On Thursday, as The New York Times published a report in which five women accused Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct, the distributor of C.K.’s new film, I Love You, Daddy—about a 17-year-old girl dating a 68-year-old man—canceled the premiere event that had been set to take place on Thursday evening. On the same day, The Washington Post published a story in which several different women accused Roy Moore, the GOP nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat, of sexually pursuing them when he was in his 30s and they were in their teens. The women’s age was central to the horror of the story: Moore, then an assistant district attorney, met one of the women, Leigh Corfman, when she was 14 years old, outside a child custody hearing; he told her mother that he would, essentially, babysit her; her mother accepted. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl,” Nancy Wells told the Post, of Moore’s offer. She is now 71. Moore is now 70.
So: Two stories, both alike in indignity. One involves a man who is in many ways an emblem of (powerful, coastal, progressive) Hollywood. The other involves a conservative politician who has literally toted a gun to a rally. That the two would be so tangled together, though, is not terribly surprising: Both emerged within a culture that claims to see relationships between teenage girls and older men as wrong—Lolita, 62 years later, remains controversial for a reason—but that at the same time, again and again, teasingly romanticizes them. I Love You, Daddy, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has been dubbed “brazen” and a “cringe comedy” and “a deliberately provocative minefield,” was set to hit American theaters this weekend in all its breezy brazenness—until the accusations against C.K., the person, emerged. The allegations against Moore, similarly, have been met in some corners by horror—resign if true, some have said—but in some others by complacency. Fake news. Moore, actually, is the real victim here. Anyway, Mary was a teenager when she met Joseph, soooooo.