“You give your friends the benefit of the doubt. I tried to think about it in terms of, you know, I’ve had friends who have had compulsions and have done things ― gambling or drinking or drugs,” Stewart said during an appearance on the “Today” show. “And we’ve lost some of them. Some of them have died.”
Stewart, who has been friends with Louis C.K. for over 30 years, said he hasn’t spoken to the comedian since the fallout.
“You always find yourself back to a moment of, ‘Did I miss something? Could I have done more?’” he said. “In this situation, I think we all could’ve. So you feel anger at what you did to people.”
Stewart noted that the comedy environment has never been kind to women, despite some changes over the years.
“The idea that there was this added layer of pressure and manipulation and fear and humiliation,” Stewart said before trailing off. “It’s endemic…”
“We’re used to being in charge,” he said. “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.’ And it’s hard.”
Stewart also addressed a video from 2016 that shows him laughing off allegations against Louis C.K. during a taping of the David Axelrod’s podcast, “The Axe Files.”
“My first response was, ‘What?’ And then, joke, joke, and as he kept going, I was like, ‘Look, I know this is very serious, but I know Louis, he’s always been a gentleman to me,’” Stewart said. “Which, again, it speaks to the blindness that I think a man has.”
“These stories are true,” he said. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them.”