Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on statements made by Sarah Silverman on Howard Stern’s radio show yesterday:

Sarah Silverman’s interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM radio show was revealing, but not in ways she thinks. She spoke honestly about her friend, Louis C.K., and why she is not bothered by his perverted behavior. Silverman admitted that Louis C.K. masturbated in front of her—he has a nasty habit of doing this to women over and over again—but she was not put off by it. In fact, she liked it.

Silverman complimented Louis C.K. for being polite: he asked her for permission to masturbate in front of her. She said, “F*** yea, I want to see that.” And so her gentleman friend dutifully obliged.

But Silverman is not prepared to give the green light to just anyone who wants to masturbate in front of her. She has standards. When her boss in a Mexican restaurant called her into his office and started masturbating in front of her, she didn’t like it. That’s because he was not the gentleman that Louis C.K. was—he didn’t ask her for permission. Silverman did not say whether she would have granted it, had he asked.

Consent is all that matters. There is no objective moral wrong in men masturbating in public; morality turns on consent, and nothing more. So if a masochist were to ask a sadist to burn his genitals at noon on Main Street, Silverman would not object. As long as there is a permission slip, everything goes.

One person who is not too happy with Silverman is Rebecca Corry, a comedian who had a sick encounter with Louis C.K. in 2005; she was a   performer and a producer at the time. Louis C.K., being the gentleman he is, asked her if he could masturbate in front of her. She said no, reminding him that he had a daughter and a pregnant wife. After Corry blasted Silverman for her remarks on Stern’s show, Silverman apologized.

In response to Silverman’s “understanding” of Louis C.K., Corry said of him, “He’s a predator who victimized women for decades and lied about it.” But Silverman doesn’t get it, which is why I said her remarks are revealing in ways she doesn’t understand: She has no clue why women like Corry are upset.

Silverman is an enabler. Without people like her giving a pass to sickos like Louis C.K., guys like him would be less likely to act out their perversions. Indeed, her empathy for her friend (both of whom have a history of making obscene anti-Catholic “jokes”) is devastating to women.

Silverman has aided and abetted men who sexually harass women. How? By feeding an environment where behavior is emptied of moral content, viewing consent, and consent alone, as the basis for moral judgments. Corry gets it, but Silverman never will.

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