Earlier this year, Adult Swim announced their then-upcoming season, presumably expecting their fans to pee themselves with excitement over cool-sounding new shows and fan-favorite renewals. Instead, much of the internet grabbed onto a disappointing detail: of the 47 shows announced, zero listed women in the role of “creator.”
As BuzzFeed noted at the time, that lack of female creators isn’t even strange. The network’s shows cite female creator credits on one in every 34 shows. (The average among all networks last year was one in five.)
Oh, and then last month, Mike Lazzo took to Reddit (classy) to defend his network, spewing some crap about women not liking conflict, which is where comedy comes from, so like, how is a delicate, conflict-free lady brain even supposed to handle making the funny words? He also prided himself on having “always been very accessible to every person at work.” Because nothing says “accessible” like a man on Reddit telling other men how accessible he is and how wrong the women are for ever thinking otherwise.
We can all agree this is a shitty business practice, right? But, as in all cases of institutionalized misogyny (or racism or any form of prejudiced practices), what can be done? What, oh what, could anyone possibly do to fight these practices besides whinge on the internet?
Adult Swim's Mike Lazzo Takes to Reddit to Defend Lack of Female Creators https://t.co/fjxE8FYx7z THIS IS THE REASON I HAVE SEVERED TIES— Brett Gelman (@brettgelman) November 14, 2016
You guys, I don’t mean to shock you into a case of the vapors or whatever, but do you realize that what Brett Gelman is saying is that he essentially quit his job because of the way that company treats women, even though he’s— get this— NOT EVEN A WOMAN AT ALL. It’s almost like he recognizes that even though these practices don’t discriminate against him directly, they’re maybe not characteristics of a company he wants to be a representative of.
Sure, it’s probably a little easier to take this kind of stand when your IMDB page lists nine projects in some stage of development. But Gelman (Another Period, The Inbetweeners, Dinner in America, Blunt Talk, a whole bunch of stuff) isn’t exactly a household name, and many of his fans found and stay with him through his work on Adult Swim. Probably more pressing, though, is the question of how many very successful, consistently working actors, artists, and celebrities would never consider doing this sort of thing unless it never affects them? Or even if it does? How many women never speak out against the misogyny of their employer for fear of losing one of the few coveted jobs they deign to risk on a lady-brain?
In addition to taking a stand against someone else’s unjust treatment, I’m going to impose on Gelman the realization that you don’t have to be actively discriminated against to see that any discrimination isn’t just a terrible business practice, but severely limiting to your business. Anyone who only listens to one type of voice is going to run out of ideas real soon. Why work for a company that is willingly lagging behind the course of progress? And why work with a company that actively discriminates against whole groups of artists? You don’t have to be the one being held down to realize these practices serve no one. And if you were, through no power or merit of your own, born into the demographic that’s not kept out of the club, you DO have the power to speak up.
If you are a straight white man you must actually help others and take action and not just say that you support them. Tweeting isn't enough— Brett Gelman (@brettgelman) November 14, 2016
It would be so nice if this sort of show of alliance weren’t rare. But Brett Gelman, thank you for making us realize that apparently you’re not the kind of man you’re so very good at playing.