Jon Stewart Expertly Deflects Question About His Pal Louis C.K.’s Alleged Sexual Harassment
Speaking at the University of Chicago’s live taping of David Axelrod’s podcast “The Axe Files,” former Daily Show host and everyone’s favorite political pundit Jon Stewart got a little spicy when asked directly about the various whispers of sexual harassment allegations against comedian and pal Louis C.K., most of which have been circulating since 2012. Most recently, comedian Jen Kirkman called out Louis C.K. on an episode of her podcast not by name but by eerily accurate description, in the manner of someone who doesn’t really want a powerful comedian in the very small and insular world of comedy to come for her.
But let’s get back to the University of Chicago and Uncle Jon, who wasn’t really hearing it for the question asked by an earnest and determined member of the studio audience. Shit gets hairy around the 1:14 mark.
“Whoa, what?!” Stewart says, feigning what feels like surprise as the person asking the question continues to present the avuncular host with receipts. “I believe there was an article on Gawker about it,” the question-asker continues, revving up.”If this is the first you’re hearing of it, maybe I already got my answer.”
As the camera zooms in, we hear that familiar cackle from Uncle Jon, the one that usually accompanied a sick burn about the Bush administration or whatever. And then, he asks for clarity.
“There was first a Gawker article, and then there was some tweets,” says the question-asker, a bold and brave man, willing to ask the tough questions the face of America’s favorite walking Vox explainer, who is not interested in hearing any of the shit that this person has to say.
“So the internet said Louis harassed women?” Stewart says. “You know who you’re talking to, right? I didn’t see the tweets. [laughter] I honestly, I’m not that connected to that world, so I do apologize, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but…I can’t really, I don’t know what to say.”
To the brave man’s credit, when Stewart starts to evade the question, he presses on, acknowledging the Bill Cosby debacle and the fact that comedians and noted public figures like Bill Maher and Hannibal Burress started talking about it in public and on Twitter before it became a legal case at all. David Axelrod tries to wrap it up, but Stewart gets the last word.
“All I can tell is that I worked with Louie for 30 years and he’s a wonderful man and person and I’ve never heard anything about this and Bill Cosby was a prick for a long time [laughter] But I didn’t know about the sexual assault. “
And then Axelrod wraps it up and everyone goes home. Stewart’s reaction is basically how any of us would react when presented with upsetting information about a friend that you’ve known for a very long time in a public forum. No one really wants to think that someone they think they know is capable of whipping out their ginger penis in a green room and masturbating in front of a colleague. But, please keep in mind that this message is coming from Jon Stewart, a man who has made his career by sitting behind a desk in a suit and yelling about the state of American politics. He is a man who urged America to stand in their truth. You’d think that he’d do the same in this sutation, but I guess not.