Comedy writer reveals lurid details of harassment on set — and why it cost her a job (guest column)

In 1986, after only three or four years in L.A., Garry Shandling called to offer me a job on his new show. I don't remember how I knew Garry, but whenever I'd run into him at Hugo's, we'd share a laugh, and once he asked me if I could help him find a snake man. Even though I lived in a snake-free condo, I found one. And not to brag, but this was before Google.

Anyway, he offered me a job on Showtime's It's Garry Shandling's Show. It started out as a lot of fun. A bunch of cool, smart guys and me working on a show where Garry didn't just break the fourth wall but rode around behind it in a golf cart.

Once we got on the air, we were golden. I was, at any rate; I wrote two of first six episodes, both of which got a nice write-up in the L.A. Times that said nice things about me, the writer, the only woman on staff. What could possibly go wrong?

The guys started excluding me from meetings: "Oh, we couldn't find you." Then they started excluding me from the table, instead assigning me "the slit scenes" to write. Even though these scenes were the ones that featured the only female cast member, it didn't occur to me exactly what slit they were referring to until one day in the ladies room. My mantra became, "I won't cry until I get home." It was amended to "I won't cry until I get into the parking lot," which became "I won't cry until I get into the stairwell," which morphed into "Fuck, I'm crying.'

One day, I was sitting in Garry's office across the desk from him. A few of the writers and one of the actors were in the room too. I felt a tap on my shoulder, I turned, and there was that actor's flaccid penis draped on it like a pirate's dead parrot. Riotous laughter ensued from all but one of us.

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Women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault
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Women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault
Paz de la Huerta, who stars on HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire,' claims Harvey Weinstein raped her on two separate occasions in 2010: "I was in no state. I was so terrified of him," she told Vanity Fair. "I did say no, and when he was on top of me, I said, 'I don't want to do this' ... It was disgusting. He's like a pig."
British actress Lysette Anthony has publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her in her home in the late 1980s.
Amber Anderson said Harvey Weinstein 'behaved inappropriately' and bragged about other actresses he had 'helped' in exchange for sexual favors.
Natassia Malthe has accused Weinstein of raping her in a hotel room. On a separate occasion, after she was assured that Weinstein would not come onto her, she was allegedly escorted to Weinstein's hotel room by an assistant. In the room was another woman, who performed oral sex on Weinstein whil he asked Malthe to join.
Lupita Nyong'o wrote a detailed essay for the New York Times recounting multiple incidents with Weinstein, including an evening during which he asked her to give him a nude massage while his family was in the same home.
Marisa Coughlan said that she planned to meet Weinstein for a meeting at his hotel. Instead, he requested a massage.

Heather Graham said Weinstein told her he had an agreement with his wife that allowed him to sleep with whomever he wants. He then asked him to meet her to discuss a film project at his hotel, falsely telling her that her friend would also be present. She declined.

French actress Judith Godreche has accused Weinstein of inappropriately pressing up against her, trying to remove her sweater and asking for a massage.

