Female comedian sued by man for holding women-only show he wasn't allowed to attend

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger performs onstage during ELLE Women In Comedy event on 7 June 2016 in Los Angeles: Mike Windle/Getty Images for ELLE
Comedian Iliza Shlesinger performs onstage during ELLE Women In Comedy event on 7 June 2016 in Los Angeles: Mike Windle/Getty Images for ELLE

A comedian is being sued after she refused to let men into one of her Los Angeles shows.

Iliza Shlesinger is being sued by a 21-year-old man called George St. George who was turned away from her "Girls Night in with Iliza — No Boys Allowed" on 13 November on the grounds that the decision violated California gender discrimination laws and business code - a "war on men" the complaint alleged.

According to the venue's description of the event, it was meant to be 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."

It advises women attending to "be ready to share and feel safe for an awesome night of comedy and love."

Mr St George and his male friend were reportedly initially told that they would be let in only if they agreed to be sat in the back row "because of their sex," according to court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

The pair went to get food but on their return to the Largo at The Cornet venue, Mr St George and his attorney Alfred Rava alleged that management and the comedian decided not to let any men in to the show that evening and that they would be refunded the $30 (£22) ticket price.

The 14-page complaint began with a quote from George Orwell's Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

He went on to write that Ms Schlesinger's actions did not differ from having separate "Caucasian Night" or "Heterosexual Night". The complaint went as far to compare Mr St George and his friend's treatment to how Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus reserved for whites.

Mr Rava wrote: "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."

The attorney called the female-only programme "typical of old-fashioned sexism" because it reinforced that gender separation is the best option. He wrote that not admitting men to the show was akin to "advising 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."

The venue and Ms Schlesinger's representation at United Talent Agency were named as co-defendants in the suit as well.

Ms Schlesinger, also the author of a book called Girl Logic, has not yet responded to a request for comment.

A similar uproar occurred when the Alamo Drafthouse theatre in Austin, Texas attempted to host a female-only screening of the blockbuster film "Wonder Woman" earlier this year. After official complaints had been filed with the city, the theatre did allow any male ticket holders to attend the special screening.