Update: December 29, 2017 at 1:20 p.m.
Iliza Shlesinger provided the following statement to Refinery29 regarding the gender discrimination lawsuit brought against her:
"Since this is a legal matter, I'm unable to comment to the specifics of this lawsuit. I will say that of the many shows I do throughout the year, Girls Night In was a singular evening that encouraged women to get together, talk and laugh about the things we go through as well as donate some money to Planned Parenthood. It's unfortunate that this has now become an issue."
Original post follows.
The comedian Iliza Shlesinger has been hit with a lawsuit for hosting an all-women's comedy show in November. In the lawsuit, obtained and published by Variety, the plaintiff George St. George alleges that Shlesinger's decision to exclude men from her "Girls Night In" show at the Largo theater in Los Angeles was unlawful. As per Variety's summary, the lawsuit explains that St. George spent $30 on a ticket to Shlesinger's show, but was denied entry. The theater offered St. George a refund for his ticket.
The lawsuit argues that the choice to exclude men from a comedy show is gender discrimination. In an email to Variety, St. George's attorney Alfred Rava wrote, "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."
As both Variety and Jezebel point out, Rava has a history with skewed gender-discrimination lawsuits. In 2015, in an interview regarding a similar lawsuit against networking startup for women called Chic CEO, he told CNN that he'd filed over 150 gender discrimination lawsuits in the state of California. (Rava performed the interview over email, telling CNN that, given the company's "leftwing, pro-female, anti-male bias," he did not trust them to quote him accurately from a phone interview.)
For the 2015 lawsuit, Rava wrested the Unruh Civil Rights Act, a 1959 piece of California legislation outlawing gender discrimination, against Chic CEO for excluding three members of the National Coalition for Men from one of the company's events. According to Mother Jones, the same three men also sued Women on Course, a company devoted to women who play golf, in 2013. In both cases, the companies settled outside of court. Stephanie Burns, the founder of Chic CEO told Slate that she couldn't afford the legal fees associated with the lawsuit. She later downsized Chic CEO. (The website for the company is currently inactive.)
According to the Napa Valley Register, Rava sued the Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club on behalf of plaintiff Steve Frye in 2011 for hosting a discounted "Ladies Day." On Ladies Day, the course charged women $4 less than men golfers.
Shlesinger, an outspoken feminist almost to a fault, hosts her Girls Night In show somewhat regularly — at every show, a portion of the proceeds go to Planned Parenthood.
"Stand up comedy for women is one giant sexual harassment," she told Refinery29 in November. She added, "This is art, we're trying to make people laugh and be happy. And when people bring their black hearts into it and just want to hurt you because they see you as a threat or they hate themselves, that's when it gets sad, and that's when it gets scary."
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