Sarah Silverman said Louis C.K. masturbated in front of her with her consent

"When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘F*** yeah, I want to see that!’"

FILE — Sarah Silverman, the comedian, in Los Angeles, Sept. 26, 2017. In an episode of her Hulu series, “I Love You, America,” released on Nov. 16, Silverman spoke about Louis C.K., a longtime friend and colleague, and wondered aloud: “Can you love someone who did bad things?” (Brinson+Banks/The New York Times)
Sarah Silverman. –Brinson+Banks/The New York Times

Comedian Sarah Silverman said in an interview that aired on satellite radio Monday that fellow comedian Louis C.K. has masturbated in front of her, making clear that the experiences were consensual.

Silverman, who was born and raised in New Hampshire, stopped by the Howard Stern Show for a lengthy chat, including a frank discussion about C.K., a Newton native who disappeared from the spotlight following a November 2017 New York Times article in which five women accused him of sexual misconduct. Shortly after its publication, C.K. released a statement, saying, “These stories are true.”

C.K. has recently started appearing onstage again, including performing an unscheduled set at Giggles Comedy Club in Saugus on Saturday, where he briefly addressed his misconduct.

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In the interview with Stern, Silverman called C.K. her “brother,” and said she has known him since she was 19 years old, when the pair was just getting started in the comedy world.

“I don’t know if I’m going to regret saying this, but I’ve known Louis forever,” Silverman said. “I’m not making excuses for him, please don’t take this that way. But we are peers, we are equals. So when we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘F*** yeah, I want to see that!’”

Silverman said she considers her situation very different from the ones described by the other comics in the Times article, as she and C.K. had a completely different power dynamic in their relationship.

“It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them,” Silverman said. “Because he could offer me nothing. We were only just friends. So sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I’d be like, ‘F****** gross, no,’ and we’d get pizza.’”

Silverman said she certainly isn’t asking people to embrace C.K. again, but that she ultimately thinks his transgressions paled in comparison to those of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, or others who chose to deny allegations made against them, specifically citing President Donald Trump and recent Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh as examples.

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She also said she believes that C.K. could make a comeback, and that she wants to see him address the situation onstage.

“Once he became powerful, even within just his [comedy] community, he felt the same, like he was the same person, but the dynamic was different and it was not OK,” Silverman said. “But you know, I believe he has remorse. I believe he can come back. I just want him to talk about it onstage.”

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