Louis C.K.'s friends in comedy are speaking out after several women accused the 50-year-old comedian of sexual misconduct in an article released by The New York Times last week.
On Tuesday's Today show, Jon Stewart addressed the allegations made by five women who say C.K. either asked if could masturbate in front of them, or masturbated in front of them without their consent. A day after the Times article was released, C.K. released a statement saying that the women's stories about him were true.
"You know, you give your friends a benefit of the doubt," Stewart, 54, told Today show co-anchor Matt Lauer. "I've had friends who've had compulsions and who have done things -- gambling or drinking or drugs -- and we've lost some of them. Some of them have died. You always find yourself back to a moment of, 'Did I miss something? Could I have done more?'"
Long before he became a household name, Jon Stewart broke onto the scene as an MTV host with his own show. In 1993, the funny guy cut his teeth on "The John Stewart Show," a late-night show with a variety of celebrity guests and a fun opening monologue. His style was very 90s and a little couture immature. In his early days, Stewart regularly hit the town in hoodies and T-shirts and sported dark, curly locks.
(Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
In the 90s, Stewart was also very fond of the leather jacket, T-shirt and jeans look. The dark-haired comedian had a sit down with fellow late-night host Conan O'Brien in 1993 and sans a few gray hairs, the pair look strikingly similar to how they look now. Photo by: Lesly Weiner/NBCU Photo Bank
Rumors swirled that the young comedian was romancing supermodel Cindy Crawford in the 90s. The pair were spotted all gussied up in 1994 at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
In 1995, Stewart met up with singer Jon Bon Jovi. At the time, the New York City native was still sticking to fashion basics like T-shirts. Are you sensing a trend here? (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
It's love! Stewart, who wrapped "The Jon Stewart Show" on MTV in 1995, snuggled up to girlfriend Tracy McShane in 1996 at an HBO party. The pair were reportedly set up by a production assistant and clearly couldn't keep their hands off each other during their young romance -- which definitely had staying power. They wed four years after this photo was taken. Perhaps she liked his favorite blue T-shirt as much as he did. (Photo by Manny Hernandez/Liaison)
Stewart was a rising star in the late 90s -- and as his fame continued to grow, so did his fashion choices. Enter the era of Jon Stewart in more formal attire. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
In 1999, Stewart attended the GQ Magazine Of The Year Awards on October 21, 1999, and posed alongside actor Michael J. Fox. During this year, Stewart co-produced several movies like "The Daily View" and "The Daily Show Summer Spectacular."
(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Look who is getting gussied up now! Stewart looked dapper in a tux at the 1999 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, despite the fact that it seemed to be a bit big for him. His famous locks were just showing the first signs of a little salt and pepper. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect)
By 1999, Stewart and his now peppered locks, were center stage on Comedy Central's, "The Daily Show." The TV regular replaced Craig Kilborn when he left the show. Naturally, he brought his comedic edge and political prowess to the host seat and a hit was literally born overnight. For his big show, Stewart also stepped up his fashion game and fully traded in his T-shirts for slim-fit suits and well-selected ties. (Photo by Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Although, he wasn't always suited up. In 2002, the funny guy ditched his clothes in order to host the 44th Annual Grammy Awards. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.
Recognize these two funny faces? Stewart stopped by "Saturday Night Live" in 2002 for a memorable skit with Amy Poehler, where the pair spoofed Mel Gibson. There's no real "fashion moment" here unless you count army greens.
Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Pretty much everyone fell victim to the political pundit's funny antics -- including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was all smiles during her 2003 appearance on "The Daily Show." More importantly, Stewart's attire -- dark suit, red tie, crisp white shirt, peppery locks -- became his go-to look for basically the next 10 years. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images for The Daily Show)
Back to basics! In 2008, a low-key Stewart was spotted goofing around with his son Nathan at a New York Knicks game. Stewart channeled his younger self in a classic T-shirt. His son, also seems to be inheriting his style. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Stewart clearly understands the power of a red tie during a political interview. For his final sit down with President Barack Obama, Stewart rocked his signature look -- dark suit and a red tie. Some fashion habits really do die hard -- but we aren't complaining. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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Answering his own questions, the former host of The Daily Show continued, "I think we all could have."
