Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart opened up about his reaction to last week's news of five women accusing comedian Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct, with C.K. later saying of the New York Times exposé that "these stories are true."
Speaking on NBC's Today show, Stewart said he was "stunned" at the news and wondered what he could have done to stop his friend's alleged inappropriate behavior.
"You give your friends the benefit of the doubt," Stewart said. "I tried to think of it in terms of, I've had friends who have compulsions and 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?' In this situation, I think we all could've. So you feel anger at what he did to people."
Stewart, who was promoting his upcoming HBO special, went on to say that comedy has not been a "great environment for women" and that it's unfortunate women have an "added layer of pressure and manipulation and fear and humiliation."
The 54-year-old added that he is angry at himself for "laughing it off."
"You get mad at yourself, too, for laughing it off or for thinking that didn't happen," he added.
Stewart also recalled being asked last year about rumors of C.K. masturbating in front of women in public at a taping for David Axelrod's podcast, a moment that has resurfaced in the wake of the news of C.K.'s alleged behavior.
Stewart reiterated what he said at the time, which is that he "hadn't heard, at that point, of any of it."
He also said that he realizes that saying C.K. had always been a gentleman to him may not have been the best response, saying that, "again I think speaks to the blindness that a man has, which is like, hey he's a good guy, what are you talking about."
He says he and others "took somebody's word for it and maybe that's an error on our part."
Stewart says that he hadn't talked to C.K. since the Times exposé was published.
In addition to C.K.'s sexual misconduct, the Times exposé also alleged that C.K.'s former manager, Dave Becky, may have made threatening remarks toward two women speaking out about the incident, comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov.
On Monday, Becky issued a lengthy apology for his involvement in the sexual misconduct scandal.
"What I did was wrong, and again, I am extremely sorry," Becky wrote Monday, insisting that he had "misinterpreted" Goodman and Wolov’s accusations as "a matter of infidelity."
"I now comprehend that my response was perceived as a threat to cover-up sexual misconduct. This is not an excuse. What I did was wrong, and again, I am extremely sorry," he wrote.0comments
He also claims that until last week, he had not been aware of any other allegations of sexual misconduct against his former client. On Friday, Becky claimed that he severed ties with C.K. in the wake of the scandal.
C.K. apologized for his actions last week, saying "these stories are true." He went on to release a lengthy statement in which he confessed to using his influence over the victims "irresponsibly." Read C.K.'s statement in full here.