Louis C.K. has broken his silence after he was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior by five women in a New York Times expose.
One day after those women came forward, C.K. confirmed that they were not in fact allegations in a lengthy statement.
"I want to address the stories told to The New York Times by five women named Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not,' said the 50-year-old comedian.
"These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my d*** 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 d*** isn't a question. It's a predicament for them."
He went on to state: "The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions. And I've tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I'm aware of the extent of the impact of my actions.
"I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position.'"
C.K. no longer wields the same power, he writes of in this statement.
On Thursday, HBO announced that they will be cutting C.K. from their Night of Too Many Stars' special when the autism benefit airs on the network November 18.
And the day before that C.K.'s new film I Love You Daddy will not be arriving in theatres it was announced on Friday.
The Orchard, which purchased the distribution rights to the film for US$5 million after its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival said in a statement: "The Orchard will not be moving forward with the release of I Love You, Daddy."
One of the stars of the film, 20-year-old Chloe Grace Moretz, halted her press obligations for the picture even before this news when she became aware of the upcoming Times story, as did Charlie Day.
The It's Always Sunny star told the Los Angeles Times: "I do not condone sexual misconduct and, in light of the allegations, will not be promoting the movie further."
And last but not least, Netflix will no longer stream the two stand-up specials they had planned to air later this year, stating: "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."
C.K. also writes in his statement that he is now on a journey of self-discovery in the wake of this expose.
"There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with," he writes.
"I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work."
He later adds in closing: "I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen."
This comes one day after comedians Dana Min Goodman, Abby Schachner, Julia Wolov, and Rebecca Corry publicly alleged that the Emmy-winning actor pleasured himself in front of them or over the phone at some point during the past 15 years.
A fifth woman detailed similar allegations to the Times as well but was not identified.
C.K. has refused to respond to the story despite the drastic impact it is having on his professional career.
"Can I ask you something?" I said, "Yes," she said. "He asked if we could go to my dressing room so he could masturbate in front of me."
Outraged, Corry said she reminded Louis C.K. that he had a daughter and a pregnant wife.
"His face got red... and he told me he had issues," Corry said.
Courteney Cox and David Arquette were the executive producers on the unnamed show at the time and confirmed the alleged C.K. incident to the Times. They had talked about halting production but Corry said she wanted to press ahead.
Goodman and Wolov said they were invited up to Louis C.K.'s hotel room in Aspen, Colorado in 2002 after they had performed at the US Comedy Arts Festival.
They claim he asked them if he could take his penis out as soon as they got into the room. The women both say they thought he was joking until he "really did it".
"He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating," they told the Times, as they recalled screaming and laughing in shock.
"We were paralysed," Goodman added.
The women said they quickly fled after he allegedly ejaculated on his stomach and that he yelled out: "Which one is Dana and which one is Julia?"
They say they immediately told a few people what had happened, but could sense people distancing themselves.
"We could already feel the backlash," Wolov said, adding they then started worrying about the repercussions on their careers.
C.K. is among the latest Hollywood figures to be accused of misconduct in a wave that began when dozens of sexual harassment allegations were reported last month against film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Known for his candid, warts-and-all personal humour, which often includes talk of bodily fluids and sex, C.K. grew up outside Boston.
C.K. is divorced and has two teenage daughters with his ex, painter Alix Bailey.
He performed stand-up sets in New York and eventually landed writing gigs on Conan O'Brien's Late Night and David Letterman's Late Show before becoming the head writer of The Dana Carvey Show from 1995-96.
C.K. also contributed to the animated TV Funhouse vignettes on Saturday Night Live, was a writer on The Chris Rock Show and voiced patients on the Comedy Central's Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.
He also wrote and directed the film Pootie Tang with Rock, an infamous bomb that is now a cult classic.
C.K. is currently an executive producer of comedian Tig Notaro's Amazon series, One Mississippi.
In a second-season episode of One Mississippi, Tig Notaro had addressed the long-rumoured allegations against C.K., who is listed as an executive producer on the show.
The episode finds one of the show's female characters, who works at a radio station, pitching an idea to her boss only to look over and discover that he is masturbating behind his desk.
The character then expresses a desire to leave but he urges her to stay, eventually ejaculating while sitting at his desk.
The female character then gets up and leaves and later discusses what happened with Notaro's character, who points out that she was assaulted.
He starred in a Netflix special earlier this year that was nominated for two Emmy Awards.
FX said in a statement Thursday it was "obviously very troubled by the allegations".
"The network has received no allegations of misconduct by Louis C.K. related to any of our 5 shows produced together over the past 8 years," the statement said, adding, "the matter is currently under review".
His new film is incredibly similar to Woody Allen's Manhattan, with both movies featuring a relationship between a teenage high school student and older man. He has previously cited Allen and Bill Cosby as two of his comedy idols.
John Malkovich, 63, plays a legendary film director who is rumoured to have molested a young girl decades earlier. C.K. plays a successful TV producer whose 17-year-old daughter, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, begins a relationship with Malkovich.
Allegations of questionable sexual behavior have long dogged C.K.
Roseanne Barr said in a 2016 interview with The Daily Beast that she was "speaking up" about claims and stories she has heard from people over the years about incidents of abuse before naming one person in a bombshell of an allegation.
"It's Louis C.K., locking the door and masturbating in front of women comics and writers. I can't tell you - I've heard so many stories. Not just him, but a lot of them," alleged Barr.
"And it's just par for the course. It's just sh** women have to put up with."
Barr later said that she believed Louis C.K. is "about to get busted".
Louis C.K. addressed those allegations in an interview with New York after he landed the cover of the magazine's special issue on comedy back in 2016, with the interviewer asking how he responded to a Gawker story that detailed the same claims that Barr made in her interview.
The comedian managed to quickly change the subject after saying the story had no impact on him at the time.
"I don't care about that. That's nothing to me. That's not real."
When pressed a bit later in the interview about his reluctance to comment on the story, he responded by saying: "Well, you can't touch stuff like that. There's one more thing I want to say about this, and it's important: If you need your public profile to be all positive, you're sick in the head."