Hollywood sex scandal shows no signs of slowing down
On Friday, comedian Louis C.K. said allegations of sexual misconduct against him are true, and he expressed remorse.
Comedians Dana Min Goodman, Abby Schachner, Julia Wolov, Rebecca Corry allege the Emmy-winning star of FX's "Louie" either pleasured himself in front of them, asked to do it or did so over the phone. A fifth woman detailed her allegations against C.K. to the paper but was not identified.
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.
The release of Louis C.K.'s "I Love You, Daddy" has been cancelled by indie distributor The Orchard, which said it "will not be moving forward with the release." C.K. has already been edited out of the upcoming HBO benefit "Night of Too Many Stars" and his work is being scrubbed from the cable network's vaults.
More fallout came Friday when Netflix said it will not produce a second planned standup special starring the comedian, citing his "unprofessional and inappropriate behavior." He had been tapped for two specials, with the first airing in April. At least five of the comedian's stand-up specials remain on Netflix. C.K.'s scheduled Friday appearance on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" also has been scrapped.
In light of the growing number of sexual harassment claims in Hollywood, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Thursday the establishment of a task force to handle any resulting criminal complaints.
The industry group Women in Film also announced Thursday that it plans to launch a "help line" and panel of pro-bono legal professionals to provide counseling, referrals and legal advice to harassment victims. The free service is expected to be available beginning Dec. 1.
Other fallout this week:
• Actor Ed Westwick ("Gossip Girl) also saw his work buried when the BBC pulled the Agatha Christie mystery thriller adaptation "Ordeal by Innocence" in which he appeared. The broadcaster also paused filming on the 1980s-set sitcom "White Gold," which stars Westwick. Westwick has been accused of raping two women, charges he denies. On Instagram, he called the allegations "unverified and provably untrue."
• Actor Jeremy Piven took to social media to once again declare his innocence of sexual misconduct, saying on Twitter he hopes the string of sexual harassment allegations will lead to "a constructive dialogue on these issues" but warned about "false accusations." "We seem to be entering dark times — allegations are being printed as facts and lives are being put in jeopardy without a hearing, due process or evidence. I hope we can give people the benefit of the doubt before we rush to judgment," he wrote. Piven, who has been accused by two women of sexual misconduct, faces a fresh accusation made against him from an advertising executive. Tiffany Bacon Scourby told People magazine that Piven held her down while he performed a sex act at a hotel 14 years ago.
• Actress Jenny McCarthy reiterated an allegation she made against Steven Seagal, saying she fled from a 1995 audition with Seagal after he repeatedly asked her to take off her clothes for a part that didn't require nudity. The former Playboy model recounted her encounter with Seagal during a tryout for "Under Siege 2" on her Sirius XM radio show Thursday, a day after actress Portia de Rossi accused Seagal of unzipping his pants during an audition.
• "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner was accused of sexual harassment by a former writer on the show. Kater Gordon told the website The Information in an article published Thursday that Weiner said she "owed it to him to let him see me naked" when they were working together one night. Weiner denied the allegations in a statement released by his publicist, saying, "He does not remember saying this comment nor does it reflect a comment he would say to any colleague."
• "Prison Break" star Robert Knepper denied allegations that he forced himself on a costume designer in 1992. Designer Susan Bertram told The Hollywood Reporter that Knepper sexually assaulted her while filming "Gas Food Lodging." She alleges he grabbed her and pushed her against a wall in his trailer. She says she managed to escape. Knepper responded to the allegations on Instagram, saying "I am shocked and devastated to be falsely accused of violence against a woman. That's just not who I am."
• Director Alfonso Arau dismissed Debra Messing's charge that he demeaned her on the set of her first film, "A Walk in the Clouds." The 85-year-old filmmaker said the "Will & Grace" star was "following fashion" with her accusation but that it had "nothing to do with reality." Messing said in February that Arau and producers had surprised her with a nude scene in the 1995 film that she hadn't agreed to in advance. When she complained, she says Arau told her, "Your job is to get naked and to say the lines. That's it."
• Ellen Page says director Brett Ratner outed her in front of "X-Men" cast and crew when she was a sexually unsure 18-year-old, leaving her feeling violated and ashamed. In a Facebook post Friday, Page said Ratner used a pre-production meeting for the 2006 film "X-Men: The Last Stand" to make the comment she called "horrific." According to Page, she was standing next to a woman 10 years her senior when Ratner pointed to Page and told the other woman, "You should (expletive) her to make her realize she's gay." "He 'outed' me with no regard for my well-being, an act we all recognize as homophobic," wrote Page. The "Juno" star came out publicly in 2014.
The flood of accusations began after an October report in the New York Times alleging that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed or assaulted several women. He has since been accused by dozens of women, and is being investigated for rape by police departments in New York, Los Angeles and London. Others who face sexual harassment or assault accusations include "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey and filmmaker Ratner.