This article deals with sexual misconduct and might be triggering for some readers.
When the winner for Best Comedy Album was announced at the 2022 Grammy Awards, you could sense a brief uncomfortable energy shift in that room packed with perfectly quaffed celebrities.
This was because Louis C.K. had won the comedy section. An honour bestowed upon him just a few years after he admitted to repeated sexual misconduct. Conduct which included pulling out his penis and masturbating in front of female comics on multiple occasions.
It was a moment that hardly constituted a hiccup in the night's glitzy proceedings, with the only true nod to the confronting nature of the win being the moment presenter and actor LeVar Burton said, “Damn...I will accept this on his behalf,” before he swiftly left the stage.
But while all appeared well at the awards ceremony, which Louis C.K. did not attend and has yet to acknowledge, his win ignited a firestorm of debate that raged across social media, in newsrooms, and in group chats about what the accolade really meant for the man who had been 'cancelled' in 2017.
Watch: The women who worked for Harvey Weinstein tell their stories. Post continues after video.
On one hand, people argued Louis C.K. has no formal charges or arrests made against him that would prevent him from working and participating in industry events.
The Recording Academy, the body of musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other musical professionals who are responsible for the Grammy Awards, have staunchly maintained that C.K. has every right to remain eligible for, and even win, their awards.
“We won’t restrict the people who can submit their material for consideration," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said in a statement provided to The Wrap. "We won’t look back at people’s history, we won’t look at their criminal record, we won’t look at anything other than the legality within our rules of, is this recording for this work eligible based on date and other criteria."