"You feel anger at what he did to people," Stewart explained of C.K. "Look, comedy on its best day is not a great environment for women. I think it's gotten better over the years, but certainly when we started 30 years ago, it was really difficult. So to do it was an act of bravery in and of itself [for women]. The idea that there was this added layer of pressure and manipulation, and fear and humiliation -- and not just [him]."
Stewart still thinks the comedy world has a long way to go. "We're used to being in charge," he added. "And I think if you talk to women, they're in a very difficult position. You get mad at yourself, too, for laughing it off or for thinking, 'That didn't happen.'"
Stewart noted that he has not spoken with C.K. since hearing of the allegations.
C.K.'s longtime friend, Marc Maron, also addressed the scandal on his podcast, WTF, and claimed he asked the comedian about these rumors long before the release of the Times expose.
"I would ask him about it. I would say, ‘This story about you forcing these women to watch you jerk off, what is that, is that true?’ He goes, ‘No, it’s not true. It’s not real. It’s a rumor,’" Maron claimed. "And I would say, ‘Well, are you going to address it somehow? Handle it? Get out from under it whenever it shows up?’ ‘No I can’t, I can’t do that. I can’t give it life, give it air.’ That was the conversation.”
"So I believed my friend. It’s just that the environment enabled the dismissiveness of it," he continued. "It’s hard to understand that that power dynamic is real and it exists, because things have been the way they are for a long time."
Louis C.K. through the years
Louis C.K. through the years
LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN -- Episode 21 -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Louis C.K. during an interview with host Conan O'Brien on October 11, 1993 (Photo by: Norman Ng/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Louis CK during The 10th Annual U.S. Comedy Arts Festival - Day One at St. Regis Hotel in Aspen, Colorado, United States. ***Exclusive*** (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN -- Episode 14 -- Pictured: (far right) Robert Smigel and Louis C.K. perform in the 'Conan the ----arian' sketch on September 30, 1993 (Photo by: Lesly Weiner/Network/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
(EXCLUSIVE, Premium Rates Apply) Louis CK, Joe Rogan, Artie Lange and Richard Schimmel *Exclusive* (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN -- Episode 21 -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Louis C.K. performs on October 11, 1993 -- (Photo by: Norman Ng/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 21: Actors Alan Alda, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Louis C.K. attend the premiere of 'Diminished Capacity' at the Eccles Theatre during 2008 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2008 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
Mario Joyner, Louis C.K. and Chris Rock during HBO & AEG Live's 'The Comedy Festival' - The Comedian Award - Backstage at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Stand-up comedian and director Louis C.K. poses for a photograph as he arrives for the premiere of his film "Hilarious" at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 26, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Elvis Mitchell, Lance Crouther, Chris Rock and Louis C.K. *Exclusive* ***Exclusive*** (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN -- Episode 2102 -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Louis CK during an interview with host Conan O'Brien -- (Photo by: Norman Ng/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- 'Louis C.K.' Episode 1721 -- Pictured: Host Louis C.K. during the monologue on April 8, 2017 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- 'Louis C.K.' Episode 1721 -- Pictured: (l-r) Pete Davidson as Johnny, Cecily Strong as Louise, and host Louis C.K. as Sam during the 'Soda Shop' sketch on April 8, 2017 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- 'Louis C.K.' Episode 1721 -- Pictured: (l-r) Host Louis C.K. and Kate McKinnon as Polish Immigrants during the 'Tenement Museum' sketch on April 8, 2017 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20: Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon pose with an award during The 76th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony at Cipriani, Wall Street on May 20, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Peabody)
Louis C.K. holds the Emmy awards for outstanding writing for a variety special for "Louis C.K. Live at the beacon Theatre" and outstanding writing in a comedy series for his show "Louie" at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 23, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) (EMMYS-BACKSTAGE)
Comedian Louis C.K. arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Cast member Zach Galifianakis and executive producer Louis C.K. participate in a panel for the FX Networks series "Baskets" during the Television Critics Association (TCA) Cable Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian