Comedian Jon Stewart appeared on the "Today" show to promote his upcoming “Night of Too Many Stars” charity event, but the interview quickly turned to the topic of sexual abuse in Hollywood when Matt Lauer asked him about his friend, fellow comedian Louis C.K.
Stewart shared his thoughts, and in his response he noted sexual harassment is rampant in Hollywood -- hinting it may even be a problem at NBC, with his comment coming on the same day NBC News' fired Matt Zimmerman for inappropriate conduct with women.
“I don’t want to make this like, ‘Louis was the only one in the business...’ it’s not, It’s endemic,” Stewart said in response to a question from Lauer. “I imagine you walk through 30 Rock and... I think it’s a question of, we’re used to being in charge, and I think if you talk to women, they’re in a very difficult position. You get mad at yourself too for laughing it off or thinking ‘that didn’t happen.’”
The comedy world has been reeling this week after The New York Times published a report in which five women accused C.K. of masturbating in front of them, asking if he could or doing so over the phone. C.K. released astatement saying that the allegations against him are true, prompting friends like Marc Maron to explain their relationship to the comic.
C.K. was supposed to be a part of Stewart’s annual “Night of Too Many Stars,” but has since been removed from the ticket. When asked by Lauer about his reaction to the allegations, Stewart said he was "stunned" to find out what his friend had done.
The former “Daily Show” host also seized the opportunity to talk about a clip of him that’s resurfaced in the wake of the Louis C.K. scandal. In 2016, he appeared at the University of Chicago where a student asked him about the C.K. allegations and he dismissed the rumors.
He told Lauer on Tuesday that he regrets brushing the question off.
"Digging around in it and finding that some people had done what some people had done, it was hard, but we were all assured ‘no.’ And we all took somebody’s word for it and maybe that’s … that’s an error on our part.”