Padma Lakshmi’s position on Louis C.K. is about as unambiguous as it gets.
The “Top Chef” star hosted a comedy show in New York benefiting the Movement Voter Project last week.
Opening the show, Lakshmi decided to make a quick statement about C.K., who has recently been making a comeback at New York comedy clubs following allegations which surfaced last year of sexual misconduct.
“I’ll make this brief,” Lakshmi said. “F**k Louis C.K.”
Speaking to Vulture after the show, Lakshmi explained her statement. “To be honest, I just couldn’t think of any other jokes. It was that lame,” she said. “I thought, ‘I’ll just say the same jokes that are short, and just warm [the audience] up for 30 seconds and then say thank you and get off. But maybe I’ll just use that little bit to say thank you, and just pivot and say, if it wasn’t for my ire about what happened, I would’ve never had this show tonight.’”
Lakshmi continued: “He tried to stifle and bury the careers of various female comedians who called him out on his shit. It’s just like, it’s so hard as a woman, as an actor, as a director, as a comedian, as a writer, to even get noticed. And then to have the courage and bravery to speak the truth, and be slapped down and punished for it in such a cruel way, really spoke to me.”
Asked whether C.K. should be allowed to come back to the comedy scene, Lakshmi said, “I can recognize that Louis C.K., or Matt Lauer, or Charlie Rose are very talented men who are also predatory and abuse their power, and to my mind, haven’t really demonstrated any remorse or deeper understanding about what they did, or empathy for the people they did it to, and therein lies the problem.”
“Show me what those types of men have done besides to try to pull off their own comeback?” she added. “But from where I stand, I know a lot of women who need jobs. I know a lot of queer people who are funny as hell. I know a lot of people of colour who would make fantastic romantic leads.”