FX chief explains decision to cut ties with Louis C.K.
It’s been nearly two months since FX cut all ties with one of the biggest stars of its network, Louis C.K., after the comedian was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, and on Friday, FX CEO John Landgraf finally opened up about the decision.
“We did not find any instances or issues of misconduct at any time during the eight years we worked together,” Landgraf told reporters at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena. Asked if the network had known about the allegations about the comedian/actor/producer before the New York Times story in November — in which five women alleged that he masturbated in front of them or exposed himself without their consent, which Louis C.K. himself admitted was true in a statement the following day — Landgraf responded, “We didn’t know about them, and the only thing I’m aware of was a blind item in Gawker and to me that’s not a verified news source.” He added that the Gawker story did not mention Louis C.K. by name.
“We view this as a no-tolerance workplace,” said Landgraf. “It’s our responsibility to provide a safe working environment… We’re trying to get better and better.”
Landgraf said that Louis C.K. — who starred for five seasons in the revered comedy Louie, which had been on extended hiatus since last airing in 2015 — told him that he was going to write a statement that verified the New York Times report. (Though he had all but denied the rumors of misconduct in a 2015 interview, Louis C.K. said in his statement that “these stories are true,” adding, “The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else.”) “Knowing that, we made a decision that we were going to cut ties,” said Landgraf, “and we decided to do that after he acknowledged the reports.”
FX removed Louie from its On Demand app after ending their association with the comedian, and when asked if the series might return in that form one day, Landgraf said: “The simple answer is, I don’t know. I think the next things that need to happen are bigger and more important than the question of that. I think this is a cultural movement, a lot has happened, there’s more things to happen, it’s a larger conversation… Also, I don’t know what Louis is going to do, I don’t know what’s up with him, what further things he has to say, so we’re kind of in a wait-and-see mode. Me personally, I still think that’s a great show. It’s a show you might look at through a different prism now than you looked at before, but if you thought it was art, it’s still art — maybe art of a different kind. But as to when and if we might restore it to our streaming services, all I can say is I don’t know.”
In its statement on Nov. 10, FX said that that it was no longer working with Louis C.K., cancelling the overall deal between FX Productions and his production company, Pig Newton, stripping him of his executive producer title and cutting him off from compensation for the four shows that he produced with the network and studio: Better Things, Baskets, One Mississippi, and The Cops. During the TCA session, Landgraf addressed the status of Better Things, which Pamela Adlon stars in and co-created with Louis C.K. “It’s Pamela’s show,” he says. “These are her stories, this is her life. Louis was her co-writer, she’s going to have to write them all herself or find another co-writer, but she’s the font, she’s the creative engine of that show and that doesn’t change. He won’t be involved any further in any FX shows, including Better Things, but I have every confidence in her… I’m optimistic that the third season is going to be great.”
FX was just one of many companies to sever ties with Louis C.K. Netflix nixed a stand-up special, while HBO yanked his content from its On Demand library and removed him from an autism benefit special. On the film side, The Orchard announced it would not distribute his film I Love You, Daddy, and Universal Pictures “terminated” their relationship with him on The Secret Life of Pets 2.