Two months after FX cut ties with Louis C.K. after he confirmed sexual misconduct allegations made against him were true, FX CEO John Landgraf addressed the scandal at the network’s winter Television Critics Association press tour on Friday.
After conducting an internal investigation, Landgraf shared that FX “didn’t find any issues, complaints or misconduct of any kind in the eight years we worked together,” referencing Louis C.K.’s nearly decade-long relationship with the network through his show, Louie, and the other comedies he co-created: Baskets and Better Things. (His producing credit on the latter two series has since been taken off and he will not receive any financial compensation.)
“We didn’t know about it,” Landgraf reaffirmed, echoing the network statement issued on Nov. 10 announcing that they were parting ways with Louis C.K. Landgraf also shared that prior to their decision, he had a conversation over the phone with Louis C.K., during which the embattled comedian revealed he was going to write a letter publicly acknowledging that the allegations were true. Though he didn't say as much, Langraf implied that the decision to cut ties with Louis C.K. was already made before the 50-year-old actor issued his letter.
With Louis C.K. no longer a part of the FX family, the question of how his absence would affect the upcoming third season of Pamela Adlon’s Better Things was brought up. The head of FX insisted that he had all the confidence in the world that Adlon could deliver something stellar, though there may a degree of transition. (Louis C.K. co-created the series with Adlon and often co-wrote episodes.)
“It’s Pamela’s show. These are her stories. This is her life. Louis was her co-writer. She’s going to have to write them all herself or find another co-writer. But she’s the font. She’s the creative engine of the show and that doesn’t change,” Landgraf said. “I have every confidence in Pamela. It’s been extraordinary watching her grow from an actor who hadn’t directed, produced or written into an extraordinary creative force. She’s an amazing creator/filmmaker/producer on her own. I’m optimistic and confident that the third season will be great.”
As for whether Louie, which was taken off FX streaming services and a key title for the network, will return to the library at some point, Landgraf confessed he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know,” Landgraf admitted. “I think that the next things that need to happen are bigger and more important than the question of that. This is a cultural movement. A lot has happened, more things can happen, it’s a larger conversation that needs to happen.”
“I don’t know what Louis’ going to do. I don’t know what's up with him. I don't know what further things he has to say,” he continued. “We’re in a wait-and-see mode. I still think, me personally, that's a great show. It's a show you might look through a different prism now as you looked at before. If you thought it was art, it's still art, but maybe art of a different kind. But as to when and if we might restore it into our streaming service, all I can say is we don’t know.”
As for what FX is doing to ensure a safe working environment for everyone they employ on their shows, Landgraf said they’ve been aggressively working on a solution for the past several years.
“We’ve actually been working on this for a while,” Landgraf said. “Really for a long time now -- I’m talking for five years -- we’ve done rigorous and extensive sexual harassment training for all of our shows. It’s been a policy at FX and Fox for as long as I’ve been there, which is 15 years. We started extending that process into our productions in a really aggressive way five, six years ago. We just completed the sexual harassment training for the second season of Snowfall recently with department heads, crew, trying to push us deeply into the unions of the employees as we can.”
“We’ve been really vigorous about encouraging reporting, about investigating. We view this as a no-tolerance workplace,” he added. “We take our role, our responsibility to provide a safe working environment, not only those who work at FX but those who work at FX Productions really seriously. We’re really diligent and really vigorous about seeking input, about investigating these things and about making sure there’s appropriate action and consequences taken. It’s not an easy process because it essentially turns us into an investigative service and policemen when it comes to conduct, but it’s necessary. We’re trying to get better and better at it.”
When asked about what Hollywood can do to improve and what a possible next step is, Landgraf was candid.
“This is something that women and victims have a lot to say about,” he said, adding that he didn’t feel like he was an appropriate mouthpiece to issue suggestions on the matter. “My responsibility is as an employer, which is to do everything in my power, within the spirit that we control, to use that power to create a safe working environment. All I can tell you is I am, everyone at FX, are really serious about that. We work very seriously on it.”
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