Jon Stewart deftly wicks away antagonism. His skill with socially-conscious satire allows him to handle weighty political issues, while his status as a half-baked comedian frees him from being burdened by them. On the Progressive Left, he’s been all-but-beatified for embracing liberal values and acting as a counterweight to Fox News.
This is why there was a major splash when he was recently accused of running a sexist work environment. The accusations come from an article at Jezebel – a women’s interest blog – which opens by stating that The Daily Show (TDS) is a “boys’ club where women’s contributions are often ignored and dismissed.” Specifically, Jezebel highlights the lack of female correspondents and writers, while suggesting that off-air Jon Stewart is testy, or, in his words: “Jezebel thinks I’m a sexist prick.”
The female employees at TDS responded, noting that, while the on-air talent is predominately male, 40% of the show’s total staff is female. They were adamant in their defense of Stewart. “Jon has worked hard to create an environment where people feel respected and valued regardless of their gender or position,” they said.
From these exchanges, it’s difficult to determine much about the actual work environment at TDS. Jezebel’s article cites disgruntled former staffers, while the response comes from employees who have a vested interest in staying employed.
One of those is newly-hired ‘correspondent,’ Olivia Munn, whose career has included (non-nude) photo shoots for Playboy and Maxim. “It’s hard not to conclude that looks mattered more for women than for men,” the article says. It’s ironic that Jezebel criticizes TDS for being sexist, while simultaneously belittling their newest female addition as eye candy.
But there’s another far more striking irony. Jezebel takes TDS to task for its scarcity of female writers/correspondents. But a review of the Jezebel staff (listed on the left of their page) reveals that the number of male writers/editors is quite low. Zero.
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