12:31pm PT by Kate Stanhope
Tina Fey Tackles Sexual Harassment Again, This Time on NBC's 'Great News'
NBC's sophomore comedy Great News is set to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace just days after allegations of similar behavior from Harvey Weinstein surfaced in both The New York Times and The New Yorker.
In Thursday's episode, titled "Honeypot," a high-powered female executive, played by Great News executive producer Tina Fey, is found to be sexually harassing several of her male employees. The episode sees Fey's Diana St. Tropez use her high-ranking status in the office to try to pressure her subordinates into engaging in questionable behavior.
Even the title of Thursday's episode, "Honeypot," draws immediate comparisons to the Weinstein scandal. In Tuesday's New Yorker exposé, a female executive with The Weinstein Co. used that term to describe how Weinstein's assistants and others would serve as a "honeypot," i.e. initially they would join a meeting but then Weinstein would dismiss them, leaving him alone with a woman.
"It almost felt like the executive or assistant was made to be a honeypot to lure these women in, to make them feel safe," the female executive told The New Yorker. "Then he would dismiss the executive or the assistant, and then these women were alone with him. And that did not feel like it was appropriate behavior or safe behavior."
While another NBC series, Law & Order: SVU, and its various counterparts have been famous for ripping from the headlines for episodes, the timing of Thursday's Great News installment is a coincidence. The episode was first announced Sept. 18, and was always scheduled to air Oct. 12.
Coincidentally, or not, Thursday's episode of Great News was also co-written by Fey. She also penned a 2012 episode of her NBC workplace comedy 30 Rock that made a joke about Weinstein's aggressive behavior toward women. In the episode, the fictional show-within-the-show's star Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) states, "I'm not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions ... out of five."
Another 30 Rock episode the following year made reference to Weinstein, with Jenna saying, "I know how former lovers can have a hold over you long after they're gone. In some ways, I'm still pinned under a passed-out Harvey Weinstein and it's Thanksgiving."
Weinstein has denied the allegations via his spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister, saying in a statement Tuesday: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual."
Great News airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.