Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Friends, Creative Conversations, and Hollywood

A former "Friends" writers' assistant Amaani Lyle has sued WB and three writers for sexual harassment claiming that the writers created a "hostile work environment" by engaging in sex-related comments and bawdy jokes during writers' meetings. She, however, was NOT the direct target of many comments, but she did find them offensive, to say the least.

After losing the case, then winning the appeal, the case is now going to the California Supreme Court.

So it begs the question were these writers engaged in creative kibbitzing as a necessary part of their job OR were they engaged in malicious raunchy locker-room conversation inappropriate to the work they do?

It's easy to imagine that certain sexual raunchy creative considerations play an important role in shows like "Sex in the City" or " The Soprano's" and "Will and Grace" but "FRIENDS"?????

Quoting from the OC Register:
"One of the joys of the United States in general, and of artistic centers like Hollywood in particular, is the incredibly eclectic mix of words, images, and music that flow freely from creator to audience at dizzying speed. Virtually everyone can find a work that speaks to him, whether it be a religious text, a salacious soap opera, a silly sex farce, a wholesome children's story acted out by plush animals, or an episode of Friends. To take away any of these myriad options, as the Lyle decision threatens to do, would be to destroy more than individual speech rights. It would also destroy a large part of American culture."

An interesting argument but not always valid.

In reading the affadivits the writers admited to some really depraved conversations about the actors themselves that in my opinion have NOTHING to do with the show. They made endless jokes about David Schwimmer being gay, referred to all women as bitches and cunts,; Adam Chase constantly talked about how he wanted to have anal sex with Jennifer Aniston, and talked about how Courtney Cox' pussy was dried up and if you put twigs in it they would break. That's only the tip of the iceberg.

What has ANY of this got to do with "Friends" and how is any of this type of conversation a part of the creative process for THIS show??? The ridiculous claim that this kind of talk is considered "brainstorming" when it happens all day in the office,every week,is simply wrong.

As is The claim by the OC Register that
"The very drying up of new, edgy, and provocative art would not be far behind" if this kind of talk is censored(which is the implication if the Ms. Lyle wins her law suit) .

"Brainstorming" as part of the creative process needs to be put in context...not used as an excuse to allow a bunch of sick horney men to say anything they want about anyone.

I mean, if these writers worked on a children's show, and the same thing went on, WOULD THAT ABSURD ARGUMENT BE USED OR BE VALID?

More from The OC Register:
"More generally, if the Lyle opinion is allowed to stand, any Californian whose job involves dealing with controversial matters that raise issues potentially offensive to some people -- AIDS education, abortion counseling (pro or con), civil rights and affirmative action and much more---will be at risk of a harassment lawsuit. The only out provided for defendants by the California Court of Appeals is to prove that any "offensive" comments are made "within 'the scope of necessary job performance,'" a determination that, as UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh notes, will necessarily involve vague and subjective perceptions of what speech is "necessary" to any particular job."

Nice thoughts, but NOT relevant to this lawsuit. I hardly think anyone whose job involves dealing with sensitive issues like abortion would be discussing how dried up their friends pussy was or refering to women as cunts and bitches or discussing whom they'd like to fuck up the butt!

And it doesnt stop at talking: the writers on "Friends"would constantly simulate masturbating not just once in a while, including sound effects like banging on tables; they would have colouring books with pussy and cocks colored in(how young were these guys -like 9??) ;they laughed when making up stories about rape and stalking( ahh yes that is truly something to laugh about-JERKS) and one writer made a calendar that stated rude and obsence things.

To boot, the writers insisted that Ms. Lyle NOT take notes about any of the lewd and obscene things being said because they had nothing to do with the show.

Does the OC Register get that??? These conversations had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SHOW!! They were IRRELEVANT to the context of this show!!!

So, not only do the writers involved admit have engaged in this lwed obscene and lascivious behavior, they also have admitted that this "brainstorming" is not relevant to the show.

The article in the OC ends by saying
" If the Justices of the California Supreme Court appreciate what makes its state, and its country, special and worthy, they will step in and correct the lower court's mistake. Real friends don't let friends censor Friends"

Since when does preventing a group of married horney men speaking in this derogatory insulting manner about women, actors, gay men, sex, and sharing daily their sexual fantasies, preferences, and talent at being able to black out parts of a sentence so that only the word PENIS is left, constitute CENSORSHIP????

Especially when those writers admitted it had no relevance to the show!!
What or who are we censoring here?

If these guys worked on a childrens show,would they be able to use this same absurd argument: discussing their fantasy of having anal sex with one of the child stars would land them in jail.

Real friends do not let other friends use bullshit excuses like "creative brainstorming" to justify and protect this kind of lewd and lascivious behavior.

And neither should the California Supreme Court!!

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude by any means. I can start a conversation about The Book of Revelations and then seque into rimjobs without batting an eyelash. I'm used to lewd, raunchy conversations with guys -the kind of convos that would make a Marine blush-but if I was with a group of friends and they felt uncomfortable about the language and choice of topic...I would respect that and tone things down.

Should I consider that being censored?

Should I scream about my first amendment rights being violated?

The law in California specifically states that CONTEXT is important.There was no context for this kind of perpetual daily conversation and the enviroment created by it.

"Friends"is not a porn show and in terms of its script content and themes "Friends" is not "Sex and The City" or "Will and Grace" or "The Sopranos" .

I'm pretty confident in saying that those kind of conversations never really took place on these shows either. But frankly they'd be far more understandable in light of the themes of those shows- but only within reason. Context is very important, and the Calif. state laws are clear on that point!

It should be noted that not ALL the writers are included in this lawsuit. Ms Lyle identified three in particular who were the most offensive. In sworn affadivits they did not deny the behavior nor the sexual tone of the constant "brainstorming" conversations.



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