The comedy bar owner who unknowingly hosted a Louis CK comeback performance has opened up about the backlash and whether he believes the disgraced comedian deserves a second chance.
Last year, CK (whose real name is Louis Szekely) admitted to masturbating in front of women after five people came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. In a lengthy statement, he said he would "step back and take a long time to listen".
But the comedian once again hit the headlines after it was revealed he had performed a 15-minute set at New York's Comedy Cellar. Many people have argued the show contradicts the multimillionaire's promise to step away from the limelight.
The incident also gained traction because it's not the first time a male comedian accused of inappropriate behaviour has performed at the venue. Aziz Ansari has done several stand-up shows at the bar after being named in a controversial #MeToo story first published by Babe.net.
The Comedy Cellar's owner, Noam Dworman, claims he wasn't aware CK would be performing at his bar. In fact, he says he only found out about the short set afterwards.
"He just walked in," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I was home sleeping. That's it. No advance warning."
Mr Dworman also said Sunday's show wasn't the first instance of CK attempting to make a comeback. He claimed the comedian has also performed at a comedy club in Log Island, and denied any suggestion the Comedy Cellar paid CK for his 15-minute set.
"There's no truth to it," he said. "I swear on everything that matters to me in life. Let me add that Louis CK, although we're a prominent part of his comedy life, he and I are not close friends.
"On principle, I believe that the man is entitled to his livelihood and that it's up to the audience to go or not go. I believe that in principle. But in terms of the Comedy Cellar, this is nothing but a difficulty for us – there's no benefit here for us."
The owner went on to say CK was received "warmly" by the audience despite telling "plain, everyday" jokes instead of addressing last year's controversy.
"There was one man who was there who complained in an email the next day and he and I spoke about it at length," he said. "But we had four or five positive emails from customers and if you hear the audio, you hear a real ovation for him.
"Having said that, what he didn't do is ... go on and address the issue. He just went on and did a regular set. And I think that was a missed opportunity for him.
"I don't know what the standard is and that makes me uncomfortable."