rebecca Corry, said that while she was appearing with C.K. on a television pilot in 2005, he asked if he could masturbate in front of her. She declined,” according to the article.

C.K. admitted to all of this, according to The New York Times.

Considering all of that, C.K.’s appearance in New Brunswick, near a college campus where sexual assault is far too common, may seem at the very least questionable on the surface, but it should surprise nobody.

Many complain about “cancel culture,” which is the concept of social outcry ending the career of its target. But the fact of the matter is that these public figures seldom face any repercussions outside of the tiniest of smudges on their resume. Aziz Ansari’s sexual assault allegation is another example of a public figure ultimately facing no consequences for predatory behavior.

People willingly dismiss these allegations. The only thing that the consumer cares about is getting their quick fix of entertainment in, regardless of the past that the entertainer has. Consumer culture encourages us to support these figures, which results in a lack of accountability and a continuation of abuse by those with power.

The wealthy and powerful do not face the reality of their actions. Just a couple days ago, Roman Polanski, who has been pursued by the United States legal system for rape for decades, won an esteemed award in France.

When society does not hold people accountable for their behavior, they have no reason to stop those actions. A meager, insincere apology is all it takes for them to continue hauling in cash for their work.

In that line of thought, the State Theatre is enabling C.K.’s behavior by hosting him. Anyone who attends his upcoming shows are also passive enablers by funding a man who has violated the privacy of several women. 

How can this be allowed at a college campus? College campuses are known for their predatory cultures, where young adults are more likely to be sexually assaulted. What kind of a message is the State Theatre sending by allowing someone with this kind of past, someone who is so unrepentant, to perform? It is telling us that this horrific behavior is okay. 

It is a travesty that C.K. is performing here. This should not have even been a consideration, especially when there are countless other comedians who could have been chosen instead. It is a nonsensical decision that indicates apathy and incompetence on behalf of the State Theatre. It has completely failed to read the room and, as a result, is sending a terrible message to impressionable young students.

Absolutely nobody should attend this event. If you have tickets, tear them up and refuse to support sexual assault. Tell your friends not to go. Send a message to both C.K. and the State Theatre that this type of behavior will not be promoted by Rutgers students.

Speaking more broadly, people who abuse their power like C.K. do deserve to face repercussions. It is not “cancel culture” to hold somebody accountable for their past actions.

It is far worse to enable this predatory behavior than to cancel someone, and the State Theatre is not holding C.K. accountable — so we must hold the theater accountable.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 152nd editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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