Abby Schachner, a comedian, artist and writer, is one of several women to publicly accuse Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct, telling the New York Times that he masturbated while he was on the phone with her in 2003, when she called to invite him to one of her shows.
Four other women have also accused Louis C.K. of crossing a line into sexual misconduct, telling their stories to the Times in the first on-the-record accusations of sexual impropriety against Louis C.K., who has long been rumored to have acted inappropriately sexually around women.
Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, known as Dana & Julia, told the newspaper that the 50-year-old comedian asked them if he could take out his penis when they were in a hotel room together in 2002, and then, “proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating.” Comedian Rebecca Corry told the newspaper that he asked her if he could masturbate in front of her in 2005. A fifth woman, who spoke with anonymity, told the newspaper that Louis C.K. asked to masturbate in front of her multiple times in the 1990s.
On Thursday, as word of the upcoming Times report spread, Louis C.K. cancelled his Thursday night premiere of his upcoming movie “I Love You, Daddy,” and also cancelled an appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”
Louis C.K. issued a statement Friday apologizing for his conduct.
“These stories are true,” the comedian said. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
Here’s what you need to know about Schachner and her accusations:
1. Schachner Says Louis C.K. Told Her She Was Cute & Then Began Telling Her His Sexual Fantasies While Masturbating
Abby Schachner told the New York Times that she called Lewis C.K. in 2003 to invite him to one of her shows. She had met him through the comedy scene, as her then-boyfriend was a comedy writer who had worked alongside Louis C.K. on the show “Cedric the Entertainer Presents.”
Schachner told the Times that Louis C.K. said he was at work and the conversation moved from personal to “unprofessional and inappropriate.” He told her had seen photos of her on her boyfriend’s desk, and thought she was cute, she said.
Schachner told the newspaper that she then heard blinds coming down and Louis C.K. started to tell her his sexual fantasies, while breathing heavily and talking softly. She said she realized he was masturbating and was “dumbfounded.” The call continued for several minutes as she didn’t know how to end it.
“I definitely wasn’t encouraging it,” she told the Times. “You want to believe it’s not happening. … I felt very ashamed.”
A friend, Stuart Harris, told the Times that Schachner had described the call to him in 2003.
2. She Says Louis C.K. Sent an Apology in 2009 & Told Her He Was Being a ‘Repulsive Person’ During Their Call
Schachner told the New York Times that she received a Facebook message from Louis C.K. in 2009, about six years after the phone call in which she says he masturbated while talking to her. He apologized to her in the message, which was seen by the Times.
“Last time I talked to you ended in a sordid fashion. That was a bad time in my life and I’m sorry,” he wrote. He told her that he had seen some of Schachner’s comedy and thought she was funny. “I remember thinking what a repulsive person I was being by responding the way that I did.”
Schachner told the Times she accepted his apology and forgave him, but the “original interaction left her deeply dispirited … and discouraged her from pursuing comedy.”
In October, she joined the #MeToo movement, the social media trend that led men and women to post #MeToo to let others know they were survivors of sexual assault, harassment and other misconduct.
Dana Min Goodman told the New York Times she and Wolov are speaking out now because of other women who have come forward with stories about sexual abuse, assault and harassment by other powerful Hollywood figures.
“Because of this moment, as gross as it is, we feel compelled to speak,” Goodman told the newspaper.
Julia Wolov and Goodman said profanity and raunchiness is common in comedy circles, but they said Louis C.K. was abusive. They themselves are known for dirty and raunchy humor, but said that actions like those they say Louis C.K. committed go too far.
“I think the line gets crossed when you take all your clothes off and start masturbating,” Wolov told the Times.
3. Schachner Is an Ohio Native & Graduated From Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 1993
Abigail Schachner, 46, is from the Toledo, Ohio, area and graduated from Ottawa Hills High School in 1987. She then attended Wheaton College in Massachusetts, graduating in 1993, according to the school’s website. It was there that she began to act on her love for performing, she told The Wheaton Quarterly.
“At Wheaton, I had discovered that I loved writing, I was good at it, I needed to do it, I was excited about doing it, and I developed an independent project that allowed me to create a show,” she said. “I created a show that packed the auditorium and had five or six really brave and talented women in it. I advertised on paper plates around the campus, and I remember wearing a blazer to make myself feel official. I probably ought to wear more blazers.”
The show, “The Body Piece,” was about her battle with an eating disorder she developed when she was 14.
She was an art history major, but also credited a creative writing class with helping her develop as an artist.
“Having a place to share my rage and my innocence and confusion and all that other jazz was one more brick on the path,” she said.
4. She Has Performed Many Solo Stage Shows, Often Based on Her Real Life, Including ‘Schachner vs. Schachner’
Schachner has performed more than 12 solo stage shows since her time in college, many focused on her real life, including the highly regarded “Schachner vs. Schachner,” about her parent’s real life divorce. The show is described as “the feel-bad comedy about family, identity, and attempted murder.” Her father, Sheldon, was charged in 1978 with trying to hire a hit man to kill his former wife, Abby’s mother, Maudette, but the charges were dropped.
“There are a lot of storytelling shows around, and I always found myself grappling with my little family secret,” she told The Wheaton Quarterly. “I was told never to talk about my life, yet I wanted to slip it in almost everything without explanation, and some things warrant an explanation … if only for yourself.”
She has also written kids shows, including an all-rhyming performance called, “U and Me and My Best Friend P.”
“That’s my number-one passion, by the way, writing for kids. I’m finally going to start sharing that passion, because it’s bursting to come out,” she told the Wheaton College magazine in 2016.
Her other one-woman performances include “Plate,” also about eating disorders, “Lilly,” about sexual identity, “Toteroonie” about rejection, “Shadow Kissers,” about fear of intimacy, and “Boxing Chicken,” about fear in general.
“Boxing Chicken is about not wanting clipped wings. I want to fly. And maybe when people are watching they’ll be able to stretch their wings too,” she told Chicago Reader.
5. She Is an Illustrator & Has Done Improv With The Second City, Improv Olympics & Adam McKay’s ‘Welding Accident’
Abby Schachner also works as an illustrator as “Your Friend Abby.” She has posted her work on her Instagram page.
Schachner has also performed as an improviser, including with the Chicago-based The Second City Touring Company. She was a founding member of Improv Olympic’s all-star team JANE, and a part of Adam McKay’s “Welding Accident.”
According to Broadway World, “She is a Midwest Emmy Nominated Children’s Television Host and despite any baseball knowledge, was the White Sox Spokesperson. Her writing has been featured on Showtime, MTV, and Comedy Central.”
She is also a yoga teacher.