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Louis C.K.‘s I Love You, Daddy may have never made it to the big screen, but the controversial movie made its way online this week after award-season screeners were sent out to industry professionals.
Every year before the Golden Globes and the Oscars roll around, studios mail out DVDs or streaming access codes to their biggest projects as a way of reminding voters and journalists what they released that year. It’s not uncommon for these screeners to get pirated from time to time, but C.K.’s movie never made it to actual audiences in the first place. Throw in the fact that I Love You, Daddy seemed like a semi-autobiographical examination of sexual boundaries when C.K. himself is in the midst of his own sexual misconduct reckoning, and it’s not hard to imagine what motivated the piracy.
A piracy group has leaked Louis C.K.’s I Love You, Daddy because it’d be a "waste" to let it go unwatched https://t.co/cYJGtXoy96— Vulture (@vulture) December 12, 2017
According to Variety: “The pirated copy evidently came from one of the awards screeners distributed by the Orchard, which had acquired the movie for $5 million before canceling U.S. release plans following the New York Times’ report about C.K.’s having masturbated in front of multiple women. International distributors also dropped [the movie].”
In other words, this company spent a lot of money on a movie that is never going to see the light of day, so employees apparently figured they might as well show industry insiders what it looked like.
The 1.5-gigabyte rip of I Love You, Daddy hit sites including the Pirate Bay this week. The leak was first reported by TorrentFreak and was apparently spearheaded by a group that calls itself Hive-CM8. The group claimed its motivation for the leak was the uncertainty of the movie ever being widely released, and the unique window of opportunity the screener provided.
“It never made it to the cinema, and nobody knows if it ever will go to retail at all,” Hive-CM8 wrote in the information file included with the pirated copy of the movie. “Either way their [sic] is no perfect time to release it anyway, but we think it would be a waste to let a great Louis C.K. go unwatched and nobody can even see or buy it.”
The piracy group has pledged not to release its other screeners until after Christmas.
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.