Much has been made about late night television being a boys club – from “The Daily Show” to “The Late Show with David Letterman,” multiple shows have endured accusations of sexism – so it comes as something of a surprise that one late night host is now embroiled in a lawsuit charging the opposite.
A former staffer on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” is accusing the popular host of “gender bias” in a lawsuit filed in New York, saying he was fired from his job because Fallon “prefers to take direction from a woman” and that he was replaced by a “totally incompetent woman,” according to papers obtained by TMZ. Paul Tarascio, the first stage manager on Fallon’s NBC show, claims he isn’t the only man to have lost his position because of Fallon’s lady-preferring ways, alleging audio technicians and a prop-master were also replaced by women at the host’s request.
NBC has not responded to the lawsuit at this time, but last year, when Tarascio filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New York Division of Human Rights relating to the same issue, the network said, “Any claim of sexual discrimination is without merit.”
The suit comes just weeks after David Letterman’s comedy booker Eddie Brill was fired after making disparaging remarks about female comics in a New York Times profile. (For its part, “Late Show” execs say Brill was let go for “speaking to the press without authorization” and not his opinion.”) Last summer, feminist blog Jezebel investigated what it referred to as “The ’Daily Show’s’ Woman Problem” and spoke with multiple former staffers, many of whom alleged the show was a “boys club” that cycled quickly through the few female employees it hired and created a “frustrating and alienating experience” for them while they were there.