US comedian Louis C.K. has admitted that sexual misconduct allegations made against him by five women are true.
He said he had “wielded power irresponsibly” and could hardly wrap his head around the “scope of hurt” he had caused them.
Four of the accusers told the New York Times he masturbated during interactions with them and a fifth said he had asked to do so.
The allegations led to the release of his new movie being scrapped.
I Love You Daddy – a comedy about an ageing film director, played by John Malkovich, who has a reputation for getting embroiled with young women – was due to have been released in the US on 17 November.
“These stories are true,” Louis C.K. said in his statement.
“The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
The comedian added that he regretted the hurt he had inflicted on people he worked with, including his manager Dave Becky, his family, his friends, his children and their mother.
In Thursday’s New York Times report, four comediennes – Dana Min Goodman, Julia Wolov, Rebecca Corry and Abby Schachner – and a fifth woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, made allegations about the entertainer.
Goodman and Wolov said Louis C.K. stripped naked and masturbated after inviting them to his hotel room during the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, in 2002.
Schachner said she called Louis C.K. in 2003 to invite him to one of her shows and was dumbfounded to realise during their phone conversation that he was masturbating. “I felt very ashamed,” she told the New York Times.
A fifth woman, who did not want to be named, told the newspaper of alleged incidents involving the comic in the late 1990s, while she was working in production on The Chris Rock Show.
Louis C.K., who was a writer and producer on the show, repeatedly asked her to watch him perform a sex act, she said. “He abused his power,” she said.