Does a women-only comedy event equal gender discrimination?
A comedian is being sued for hosting a women-only comedy night in California last month.
Iliza Shlesinger - a dynamic performer who has fronted a series of Netflix shows - is facing a lawsuit over her event titled Girls Night In with Iliza — No Boys Allowed.
The lawsuit claims that defendant George St. George and a male friend of his brought $30 (£22) tickets to the performance on November 13.
The pair were apparently told to sit at the back when they arrived at the Los Angeles theatre venue. But they were later denied entry and offered a refund, the suit alleges.
Attorney Alfred Rava says the incident violates California laws around gender discrimination. He noted that the action had no relation to current allegations of sexual misconduct surrounding Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
“Post-Weinstein, Pre-Weinstein, or Mid-Weinstein environment makes no difference,” Rava tells TheWrap.
“At no time should an entertainer or an entertainment venue require female patrons or male patrons sit in the back of the theater based solely on their sex, or prohibit people from entering the theater and taking in the show based solely on their sex – or their race, religion, sexual orientation, citizenship, or other protected personal characteristic.”
Both the defendant and his attorney have a history of filing lawsuits over women-only events, Variety reports.
Shlesinger has yet to comment directly on the fact that she’s being sued, although she has issued a tweet thanking her fans for their support (above).
If found guilty, she could face a $4,000 (£2,900) fine and legal fees, but many similar cases typically settle outside of court.
A rising star on the LA comedy scene, Shlesinger wants to “speak to women and people that are my age in a funny and relatable way”.
“I think the landscape of what’s available out there for women is not as extensive as it could be,” she told Deadline earlier this year.
“… I wanted to speak in an open and honest way that wasn’t always sexual, that didn’t always limit us to women that are desperate for marriage or babies.”
In the same interview, she attracted criticism for suggesting that women are generic with their use of comedy.
“I’m banging my head against the wall because women want to be treated as equals, and we want feminism to be a thing, but it’s really difficult when every woman makes the same point about her vagina, over and over,” she said.
She added that she could “close her eyes” at the Improv and not be able to distinguish one woman’s set from another’s.
Images: Iliza Shlesinger/Twitter