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Comedian Iliza Shlesinger sued for allegedly barring men from show

By Sophia Eppolito Globe Correspondent 

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger is facing a discrimination lawsuit for advertising her comedy show in Los Angeles as “No Boys Allowed.” The plaintiff’s attorney argues that barring men from the show violated California law.

George St. George, the plaintiff in the case, bought a ticket to Shlesinger’s Nov. 13 “Girls Night in With Iliza” show at Largo at the Coronet. According to the suit, which was filed Dec. 22, St. George and a male friend attempted to enter the club. At first they were able to sit in the back row, but they claim they were later denied entry and offered a refund.

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“[Shlesinger’s] show repudiated hundreds of years of women’s struggles to be viewed as being equal to men and is typical of old-fashioned sexism that might also advise a young woman that her best chance for a happy life is to ace her home economics class and learn how to make a queso dip from Velveeta to catch a good man,” the suit states.

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The lawsuit alleges that Shelsinger, an Emerson College alum, violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act of 1959, which provides for “full and equal accommodations” to all businesses regardless of race, sex, religion, and disability. The suit also references a California Supreme Court case titled Koire v. Metro Car Wash (1985) that found ladies’ night discounts violate the Unruh Act.

Unruh Act violations are punishable by a $4,000 fine, plus attorneys’ fees. Businesses that are sued under the act typically reach an out-of-court settlement rather than face the expense of litigation.

St. George has been the plaintiff of several other discrimination suits against bars and other public establishments that offer ladies’ nights. His attorney, Alfred Rava, has also made a reputation for filing these kinds of suits.

In 2015, Rava told CNN he had filed 150 complaints accusing California businesses of violating the Unruh Act. In 2006, he filed suit against the Oakland A’s for sex discrimination when the team gave out floppy plaid hats to women during a baseball game just before Mother’s Day.

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“At no time should an entertainer or an entertainment venue require female patrons or male patrons sit in the back of the theater based solely on their sex,” Rava told Variety.

Shlesinger released a statement to the Globe through her publicist.

“Since this is a legal matter, I’m unable to comment to the specifics of this lawsuit,” the statement read. “I will say that of the many shows I do throughout the year, Girls Night In was a singular evening that encouraged women to get together, talk and laugh about the things we go through as well as donate some money to Planned Parenthood. It’s unfortunate that this has now become an issue.”

Correction: Because of reporting errors, an earlier version of this story incorrectly detailed a lawsuit Alfred Rava was involved in. The lawsuit was filed in 2006, not 2009. The game in question took place the day before Mother’s Day, not on Mother’s Day. Plaid floppy hats were passed out to attendees, not baseball hats.


Sophia Eppolito can be reached at sophia.eppolito@globe.com
Follow her on Twitter @SophiaEppolito.