How to make a comeback after sexual misconduct allegations for dummies
A reference for the rest of us!
So, you’ve decided to slink out from the hole you’ve been hiding in to get back to normal after a pesky sexual misconduct allegation. Welcome back! Somehow, your publicist or agent or whatever thought it was a good idea for you to just creep back onstage — much as you creeped on unsuspecting women — and get back to normal. Unfortunately, this process might be challenging for you (and it’s definitely YOUR needs and career that are our primary concern!) so here’s a handy guide for your reference.
Here at our satirical reference guide, we know how challenging it can be to come back into the limelight after an abuse allegation. I mean, where’s the rule book, right? How much time is time served? Which path in my own version of “Choose Your Own Adventure … NOW WITH DICKS!” can I take that will evoke absolutely NO criticism of any kind?
There is no path that has no criticism. The trick is to try and find the right thing to do, and be okay with the criticism you get either way. This can be challenging (that’s fancy for hard!) because we know how much you need to be lauded.
Perhaps you might want to work with someone who isn’t just interested in getting you back in the spotlight as quickly as possible to craft a way to re-enter it. Perhaps you might want to make some statement regarding what you’ve learned from your months of listening? I know what you’re thinking: “But I can’t win! If I make a statement, people will still find a way to come down on me!” Well, yes. Because the internet. But do you really want to let that stop you from genuinely learning from this experience and being a positive model for other men? Because we ABSOLUTELY need men who have learned from their behavior in this fight, and you could be one of them.
Ultimately, you will get a lot of praise for your “bravery” in coming back. There will be people who blindly support you. There will be people who like you MORE now because fucking WOMEN, right?
Don’t fall into that trap. Don’t breathe a sigh of relief that people still like you, and then start clicking hearts on all of your statements of support because everything is “getting back to normal.” Maybe it IS getting back to normal. But is normal good? Do you really want the kind of fans that would go out of their way to pay for your art BECAUSE you pulled out your dick and jerked off in front of cringing women (and is that really so bad)? Hot tip: NO. If you truly believe the statement you made after you confessed, this is not the right path forward.
The RIGHT path would be talking openly about what you’ve learned. It would be publicly calling out men who talk about how what you did wasn’t wrong. Obviously, you didn’t understand it was wrong at the time. You didn’t understand the dynamics of power and control. We here at this satirical reference guide GET that. (Really, we do!) But wouldn’t it be powerful if you started a dialogue about what led you to believe that you were not in the wrong? And about how we can change that, by teaching young boys and men not to act this way?
Yes, many will just scream and insist that you are “canceled” forever. But they will do that anyways, trust me. You might as well make lemons here, definitely non-specific reader.
Here’s an idea!
There is no statute on how to behave after the past year. For some, it’s easy. Harvey Weinstein raped people, which is against the law, which means he will hopefully go to prison. But how do we measure how someone has learned after a grave mistake — especially one that hurt people?
Ultimately, the best tip we can give you here at this TOTALLY satirical reference guide is this: BE the change. On some level, you probably feel like this is just happening to you. Which actually makes sense — because you’re you. So, how about speaking up as a positive voice to young men out there and encourage them to make the right choice? Nothing is more powerful than someone who has changed for the better and can tell you how they did it. USE that voice.
Also, it looks as if the women who have accused you have pretty much fully ducked out of media altogether because of all the vitriol and rape threats. Why not make a public statement in support of them (also, say “I’m sorry” directly more than just talking about regret felt)? Moving forward, find a way to use the power you have to uplift and promote talented female comedians instead of just pretending this never happened.
And, also, don’t get butt-hurt if they don’t want to be in a room alone with you. We all know what happened last time. You will need to prove yourself in order to keep doing your job and that SHOULD be true of all people who have propagated a toxic workplace.
PERSONAL NOTE: What comes next is up to you, completely non-specific reader (really, this couldn’t be more vague!). Speaking as both the editor of this satirical reference guide, and as a female fan, who
- loves your comedy,
- was disappointed, and
- would like to see your comedy again under the right circumstances, I really hope you consider how you move forward.
I’d like to count you as an ally and see that you’ve learned from this hurtful error in judgment. But, if you’re just going to come back, soak up the applause, and choose to ignore the fact that your audience is now mainly populated by rapey dude-bros, I just can’t see myself ever watching your comedy again. For one, because I won’t feel safe being in the same room as your audience. And, for another, your jokes about men being disgusting will seem far to real and unchangeable and with that comes the death of comedy: you just won’t be funny anymore.
Note from the author: I am actually a fan of Louis CK (or, was? we’ll see …) and I do actually believe in a path to redemption. Sometimes I write satire to see a future I’d like to be real. And I truly hope it will be.
If you feel inclined to read more from me, you can find my “hilarious” cancer survival tale here, my Nancy Drew Review Project on Blogger and my writing in fiction form in Suspense Magazine and The Sleuth. Also, follow me on Medium, Instagram, and also Twitter even though it’s garbage.
Thanks for reading!