Stewart also recalled being asked previous year about rumors of C.K. masturbating in front of women in public at a taping for David Axelrod's podcast, a moment that has resurfaced in the wake of the news of C.K.'s alleged behavior.
Stewart went on to say that "comedy on its best day is not a great environment for women" and even though it's gotten better in recent years, it is still a tough field for women. "You give your friends the benefit of the doubt", he explained. "Some of them have died", he said Tuesday on the Today show. And you always find yourself back to a moment of: did I miss something?
Told that the allegations had previously been reported by Gawker and that the comedian Jen Kirkman had discussed allegations against an unnamed comedian widely understood to be C.K. on her podcast, Stewart said, "I apologize". Stewart feels, based on a long friendship, "anger at what [Louis C.K.] did to people".
It's good that in this clip, we see Stewart shouldering some of the blame himself. "I hadn't heard, at that point, of any of it".
Speaking on NBC's Today show, Stewart said he was "stunned" at the news and wondered what he could have done to stop his friend's alleged inappropriate behavior.
Watch Stewart's response in the video below. "You know who you're talking to, right?" laughed Stewart. Honestly, I'm not that connected to that world. "I know Louie. He's always been a gentleman" - to me, which, again, speaks to the blindness a man has". I think it's gotten better over the years, but certainly, when we started 30 years ago, it was really hard.
"Digging around in it, finding out what some people had done, it was hard", Stewart said.
Stewart said he hasn't spoke with Louis C.K. since the New York Times bombshell report broke last Thursday.
"It's another one of those endemic, systemic and complex problems that we all haven't had the urgency for, certainly myself included", he added.
"My first response was: what?" "But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your d- isn't a question".
Stewart co-hosts the annual charity benefit "Night of Too Many Stars" on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
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