"You give your friends the benefit of the doubt," Stewart explained. "I've had friends who have had compulsions – gambling, drinking or drugs – and we've lost some of them; some of them have died. You always find yourself back to a moment of, did I miss something? Could I have done more? In this situation, I think we all could have."
"You get mad at yourself to for laughing it off, for thinking, 'that didn't happen,'" he added later.
Stewart claimed he first heard about allegations of harassment against Louis C.K. during a taping of David Axelrod's podcast The Axe Files in May of 2016. "I hadn't heard, at that point, at any of it," Stewart remembered. "[An audience member] said, 'what do you think about the allegations against Louis C.K.?' My first response, was, 'what?' And then, joke, joke. As he kept going, I was like, 'look, I know this is very serious, he's always been a gentleman to me' – which speaks again to the blindness that I think a man has. 'Hey, he's a good guy, what are you talking about?'"
Stewart said that following the podcast taping, he "dug around" to determine if there was any truth behind the audience member's question. "We were all assured, like, 'no,' and we took somebody's word for it," Stewart continued. "And maybe that's an error on our part … [Sexual harassment] is another endemic, system problem that we haven't had the urgency for, certainly myself included. I hope it changes."
Stewart co-hosts the annual charity benefit "Night of Too Many Stars" on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The event will be broadcast live on HBO. C.K. was originally scheduled to perform, but he has been dropped from the lineup.