Court tosses out racial, sexual harassment lawsuit
There once was a scribe from Nantucket…Hollywood is working blue again, at least behind the scenes. The California Supreme Court ruled last week that workplace profanity and sexual jokes aren’t just OK, they’re part of the job — if you’re a TV writer. The Court tossed out a lawsuit filed by an assistant on “Friends,” filed in 2000, which claimed racial and sexual harassment because of the proliferation of profanity during script meetings. Writing for the court, Justice Marvin Baxter essentially gave sitcom writers all over town the greenlight to trot out their best dirty limericks and curse like sailors — as long as it’s not directed at any individual, and it’s in pursuit of sitcom-y nuggets of wit. Baxter wrote that the essence of sexual harassment is disparate treatment on the basis of sex. The mere discussion of sex or the use of vulgar language does not constitute harassment. Of course, while the creative cuffs are off in the writers’ room, scribes and producers still have to rein in what makes it to air. The FCC still has a thing or two to say about indecency there.