Louis C.K. pulls out of reporter dinner after criticism

Louis C.K. attends the George Carlin Tribute hosted by Whoopi Goldberg at the New York Public Library-Celeste Bartos Forum on March 24, 2010, in New York. Pictures: Emmy nominees 2011 Special section: Emmys 2011
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Comedian Louis C.K. has decided not to appear at this year's Radio & Television Correspondents' Association (RTCA) Dinner following criticism from those who deemed his comments about Sarah Palin and others over the line.

CNN's Jay McMichael, the RTCA Dinner Chair, confirmed that C.K. will no longer host the June 8 dinner. C.K.'s publicist also confirmed the decision, but declined to explain why C.K. decided to drop out.

Fox News' Greta Van Susteren on Thursday called for a boycott of the dinner, saying C.K. is a "pig" who "denigrates all women and looks to the crowd to laugh."

Van Susteren zeroed in on C.K.'s profanity-laced comments about Sarah Palin, which the Fox News host reproduced on her blog, with asterisks in place of letters in certain words.

"I hope all the other women and men in the media join me in not going," she wrote. "I also hope everyone has the courage to stand up to this."

Tickets for the dinner, which cost $210 each, are generally covered by the media outlets whose reporters and staff attend the dinner.

Even before Van Susteren's call for a boycott, some conservatives were comparing the situation to the uproar that followed Rush Limbaugh's comments about law student Sandra Fluke.

"Palin is a conservative woman and therefore doesn't count according to the mainstream media," wrote Katie Pavlich at the conservative website Townhall on Wednesday. "They'll continue to give Louis C.K. and others like him who attack conservative women with crude sexual remarks a pass while they freely attack Rush Limbaugh. The move isn't surprising considering the mainstream media continues its quest to destroy Sarah Palin, Louis C.K. fits right into their agenda."

McMichael, the RTCA Dinner Chair, said in December that C.K. would keep the event from being stuffy, telling Politico: "It gives the dinner a bit of an edge, shakes it up a little, which is what we wanted to do. One of our goals was to make it not so stuffy an evening, as opposed to the more traditional, D.C. black-tie events. Louis C.K. fit the bill when it came to that."

The RTCA dinner is not to be confused with the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, which will be held on April 28 with Jimmy Kimmel as host. President Obama last attended the RTCA in 2009.

C.K., who stars in and oversees the critically-lauded FX sitcom "Louie," suggested to GQ last year that he regretted some of comments about Palin, though not all of them.

"It's comedy," he said. "I have said many indefensible things onstage. It's f***ing comedy. Plus, I do believe if she got elected, she'd really Hitler up the place."