Lauren Holly said that during a seemingly normal meeting with Weinstein to discuss a project, he began disrobing, got into the shower, and went to the bathroom while continuing to converse with her. He then allegedly asked her for a massage. She fled. 
Angie Everhart said that she was sleeping in her own cabin on a yacht when Harvey Weinstein entered, blocked the door and began masturbating. He told her not to tell anyone, but she "told everyone," including many actors and producers. In response, most told her that it was just Harvey being Harvey. In an interview with TMZ, she emphasized that anyone in the industry who knew Harvey at all knew that he regularly did things like what he allegedly did to her.
Kate Beckinsale has accused Harvey Weinstein of coming onto her in his hotel room when she was 17 years old.
Tara Subkoff said that in the 1990s, on the same day that she was offered a major movie role, she met Harvey Weinstein at a party. He allegedly made her sit on his lap while he had an erection. He then told her that if he did not do certain sexual things, she would not get the role that she'd already been offered. She declined. Afterward, she said, her "reputation was ruined by false gossip" and she found it near impossible to book roles.
Minka Kelly said that Harvey Weinstein offered her a lavish lifestyle in exchange for being his extramarital girlfriend. She declined.
Gwyneth Paltrow told the New York Times that Harvey Weinstein asked her for a massage in his hotel suite. After she told then-boyfriend Brad Pitt, Pitt confronted him, leading Weinstein to contact Paltrow and "scream" at her, she said.
Asia Argento has accused Weinstein of raping her in his hotel room when she was 21. She first reluctantly agreed to give him a massage, and then he forcibly performed oral sex on her. During subsequent encounters, she had consensual sexual relations with him due to fear that he would otherwise ruin her career.
Rose McGowan has publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of rape. In October 2016, she tweeted reference to a studio head raping her. In October 2017, in a tweet to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, McGowan referred to Weinstein by name while repeating her rape accusation. The alleged incident took place in the 1990s and resulted in a financial settlement.
Cara Delevingne has accused Harvey Weinstein of attempting to coerce her into kissing another woman in his hotel room. She had just begun her acting career and believed they were meeting just to finalize talks for a film role.
Angelina Jolie said she had a "bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth" and refused to work with him subsequently.
Jessica Barth has accused Harvey Weinstein of demanding that she get naked and give him a massage.
Emma de Caunes has accused Harvey Weinstein of unexpectedly getting naked and demanding that she lie down as other women had supposedly done before her.
Lauren Sivan has accused Harvey Weinstein of cornering her in a public space and masturbating to completion in front of her.
Mira Sorvino, seen here at a Weinstein Co. event in January 2017, said that after refusing Harvey Weinstein's advances, he dissuaded others in the industry from hiring her.
Ambra Battilana has accused Harvey Weinstein of groping her breasts and reaching under her skirt. She went to the NYPD and then conducted a sting operation, the audio of which was published by the New Yorker. In the audio, Weinstein can be heard attempting to coerce her to enter his hotel room.
Louisette Geiss has accused Harvey Weinstein of luring her to his hotel room after assuring her he wouldn't hit on her. He then disrobed and repeatedly asked her to watch him masturbate, telling her he would produce her screenplay if she did.
Emily Nestor (far right), a former Weinstein Co. employee, has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.
Rosanna Arquette has accused Harvey Weinstein of dissuading others from hiring her after she rejected his sexual advances.
Rose McGowan has publicly accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. She has also accused others in the industry of knowing of Weinstein's misconduct and either actively or passively hiding it.
Ashley Judd has publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of asking her for a massage and then asking her to watch him shower.
Florence Darel has accused Harvey Weinstein of coming onto her in a hotel suite in 1996 while his wife was in the room next door.
Zoe Brock (left, in 2004) has accused Weinstein of getting naked and chasing her around a hotel room after she refused to give him a massage.
Katherine Kendall (right, in 2006) has accused Harvey Weinstein of disrobing and asking for a massage in his apartment after a movie screening, telling her that "everybody does it." He then asked her to at least show him her breasts, which she refused.
Romola Garai has accused Harvey Weinstein of making her feel "violated" when he watched her audition wearing only a bathrobe in his hotel room.
Lea Seydoux has accused Harvey Weinstein of forcibly trying to kiss her on the lips in 2012.
Claire Forlani said she "escaped" Harvey Weinstein on five occasions. He allegedly told her about all the actresses he had slept with and how he had in turn established their careers. He also attempted to get her to give him a massage.
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A day or so later, Brad Grey, one of the show's producers, called me into his office. "I understand we have a problem," he said. He knew! I was so relieved. "So I think you should quit." Wait, what? Shouldn't he at least fire me so I could get paid? Nope. I was to do the smart thing and quit. Today.

I called my agent on a pay phone (I told you this was pre-Google). I suggested we sue, but the cold reality was that I was a broke baby writer. And even if I could afford to sue one of the most successful production companies in town, I'd never work again. So I vowed to make this my go-to anecdote. I told it in every single writing room I was in, most of which were male-dominated. Not that any of those guys would've tapped their penises on my shoulder, but telling that story was like displaying my enemies' heads on stakes at the village gates. And no matter how hostile it may seem for me to dine out on this story, karma's a way bigger bitch: the actor with the dead parrot penis? In two of his latest credits, he doesn't even have a name; he's listed as "father" and "judge."

Thirty-one years later, I was punching up a wonderful pilot (though not so wonderful it got on the air) and met a bunch of really funny writers I'd never met before. At the end of one particular night, two of these really funny writers, Jessica Goldstein and Chrissy Pietrosh, walked me to my car on the Universal lot. We talked about how nice the guys were we'd just worked with, about how while there are still He-Man Woman-Haters in sitcoms, we all know who they are and can avoid them. As I was unlocking my Prius, they stopped me. "Thank you for getting that flaccid penis on your shoulder so we never had to." I cried in the parking lot, in my car and all the way home.

Janis Hirsch is a writer-producer whose credits include The Nanny, Frasier and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.

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