On Friday, comedian Louis C.K. responded to allegations in The New York Times that he masturbated in front of non-consenting women multiple times over a period of years by acknowledging that the allegations were true. Here was C.K.’s statement:

C.K. says that he justified his behavior to himself by stating that he had asked them whether he could show his penis to them, but now acknowledges that he had “power over another person,” which prevented full consent. He concludes, “I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen. Thank you for reading.”

These rumors about C.K. have been circulating for years. But because C.K.’s comedy was popular and because his routines regarding men and women were friendly to leftist causes, there were those who were willing to look the other way. The Telegraph (UK) headlined, “The downfall of Louis CK, comedy’s filthy, flawed feminist hero.” Slate ran a piece in 2013 lauding C.K. for his “feminist comedy,” because C.K. had stated that men were the number one threat to women. These articles came out a year after the first reports about C.K.’s proclivities, which were reported as a blind item.