Power equals protection.
A former journalist for the now defunct Gawker addressed this point as she recounted her attempt at investigating the Louis C.K. sexual misconduct allegations while at the 2015 Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. For a Vice tell-all, Megan Koester recalled how she was shut down after asking several prominent comedians to weigh in on the accusations brought against the Emmy winner.
In case you forgot, there have been rumors swirling around the stand-up professional for a while, which claim Louis exposes himself to female comics without consent. Gross, right??
“In 2015, I attended the Just for Laughs (JFL) festival in Montreal as a journalist writing on behalf of Gawker, a profoundly flawed organization I miss desperately. The organizers of the festival did not know the purpose of my presence was a desire to investigate the numerous rumors I’d heard about Louis C.K. behaving in a sexually inappropriate way. Had they known, I surely would not have been invited to attend. Because Louis, you see, is a ‘friend’ of the JFL organization.”
While stationed on the red carpet, the reporter asked the comedians to first weigh in on the Bill Cosby scandal. Many were quick to denounce the industry titan as it was at the height of the controversy. However, the moment she brought up Louis, the funny men claimed ignorance.
Megan only had the chance to interview a handful of comedians, including Kevin Hart, about Louis’ misdeeds before festival officials intervened. The writer continued:
“I had just finished with my third interview of the afternoon, Kevin Hart (who responded with incredulity before his handler escorted him away from me), when a woman holding a clipboard called me off the carpet. She told me ‘we’ve been receiving complaints’ about the Louis question; no one I had asked so far, however, seemed outwardly upset by the inquiry.”
Although no one seemed outwardly pissed, the festival laid into Koester for putting C.K. on the hot seat. She recalled:
“A tall man in a suit approached, relieving her of the duty of admonishing me. He was, in a word, livid. In two words: fucking livid. Red faced, he informed me that JFL is a ‘family,’ that Louis is a member of said ‘family,’ and that I could ask my question on ‘my turf,’ but that this was ‘our turf.” This wasn’t “that kind” of red carpet, he informed me├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥it was a “friendly one,” and Louis was a “friend of the festival.”
The man, who Megan later learned was Just For Laughs COO Bruce Hills, then threatened to kick her out of the event if she refused to ask “nice” questions on the red carpet. Megan tearfully apologized for her line of questions and returned to the step-and-repeat. While contemplating if she should stick around and ask innocuous questions, she spotted pal/comedian Andy Kindler.
On her decision to flee the red carpet, Koester explained:
“Instead of sticking around and, in all likelihood, getting ‘officially’ kicked out, I left. I then proceeded to literally cry on Kindler’s shoulder. It was, by design, not a pleasant experience. It was an attempt to intimidate me into silence, and it was successful. I never wrote the piece.”
Mr. Hills has since responded to Megan’s account with the following statement:
“My intent was to keep our awards ceremony as a celebratory event. In doing so, I was in no way defending nor aware of any allegations towards talent. If Ms. Koester wanted talent to comment on the record, we would hope she go through the proper journalistic protocols, be forthcoming with her intentions and request a full interview. We always ensure all talent at our festival have fair notice and opportunity to decide if they wish to address such questions with a representative of the press.”
Hmmm, very inneresting.
Despite the support she received from loved ones and peers, she felt isolated as no one was willing to publicly help her investigate the allegations. Megan concluded:
“Because that’s the thing when you try to follow stories like this. Everyone wants to be your Deep Throat, but only under the cloak of anonymity. No one wants to be publicly affiliated with you, lest their careers suffer like yours for daring to ask the goddamned question that’s on everyone’s goddamned mind.”
Remember folks, it only takes one victim to go on the record for the dam to break!