In the wake of the deluge of sexual harassment and assault allegations, a lot of men in the entertainment industry have been ousted from their positions of power amidst the sweeping #MeToo movement. We can imagine that there’s complex calculation going on behind the scenes at media companies as they consider their response before severing ties with a harasser, but we don’t often get a lot of insight into it, seeing only a public statement distancing the company from the offender and attempting to avoid as much blame as possible from themselves.
FX CEO John Landgraf, however, was startlingly candid in discussing this process at a Television Critics Association event as reported by Entertainment Weekly. Landgraf talked about the rumors about comedian Louis C.K.‘s habit of masturbating in front of or on the phone with women that were reported by Gawker as early as 2015, and sheds some light on exactly where FX drew the line and decided to sever all ties with him:
“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,” Landgraf said, indicating that consideration of what to do about C.K. could have started as early as two years before the latest round of reports explicitly naming C.K. According to Landgraf, the decision was finally made when C.K. himself told FX he was going to issue a public statement admitting the stories were true. “Knowing that, we made a decision that we were going to cut ties and we decided to do that after he acknowledged the reports.”
Landgraf also talked about how and when C.K.’s show, Louie, might return to the company’s on-demand streaming service. While it doesn’t sound like that’s going to happen anytime in the near future, the fact that “next steps” are being discussed shows that FX is already thinking about it.
“The simple answer is, I don’t know,” Landgraf said when asked about the show’s return. “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,” Landgraf added. “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.”