Update, Nov. 10: In a brief statement, The Orchard has announced it “will not be moving forward with the release of I Love You, Daddy.”
Earllier today, Louis C.K. canceled this evening’s premiere of his new movie I Love You, Daddy and withdrew from a scheduled appearance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, reportedly because of a forthcoming New York Times article detailing the long-rumored allegations that C.K. had repeatedly exposed himself to and masturbated in front of several women over a period of decades. And now that the Times article has dropped, the movie’s distributor, The Orchard, is declining to confirm that the movie will be released in theaters on Nov. 17 as planned.
“In light of the allegations considering Louis C.K. references in today’s New York Times, we are cancelling tonight’s premiere of ‘I Love You, Daddy,’” the Orchard said in a statement. “There is never a place for the behavior detailed in these allegations. As a result, we are giving careful consideration to the timing and release of the film and continuing to review the situation.”
Movie industry observers have been saying for weeks that the timing seemed particularly bad for I Love You, Daddy, in which C.K. plays a TV writer whose teenage daughter begans hanging around a legendary movie director with a history of questionable sexual behavior, including relationships with women decades younger than him and one persistent rumor of child rape. Shot in black and white like Woody Allen’s Manhattan, the movie is obviously informed by the allegations lodged against Allen by his stepdaughter Dylan Farrow, as well as the persistent rumors about C.K. himself.
As the Times article points out, C.K. has a long history of discussing and sometimes simulating masturbation in his comedy, and I Love You, Daddy does have a scene in which Charlie Day mimes aggressively jerking off while C.K. is talking to a woman on the phone, although there are no other people in the room. But there is plenty in the movie to provoke discomfort if not outright disgust, including a scene where C.K. argues that it’s not fair to judge public figures’ behavior based on what you read in the press, and a post-coital debate between C.K. and Rose Byrne about statutory rape. When it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September, C.K. congratulated the crowd on being “the only audience in the history of the world” to see it without prejudging its subject matter, and with its scheduled release looming only eight days away, the idea that anyone could watch the movie and not think of the New York Times article now seems like an utter fantasy.