Nearly two months after FX severed ties with Louis C.K., network chief John Landgraf finally opened up about the decision to fire the popular entertainer after he was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
“We view this as a no-tolerance workplace,” Landgraf told reporters at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California on Friday. “It’s our responsibility to provide a safe working environment… We’re trying to get better and better.”
Still, he maintained that FX was not aware of any inappropriate behavior on Louis C.K.'s behalf while he was employed by the network.
“We did not find any instances or issues of misconduct at any time during the eight years we worked together,” the executive said.
Prior to the New York Times story in November which exposed Louis C.K.'s alleged wrongdoing, Landgraf said he had only known of one gossip-style report claiming the entertainer's sexual proclivity — one he didn't take seriously.
“We didn’t know about [the allegations], and the only thing I’m aware of was a blind item in Gawker and to me that’s not a verified news source,” he said, adding that the Gawker story also did not mention Louis. C.K. by name.
Landgraf explained that Louis C.K. — who starred for five seasons in popular comedy Louie — told him he was going to write a statement that verified the New York Times report. His published statement one day after the Times story, which included accounts from five women who claim the comedian exposed himself without consent or masturbated in front of them, included a confession: "These stories are true."
“Knowing that, we made a decision that we were going to cut ties,” Landgraf said, “and we decided to do that after he acknowledged the reports.”
After FX terminated its relationship with Louis C.K., it also stripped him of executive producer rights and cut him off from compensation for the shows he produced with the network: Better Things, Baskets, One Mississippi and The Cops. It also removed Louis from its on-demand streaming app. When asked if the show will ever return to the network's back catalog, Landgraf, replied, "The simple answer is, I don't know."
"I think the next things that need to happen are bigger and more important than the question of that. I think this is a cultural movement, a lot has happened, there’s more things to happen, it’s a larger conversation," he said. "Personally, I still think that’s a great show. It’s a show you might look at through a different prism now than you looked at before, but if you thought it was art, it’s still art — maybe art of a different kind.”
When Louis C.K.'s sexual misconduct allegations were made public (and confirmed), FX was one of many entertainment giants to cut tied with the comedian. Netflix canceled his stand-up special, while HBO pulled his content from its streaming library and cut him from a benefit special.
Additionally, Universal Pictures excluded him from The Secret Life of Pets 2 and The Orchard announced it would not distribute his upcoming film I Love You, Daddy.