Unfriendly Case About “Friends”

Just when you thought that both judicial wackiness and assaults on our freedom could not get any worse, there’s a recent case in California that will blow your mind.

A woman named Amaani Lyle was hired by Warner Brothers Television
Productions as a writing assistant on the popular TV show “Friends.”
Specifically, she was to type dictation at writers’s conferences at
which the sitcom writers would discuss their ideas for future episodes.
Since “Friends” is about sex, sex and sex, she heard a lot of talk about sex.
As it happened, Lyle was incompetent at her job and four months later, she
was fired.

Stung by her job loss, she decided to get even with her employers by suing
them for “sexual harrassment.” According to her lawyers, taking dictation
concerning a sex-obsessed TV show was simply too much for poor little
Amaani to take.

The California Court of Appeal has ruled in the case of Lyle v. Warner
Brothers Television Productions et al. (Lyle)
that yes indeed taking dictation from perverted sitcom writers is sexual harrassment. This is especially strange since some of those writers were other women. The case has been appealed to the California Supreme Court.

If this bizarre ruling is not overturned by either the state supreme court or by
the U.S. Supreme Court, then this case could have frightening consequences
for free speech nationwide in all walks of life. According to the
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) , this case could have
especially chilling consequences for free speech on campus. According to
FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff, “this would have a particularly devastating impact at
colleges and universities, where bizarre definitions of ‘harassment’ already
are commonly used as an excuse for stifling the free expression of various
points of view.”

As Virginia Postrel put it, “If sit-com writers can’t tell off-color jokes, nobody is safe.”

2 thoughts on “Unfriendly Case About “Friends””

  1. Do you realize that FIRE happens to be a right-wing, conservative organization? Do some homework, and you will see that FIRE and the NAS are fringe organizations in academia funded by right-wing donors. They are mainly concerned about protecting the “free speech” of conservatives. That is, they habitually advocate for the right to be racist, sexist and anti-feminist without having to account for their perspectives in universities.

    There is more to the case than meets the eye. Do some research, and you will see.

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