Variety Ripped for Failing to Invite More Women to Writers’ Room Event: ‘Unconscious Bias and Misogyny’

Frederique Constant CEO Peter Stas speaks onstage during the Variety and UN Women's panel discussion on gender equality at 68th Cannes Film Festival at Radisson Blu on May 16, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for Variety)
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for Variety

Variety, one of Hollywood’s most influential trade publications, is being raked over the coals with social media users blasting the outlet for failing to invite female writers to an event meant to highlight the industry’s top talent.

“On behalf of Variety, we apologize for the egregious oversight regarding the lack of female writers participating in our upcoming A Night in the Writers’ Room event,” read a tweet from Variety’s official Twitter account. “We hear you loud and clear, and are currently working on rectifying our mistake.”

The June 14 event, titled, A Night in the Writer’s Room, is set to feature two panel discussions with comedy and drama show writers. Of the ten showrunners participating in the event, only one listed was a woman.

The Post screenwriter Liz Hannah tweeted a program of the upcoming event.

The male-dominant Variety panel was met with fury from several social media users, many of them women who couldn’t believe how the prestigious paper could allow the “oversight” to occur. 

Hannah volunteered to organize a more female-involved panel, to which the Writers Guilds Foundation offered to help.

Actress Busy Philipps tweeted the names of several women who she said could be asked to join the panel.

Executive producer and screenwriter Amy Berg tweeted the hashtag #TimesUP and #FuckThisNoise.

Other social media users took to Twitter to ask some pointed questions about how Variety didn’t think to involve more women in the first place.

“The problem is until women told you on Twitter that you left women writers out of the event you never would have noticed,” one user argued. “This blatant exclusion was fine. The unconscious bias and misogyny of your editors and employees says so much about your publication.”

“Why did it take a twitter backlash to see the error of your ways?” asked one user. “‘Oversight is what you call this omission of female writers! How was this possible? Shame on you!”

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson