Comedian Iliza Shlesinger is being sued by a male patron who was turned away from her “Girls’ Night In with Iliza – No Boys Allowed” comedy show at the Largo at the Coronet theater in Los Angeles last month.
George St. George says he and a friend bought $25-$30 tickets to the show on November 13th through the Largo website. They arrived at the will-call window early, and were given their tickets but told they would need to sit in the back. After leaving for a drink and returning, they were then told that Shlesinger and the theater had decided not to allow the ticket-holders entry because it was, as advertised, a women-only show, and that they would be refunded for their tickets.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff says this interaction “can best be described as being akin to the Montgomery City Lines bus company in Montgomery, Alabama circa 1955 morphing into the Woolworth’s department store lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1960.”
“Iliza is bringing her girls invited only show back to Los Angeles,” the event page on the Largo website states. “Girls’ Night In is a hybrid stand up show and interactive discussion between Iliza and the women in the audience aimed at giving women a place to vent in a supportive, fun and inclusive environment. She invites women of all walks of life to come, laugh with her and at her and be ready to share and feel safe for an awesome night of comedy and love.”
St. George and his attorney Alfred Rava, are suing Shlesinger, The Largo at The Coronet, its owner Mark Brian Flanagan, and Shlesinger’s booking agent United Talent Agency for violation of several California civil codes prohibiting discrimination as well as for negligence. The lawsuit also cites Koire v Metro Car Wash (1985), which found that “sex-based promotions” such as discounts at bars for “ladies’ night” are violations of state civil rights law and equate to sexual discrimination.
The plaintiff, 21, called the Girls Night In event a “War On Men”, and said that, “For any business or any individual in the year 2017, in the progressive state of California, to provide or aid in providing accommodations, advantages, privileges, or services to only females as Defendants did here, is as repugnant and unlawful as a business or an individual being involved in a “Caucasian Night” or a “Heterosexual Night” and providing admission, entertainment, and other accommodations, advantages, privileges, or services to only white or heterosexual patrons, respectively”.
Rolling Stone reports this is not the first time St. George, nor Rava, have filed suits challenging “ladies nights” promotions. Rava once served as secretary of the National Coalition for Men, a non-profit men’s rights group that attempts to highlight false rape accusations and the “myth” that men don’t do their fair share of housework. Rava said he is no longer a member of the group.
The plaintiff seeks the following relief: preventing the Defendants from “engaging in unequal treatment of consumers based on the consumers’ sex”, for the defendants to “undergo sensitivity training regarding sex discrimination”, “statutory damages pursuant to Civil Code section 52”, “costs, including attorneys’’ fees”, and “other and further legal and equitable relief.”
“Since this is a legal matter, I’m unable to comment to the specifics of this lawsuit,” Shlesinger tells Rolling Stone in a statement. “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. It’s unfortunate that this has now become an issue.”