In each instance, it has been less than a year since the allegations against these men surfaced, and in each instance, the men have done little in the way of public contrition. When they have apologized, they have done so with carefully worded, legally vetted statements. They have deflected responsibility. They have demonstrated that they don’t really think they’ve done anything wrong. And worse, people have asked for the #MeToo movement to provide a path to redemption for these men, as if it is the primary responsibility of the victimized to help their victimizers find redemption.
“Should a man pay for his misdeeds for the rest of his life?” This is always the question raised when we talk about justice in the case of harassment and rape allegations against public figures. How long should a man who has faced no legal and few financial consequences for such actions pay the price?
I appreciate the idea of restorative justice — that it might be possible to achieve justice through discussing the assault I experienced with the perpetrators and that I might be involved in determining an appropriate punishment for their crime. Restorative justice might afford me the agency they took from me. But I also appreciate the idea of those men spending some time in a prison cell, as problematic as the carceral system is, to think long and hard about the ways in which they violated me. I would like them to face material consequences for their actions because I have been doing so for 30 years. There is a part of me that wants them to endure what I endured. There is a part of me that is not interested in restoration. That part of me is interested in vengeance.
We spend so little energy thinking about justice for victims and so much energy thinking about the men who perpetrate sexual harassment and violence. We worry about what will become of them in the wake of their mistakes. We don’t worry as much about those who have suffered at their hands. It is easier, for far too many people, to empathize with predators than it is to empathize with prey.
.. he has remained in control of the narrative. He gets to break the rules, and then he gets to establish rules of his own when he must answer for his misdeeds.
.. He should pay until he demonstrates some measure of understanding of what he has done wrong and the extent of the harm he has caused. He should attempt to financially compensate his victims for all the work they did not get to do because of his efforts to silence them.
- .. He should facilitate their getting the professional opportunities they should have been able to take advantage of all these years.
- He should finance their mental health care as long as they may need it.
- He should donate to nonprofit organizations that work with sexual harassment and assault victims.
- He should publicly admit what he did and why it was wrong without excuses and legalese and deflection.
.. Whatever private acts of contrition these men, and a few women, might make to their victims demands a corresponding public act of contrition, one offered genuinely, rather than to save face or appease the crowd. Until then, they don’t deserve restorative justice or redemption. That is the price they must pay for the wrong they have done.
Take Glen’s relationship with Grace. He’s the showrunner, doing the hiring and firing of actors; yet his sexual relationship with Grace is depicted as her idea, undertaken, she says, not for the good of her career but because of her desire for him. That relationship comes off not as him taking advantage of her but as a power move on her part. Grace is depicted from the start as a sex symbol: while Glen is on the phone with her agent
.. What Louis C.K. never does, in “I Love You, Daddy,” is consider in any practical or emotional detail the reasons why the relationship between a seventeen-year-old woman who hasn’t filled out a single college application and a sixty-eight-year-old man of wealth and accomplishment might be inadvisable—why the difference between them is more than a number.
.. the movie takes pains to put China and Leslie on equal footing.
.. China’s trip with Leslie and his retinue is her education, an education greater than college, and it’s also his artistic inspiration.
.. The result is, in effect, an act of cinematic gaslighting, an attempt to spin the tenets of modern liberal feminism into shiny objects of hypnotic paralysis.
.. The movie declares that depredation is liberation, morality is tyranny, judgment is narrow-mindedness, shamelessness is creativity, lechery is admiration, and public complaint is private vanity.
.. In scene after scene, “I Love You, Daddy” depicts or evokes women making decisions—in private life or in the professional realm—that men feel constrained to accept. In short, it says that whatever authority men have isn’t really worth much, but it’s all they have and they’re entitled to it.
.. There is no ambiguity, no ambivalence, no second level of meaning, no irony, no glimmer of self-doubt—nothing but the channelling of a revolting sense of entitlement, of rights exercised without responsibilities.
.. no responsible distributor should ever have decided to buy the rights to the movie from him
The film, which centers on the sexual machinations of powerful men, reeks of impunity. Like so many of Louis’s standup jokes that purport to skewer the grossness of men, it could only have been made by a person confident that he would never have to answer for the repulsive things he’s long been rumored to have done, let alone be caught
.. Before China can take his advice, she is noticed by Leslie Goodwin (John Malkovich), a famous director in his late sixties whose taste for very young women is as legendary as his movies.
.. The only generous way to read “I Love You, Daddy” is as a portrait of male cowardice. What kind of man would be so shamefully pathetic as to avoid confronting the famous geezer who may or may not be screwing his underage daughter because that geezer has offered to read his latest script?
.. Louis .. likes to play losers who are at the mercy of others. Often, those others are women. It’s hard not to wonder, in the wake of Thursday’s revelations, to what extent Louis has used this persona to shield his reputation.
.. “Doesn’t society have to protect her?” .. . “Society?” she responds. “You mean you?”
.. Leslie is a stand-in of sorts for Woody Allen, and the movie, which was shot (shoddily, it must be said) on black-and-white 35-mm. film, is a pastiche of Allen’s “Manhattan” style
.. Must we believe the terrible things we hear about artists we admire? Louis is asking. And, if we do believe them, must we do something about it?
.. young women are more likely than not to be careless and foolish, and to bring trouble and disgrace on themselves—China has to be an empty vessel, an absolute airhead with no sense of self and no mind of her own. Her attraction to Leslie wouldn’t be remotely plausible otherwise; she would see him for what he is—ridiculous—and laugh him out of the room. In the end, it is China who makes herself absurd. She is the one who throws herself at Leslie, not the other way around, and so it is she who ends up rejected and humiliated. Leslie glides away in his Moroccan slippers with his integrity intact.
.. the film’s final point where women are concerned: stop flirting and mooching and get to work, because, if you don’t have to depend on men for money, they can’t control you, or harm you, or fuck you over.
.. The women in Louis’s film come in three flavors: the
- Shrew (Helen Hunt, her mouth pursed into a furious line, as Glen’s bitter ex-wife); the
- Seductress (Grace, with China in training); and, saddest of all, the
- Supporter (Edie Falco, as Glen’s long-suffering producer, and Pamela Adlon, as Glen’s tough-talking ex, a supporter in denial).
.. He wants them to work for a living, just like he has. Like so many Fathers of Daughters, I guess, he’s counting on them not running into dudes like him on the job.
.. the antidote to “I Love You, Daddy” is Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird,” a movie about teen-age girls that is actually interested in them as people.