The actress and comedian told Howard Stern on his SiriusXM radio show that she believed Louis CK, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, had “remorse” for his actions.
“I don’t know if I’m going to regret saying this,” she said. “I’ve known Louis forever, I’m not making excuses for him, so please don’t take this that way.
“We are peers. We are equals. When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘f*** yeah, I want to see that!’ … It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them.
“He could offer me nothing. We were only just friends. So sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I would say, ‘f****** no, gross’, and we got pizza.”
Silverman said she was not condoning his actions. “I’m just saying at a certain point, when he became influential, not even famous, but influential in the world of comedy, it changes,” she said.
Her comments were criticised on Twitter by actress Rebecca Corry, who was one of five women who spoke out about Louis CK.
All five said the comedian had masturbated or attempted to masturbate in front of them, or while they were on the phone.
Ms Corry said: “To be real clear, CK had ‘nothing to offer me’ as I too was his equal on the set the day he decided to sexually harrass me. He took away a day I worked years for and still has no remorse. He’s a predator who victimised women for decades and lied about it.” (sic)
Silverman replied to the post, saying: “Rebecca I’m sorry. Ugh this is why I don’t like weighing in. I can’t seem to do press 4 my show w/out being asked about it.
“But you’re right – you were equals and he f***** with you and it’s not ok. I’m sorry, friend. You are so talented and so kind.”
After the allegations were made public last year, Louis CK released a statement admitting they were true.
“These stories are true,” he said. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my d*** without asking first, which is also true.
“But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your d*** isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
A report on the claims in the New York Times followed a series of sexual assault allegations against powerful figures in Hollywood, which started with Harvey Weinstein and sparked the #MeToo movement.