Recently, I was sitting on my couch between two influential, Emmy-winning writers, one a man and one a woman. We were talking about consequences. The comedian Louis C.K.’s entire life seemed to have been canceled overnight. His movie wasn’t being released, and his representatives dropped him after five women accused him of sexual harassment, behavior he then admitted. In just the past week, more famous and admired men have lost their jobs for such behaviors. Enter Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer right behind him and then Garrison Keillor.
The man on the couch next to me was disconcerted, making an argument that while Louis C.K.’s actions certainly merited serious consequences, what he did and what Harvey Weinstein did are two very different things. We shouldn’t lump them all together, he insisted. The woman was firm with her response: “Yes, we can and we will. Choosing consequences doesn’t belong to you anymore.”
The man balked with frustration. “What do you want,” he asked her. “What’s the ultimate thing you would want to happen to him, for what he did? That he never works in this business again?” The woman said, simply: “Yes. That’s the price you pay.” The man was quiet for a moment, thinking, until he found the question he’d been looking for the entire conversation. “Tell me something: Do you believe in redemption?”