In order to be completely honest with you (and myself), I have to admit I hope Louis C.K. is able to engineer a successful comeback… eventually. And, in the interest of staying honest, I would also have to admit that my wish is extremely selfish, narrow-minded, and incredibly shameful.
Yet, here I am… still waiting.
I will not begin to defend Louis’ actions, or offer questionable excuses, or try to downplay anything that he did. The comedian’s history of highly inappropriate behavior towards women is, without any doubt, absolutely indefensible — and his repeated attempts to dismiss the allegations only serves to prove how guilty he knew he was.
Yet, here I am.
I was reminded of Louis C.K. this morning after reading several tweets relating to the shooting death of a 20-year-old rapper named XXXTentacion (née Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy). While I have only heard his music in passing, I was well aware of Onfroy’s legal issues revolving around charges of aggravated battery (against a pregnant girlfriend) and the hate crime beating of a juvenile detention cellmate who “did some gay shit.”
Many voices on Twitter, however, attempted to paint the picture of a troubled young man. Onfroy suffered through a painful childhood; depending on a single mother who often failed to be there for him. The lack of stability in his life led to Onfroy being charged with armed robbery, resisting arrest, and possession of both a firearm and a controlled substance by the age of 17.
According to court documents, Onfroy violently abused his then-girlfriend by punching her, kicking her, strangling her, and stomping on her head. He also attempted to control her by threatening to commit suicide; often coming close to doing so right in front of her. After she became pregnant, Onfroy continued to beat her and, eventually, kidnapped her for a brief period of time. Pathetically (and predictably), the young rapper became famous after being sent to prison.
Today, I read the tweets of fans lamenting the death of a young man who never had the chance to grow up and change… and also the death of a young man who was charged with witness tampering, and accused of pressuring his victim to drop all charges against him. Regardless of his life, Onfroy’s death IS a shame – but let’s not pretend like his death is a great tragedy that should be mourned. Yes, we will never know what he may have become… but we definitely know who he was at the time of his death. And the only reason why a lot of people tend to ignore that is because he was famous and considered talented.
Which brings me back to Louis.
Why do we forgive so quickly when it comes to entertainers we enjoy? Why did it take so long for female fans to question their love of guys like Chris Brown (who assaulted Rihanna) and R. Kelly (who filmed himself raping a 14-year-old girl)? Our culture’s willingness to overlook disgusting behavior by those we support is the exact reason why I hate watching the news today… but, sadly, I am just as guilty.
If Louis C.K. didn’t make me laugh, would I care about the apparent end of his career? Would I say “Yeah, he was wrong” while arguing that he shouldn’t be compared to guys like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby? Am I willing to forgive an ugly past (that victimized and marginalized others) simply because I think Louis is funny? Do I think my enjoyment of his work outweighs the real life damage he inflicted upon innocent women who made the stupid mistake of trusting a colleague?
Of course not. No.