Louis C.K. courting controversy with new movie

Louis C.K. attends the “I Love You, Daddy” premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
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Louis C.K. attends the “I Love You, Daddy” premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

One reason Louis C.K. isn’t doing a lot of press to publicize his new movie, “I Love You, Daddy,” is because he doesn’t have to. C.K.’s do-it-yourself approach to promotion, whether for his comedy specials or his stand-up shows, has rendered the old business model obsolete.

But there may be another reason C.K. isn’t engaging with the media at the moment: The Newton-bred comedian continues to be dogged by sexual harassment allegations, and the theme of “I Love You, Daddy” isn’t likely to make them go away.

Indeed, the movie, which premiered the other night at the Toronto International Film Festival, is a Woody Allen-inspired tale of a successful TV producer, played by C.K., whose entitled 17-year-old daughter, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, gets involved — to what extent is unclear — with an aging director, played by John Malkovich, who has been accused of rape and pedophilia in the past.


If it sounds like maybe the media will be curious to know if the story is at least minimally autobiographical, they are. But C.K. isn’t really talking. (The Globe’s attempt to reach C.K. through his publicist Brittany Gilpin was not successful Tuesday.) He did give one interview to The New York Times, in which he declined to comment on what he called “rumors” of sexual misconduct.

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“I’m not going to answer to that stuff, because they’re rumors,” C.K. told The Times for a story published Monday. “If you actually participate in a rumor, you make it bigger and you make it real.”

So, he was asked, it’s not real?

“No,” C.K. said. “They’re rumors, that’s all that is.”

At issue are allegations that the comedian has a history of sexually harassing or assaulting female comics. Comedian Tig Notaro, who’s one of the creators of the Amazon series “One Mississippi,” recently called out C.K., saying he needs to “handle” the issue “because it’s serious to be assaulted. It’s serious to be harassed. It’s serious, it’s serious, it’s serious.”


(Perhaps not coincidentally, the new season of “One Mississippi” includes a scene in which a female character is forced to sit and watch as a man surreptitiously masturbates in front of her in the workplace.)

In the interview with The Times, C.K. wouldn’t address Notaro’s comments.

“I don’t know why she said the things she’s said, I really don’t,” he said. “I don’t think talking about that stuff in the press and having conversations over press lanes is a good idea.”

He also seems to know he’s courting controversy with “I Love You, Daddy.”

“There are these people in the world that we all talk about, and we want to know that they’re all good or they’re all bad,” C.K. said. “The uncomfortable truth is, you never really know. You don’t know anybody. To me, if there was one thing this movie is about, it’s that you don’t know anybody.”