California comedian sued for hosting a comedy show that's only for women

After hosting a women-only comedy event in California last month, comedian Iliza Shlesinger has been served a discrimination lawsuit by a man who was turned away at the door.

According to Variety, 21-year-old George St. George claims in the suit that he purchased a $30 ticket to a show Shlesinger hosted on Nov. 13 at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles, which had been advertised as “No Boys Allowed.” Undeterred, St. George and a male friend arrived at the show anyway, only to be first told that they could sit in the back row and then eventually denied entry entirely.

In the 14-page lawsuit, St. George’s attorney, Alfred Rava, claims that the concept of an all-women show “repudiate[s] 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.”

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Iliza Shlesinger attends The Laugh Factory's 30th Annual Toy Giveaway And Free Christmas Dinner at The Laugh Factory on December 25, 2009 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Comedian Iliza Shlesinger performs at 98.7 FM's Penthouse Party Pad at The Historic Hollywood Tower on February 26, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 21: Iliza Shlesinger attends the 11th Annual COMEDY FOR A CAUSE Benefiting The Hollywood Wilshire YMCA at The Laugh Factory on October 21, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Hollywood Wilshire YMCA)
PASADENA, CA - AUGUST 21: Comedian Iliza Shlesinger performs during her appearance at The Ice House Comedy Club on August 21, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Michael Schwartz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: Iliza Shlesinger attends AOL Build Speakers Series at AOL Studios in New York on March 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: Iliza Shlesinger attends AOL Build Speakers Series at AOL Studios in New York on March 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/WireImage)
TRUTH & ILIZA - Millennials - Comedian Iliza brings her incisive perspective to a new weekly late-night talk show, Truth & Iliza. Airing Tuesdays at 10pm EDT/PDT, each episode is centered around a themed question which Iliza will seek to answer using audience interaction, field pieces, commentary and, of course, jokes. For May 23, Iliza tackles the stereotypes that plague millennials. Lead guest is Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars) and this weeks Theme Queen is comedian/actress Margaret Cho. ((Nicole Wilder via Getty Images) ILIZA SHLESINGER
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 04: Comedian Iliza Shlesinger attends the Disney ABC Television Group TCA Summer Press Tour on August 4, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Iliza Shlesinger attends The Build Series to discuss her new stand up special 'Confirmed Kills' at AOL HQ on September 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: Comedian Iliza Shlesinger discusses her new show 'Truth & Iliza' at Build Studio on April 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Comedian Iliza Shlesinger arrives at the Audi Celebrates The 69th Emmys party at The Highlight Room at the Dream Hollywood on September 14, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Iliza Shlesinger attends the Build Series to discuss her new book 'Girl Logic: The Genius And The Absurdity' at Build Studio on November 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images,)
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 31: Iliza Shlesinger performs during 'The Late Late Show with James Corden,' Tuesday, October 31, 2017 (12:35 PM-1:37 AM ET/PT) On The CBS Television Network. (Photo by Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images)
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In the lawsuit, Rava — who, Variety notes, has made something of a career out of these types of lawsuits against women, as has St. George — also compares the plaintiff’s experience on Nov. 13 to racial segregation in the pre-civil rights movement South.

“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,” he wrote.

This isn’t the first time men have cried foul about this sort of gender discrimination in 2017. Earlier this year, there was an uproar over a handful of female-only screenings of Wonder Woman at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas.

In the months since then, the entertainment industry as a whole has been plagued by reports of sexual misconduct against women, which has opened up a cultural dialogue about discrimination against and harassment of women in the workplace, regardless of industry. One of the more high-profile instances of sexual misconduct involved the comedian Louis C.K., who has admitted to masturbating in front of multiple women, an experience that discouraged at least one of them from further pursuing comedy.

In a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter, Shlesinger declined to respond to the specifics of the lawsuit, but defended the women-only event and explained her inspiration for the approach.

“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,” she said, via a representative. “It’s unfortunate that this has now become an issue.”

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