Jezebel reported that former female staffers said that working at The Daily Show was “a frustrating and alienating experience.” Stories of Jon Stewart’s “joyless rage” off screen include things like throwing scripts at executive producer Madeleine Smithberg and refusing to allow her onstage to accept the show’s Emmy despite her contributions. The environment was said to be a boys’ club, where women felt marginalized and held to a different standard than the show’s men.
While Munn’s joining the cast is progress, Jezebel suggested that since she is better known as a sex symbol than as a comedian, “it’s hard not to conclude that looks mattered more for women than for men.” (Speaking of sexy, how about Samantha Bee in that suit?)
Jon Stewart mentioned the post in passing on air, saying, “Jezebel thinks I’m a sexist prick.” But this week, The Daily Show’s female staffers published an open letter addressed to “People Who Don’t Work Here.”
The letter clearly and comprehensively rebuts Jezebel, saying, “while rampant sexism at a well-respected show makes for a great story, we want to make something very clear: the place you may have read about is not our office.”
The female staffers note that women make up 40 percent of the staff and are indispensable to The Daily Show, generating “a significant portion of the show’s creative content.” Sure, it’s a hard place to work — but the challenge is exactly why so many women have stayed. “The fairness of our workplace makes competition tough and makes the show better.”
What about Jon Stewart? “Well, for a sexist prick, he can be quite charming. He’s also generous, humble, genuine, compassionate, fair, supportive, exacting, stubborn, goofy, hands-on, driven, occasionally infuriating, ethical, down-to-earth and — a lot of people don’t know this — surprisingly funny (for a guy brimming with “joyless rage”). How else to describe him? What’s the word that means the opposite of sexist? That one.
The women conclude that The Daily Show is not a boy’s club; it’s a family — high functioning and sometimes dysfunctional. “And we’re not thinking about how to maximize our gender roles in the workplace on a daily basis. We’re thinking about how to punch up a joke about Glenn Beck‘s latest diatribe, where to find a Michael Steele puppet on an hour’s notice, which chocolate looks most like an oil spill, and how to get a gospel choir to sing the immortal words, ‘Go f–k yourself!’” They then thanked the male writers who penned the letter for them.
Jezebel already has responded, of course, saying that it wished the female staffers had agreed to comment when asked before the original article. Sounds to me like they may have been kinda’ busy.
Do the DS women make their case? Give us your thoughts.