A California man is suing Iliza Shlesinger after being turned away from a girls-only show in a hyperbole-laden lawsuit that begins with a quote from George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” writes attorney Alfred Rava, before beginning a 14-page complaint that says his client is a victim of the comedian’s “war on men.”
George St. George asks the court to imagine the uproar and protests that would follow if comedian Andrew Dice Clay, who is described in the complaint as “the bane of feminists,” hosted a comedy show that prohibited women from entering.
Men in Texas were similarly offended in May when Alamo Drafthouse held a women-only screening of Wonder Woman. Although the theater didn’t actually turn away any men, it reportedly did agree to make some concessions in response to an official complaint filed with the City of Austin Equal Employment & Fair Housing Office.
It’s worth noting that San Diego-based attorney Rava has built a career on suing companies for gender discrimination, including filing a class action against the Oakland A’s for giving away plaid hats to women only at a May 2004 game.
Here, St. George says he and a friend bought tickets for a Nov. 13 show at Largo at The Coronet that was advertised as “Girls Night in with Iliza — No Boys Allowed” and was informed they would only be allowed in if they agreed to sit in the back row of the theater “because of their sex.”
The men decided to leave to grab a bite to eat before returning for the show, and Rava compares what happened when they returned to the racial segregation experienced across the South prior to the civil rights movement. The female employee with whom they had spoken earlier told them Shlesinger and the theater had since decided only women would be admitted to the show and they’d be given a refund.
Rava argues the decision to turn away St. George and his friend violates the Unruh Civil Rights Act and California’s business and professions code.
“Simply put, it is against many California laws for a business to discriminate against patrons based on their sex or other personal characteristics, such as race or sexual orientation which should surprise no one,” writes Rava. He argues the girls-only show “repudiated hundreds of years of women’s struggles to be viewed as being equal to men and is typical of old-fashioned sexism that might also advise a young woman that her best chance for a happy life is to ace her home economics class and learn how to make a queso dip from Velveeta to catch a good man.”
UTA and Largo at The Coronet are also named as defendants in the lawsuit, which is posted in full below. St. George is seeking an injunction barring defendants from engaging in unequal treatment of consumers based on sex, an order requiring them to undergo sex discrimination sensitivity training and statutory damages.
Reps for Shlesinger on Thursday sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement in response to the complaint. “Since this is a legal matter, I’m unable to comment to the specifics of this lawsuit,” she says. “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.”
Dec 28. 3:25 p.m. Updated with a comment from Shlesinger.