News & Politics

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger Sued for Banning Men From Audience

Iliza Shlesinger arrives at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards Audi pre party at The Highlight Room on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

When I first heard that comedian Iliza Shlesinger was being sued for putting on a performance of only female comedians, I got a little upset. Why bother her over this? However, plaintiff George St. George was told that only women would be allowed in the audience, and that does sound like a problem.

Worse, St. George and a friend had already purchased tickets to Schlesinger’s “Girls Night In” show November 13 in Los Angeles. At the time of the purchase, they were told they’d have to sit in the back, which was apparently fine with them. However, when they arrived for the show, the men were denied entry. An employee said that the theater and Shlesinger had decided men wouldn’t be permitted to attend the performance, and offered a refund.

As Rolling Stone reports, the full title of the show — “Girls Night In With Iliza — No Boys Allowed” — violates California state law. The lawsuit cites a 1985 state Supreme Court ruling that effectively banned “ladies’ night” promotions.

St. George’s attorney Alfred Rava told Variety: “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.”

Rolling Stone added that Rava once served as secretary for a men’s rights group. Why Rolling Stone felt that matters is a mystery.

If St. George’s description of the events is accurate, he was barred from attending an event that was open to the public and for which he had purchased a ticket. He was barred from attending because of his Y-chromosome.

California law is clear about this being illegal. Talk about a slam dunk.

And I say this as someone who likes Shlesinger’s comedy. I think she’s funny as hell, but in this regard, she screwed up. As a result, someone’s going to have to pay for this one.

Catering to only one gender is perfectly legal in numerous situations according to federal and state law, as it should be in those situations. But in this case, I can’t imagine a more clear-cut instance of breaking the  applicable law.