In today's environment, as a female professional, it is incredibly disconcerting that two women, Stana Katic and Tamala Jones, were fired for budgetary cuts.
I tweeted that sentence on Friday, April 22, and within a day, my timeline was flooded with retweets, favorites, and responses. The common theme: Where is the outrage and widespread coverage? This is 2016, Hollywood preaches progress to all their constituents, cries afoul when the rest of the country isn't up to date on their "progressive" causes, and yet where is the discrimination happening? Answer: Hollywood is Ground Zero.
In February, Channing Dungey was named entertainment president at ABC. The first female president of one of the most powerful companies in the country. That seemed like a step in the right direction for women in the workplace. But as of last week, two women were fired from a show they had been on for eight seasons. Last week news also broke of longtime morning tv host Kelly Ripa being blindsided by ABC with the news of Michael Strahan's departure. Ripa has been with ABC in some capacity since 1990.
The constant in these scenarios: ABC, women, and utter disrespect.
Stana Katic and Tamala Jones were "expendable". Kelly Ripa was not considered enough to be in on the conversation. When you have a female president of a company sending the message that two women were fired from a show for budgetary reasons, you ARE sending the message that women are expendable in the workplace.
I suspect the likes of Stana, Tamala, and Kelly will do just fine. They are intelligent, talented, respected women who have had great success and will likely continue on that trend. They have handled the situation with class and grace and have chosen to not speak publicly out about what transpired, as is their prerogative. But what about the women not fortunate enough to be in that position? What about the young female assistant in the workplace who is treated differently than the men? What about the fact that the only job opportunity she is offered is as an assistant, instead of lighting director, set designer, or producer?
The precedent this sets is for women to keep quiet. Handle the adversity with grace and class and maybe, if you do that, the issue will pass and you'll have another opportunity elsewhere.
But I'm not ok with that and you shouldn't be either. Some of the worst sexism doesn't come from men, but from women who don't want to see other women succeed. As if there isn't enough room in the workplace for all of us (however, statistics may suggest just that). But guess what, women are NOT a minority. Women make up HALF of the population. So it's time that our voice starts to sound like half of the population as well.
If there were legitimate reasons for not renewing the contracts of Stana Katic and Tamala Jones, none that have been given make sense. For a show with no backstory other than "Castle" and "Beckett", not having "Beckett" makes absolutely no sense. People are not stupid. They say don't always believe what you read on the internet, but when it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it is probably a duck. The duck in this case is expendable women. And as many in the public relations industry know, perception is reality. The reality out there right now is that a company with a female president fired two female stars, without the courtesy of negotiations to renew their contracts, while the fate of the men on the show has yet to be decided. But the women's fates sure are. That fate considered them nonessential, disposable, replaceable, and unnecessary.
UPDATE: It has been reported that Nathan Fillion, Seamus Dever, and Jon Huertas have signed contracts to appear should there be a Season 9.
Budget cuts, eh?
Where is the outrage? Where is the support from SAG-AFTRA, the nations largest labor union representing working performers? It is time for the voice of women to start sounding like the population they represent. Send a message to Channing Dungey, ABC, and their advertisers that it is the year 2016, not 1919. Women will not stand for such disparate treatment of females in the workplace.
It is a privilege for you to be invited to our home every night. ABC has taken a show that has been in the homes of viewers for eight years, taken a female character with morals, ethics and strength of conviction and has ousted her for a show with a womanizing man. What do you stand for ABC?
Wake up Hollywood. All eyes are on you.
I encourage you to sign this petition and have the voice of women heard.
Link to ABC advertisers ---> click here
"In an industry that is seriously lacking new interesting roles for women, they've managed to erase one of the few that already existed." – Kate Jones, Unproduced Feminist Screenwriter