“Can you love someone who does bad things?”
Teary-eyed with her voice quivering, comedian Sarah Silverman asked this question when opening her show, “I Love You, America.” Her question fell on the heels of the shocking news about her dear friend and fellow comedian, Louis C.K.
He was the latest celebrity to be accused of sexually abusing women.
This news of a loved one—a friend—doing bad things visibly shook her to her core. He had crossed so many lines. Yet, she found the compassion to ask that simple question: can we still love them?
For her, the answer is unknown—for now.
Like others recently accused of similar offensive and uninvited sexual behavior, Louis C.K. did admit his sins and try to calm the tides of reckoning. He offered a public apology.
“The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position. I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it. There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.”
However, is an apology enough? Waylon Lewis, Elephant Journal founder and Editor-in-Chief retorted in a Facebook Live video, “Oh, he wrote a great apology, so it’s fine.”
I wondered the same thing. Is it all fine now? Can we still laugh at his jokes? Can we condone behaviors that manipulated and shutdown careers?
Can we love someone with open arms after they’ve been caught being so bad?
Lewis continued, “Flirting is so fun. Sex is so fun. We can’t let one of these bastards ruin one of the most magical, wonderful, natural things in the world which is love and attraction, and that’s what they are doing. They are ruining it.”
Exactly, and something needs to be done about it.
So, now what?
“Truth is truth until the end of reckoning.” ~ William Shakespeare
Forgive, but don’t forget.
Carrying the weight of abuse, pain, and sorrow burdens us more than we acknowledge. Forgiveness is personal at first, granting ourselves grace and peace. Once we recognize our separation from the source, we may move to heal, set boundaries, and decide how to proceed. Can we laugh with or love them again? Only you will know that answer.
Sit back and pause.
Quietly look and listen to the other male voices out there. For every man who does bad things, how many do not? How many stand and support the women in their workplace, homes, and on the street? How many are still making love and life fun? The good guys are not alone either.
Ladies, acknowledge the good.
Applaud those women and men for coming forward and speaking the truth. They are brave and need our support. Also, speak up and tell the stories when the men in your world were gracious, kind, and selfless. Talk about the good guys. Share and lighten the load for those who are unjustly and inadvertently burdened with this negativity.
Good gentlemen, please speak up—loud and clear.
Words like Lewis’s help us heal. They give us all hope. We want that wonderful magic alive and well, too.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~ Mark Twain
Have a different opinion than mine? We’d love to hear from you.
Author: Kate Fleming
Image: David Shankbone/Flickr
Apprentice Editor: Gin Carter / Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis