“Daily Show” Staffers Fight Sexism Claims

It appears that Jon Stewart and his band of merry newsmen, and women, aren’t immune to criticism.

In response to suggestions from “unnamed media outlets” that both Stewart and “The Daily Show” itself are sexist, over 30 female staffers who work for the satirical news program released an open letter this week to contest complaints about the on and off-screen make up of the show.

The missive, posted on “The Daily Show” website, opens with the salutation “Dear People Who Don’t Work Here,” before addressing the issue of their working conditions head on.

It reads in part:

“We must admit it is entertaining to be the subjects of such a vivid and dramatic narrative. However, while rampant sexism at a well-respected show makes for a great story, we want to make something very clear: the place you may have read about is not our office.

The Daily Show isn’t a place where women quietly suffer on the sidelines as barely tolerated tokens. On the contrary: just like the men here, we’re indispensable. We generate a significant portion of the show’s creative content and the fact is, it wouldn’t be the show that you love without us.”

According to the New York Times Arts Beat blog, the apparently unnamed outlet appears to be Gawker Network-owned women’s website, Jezebel. In a June 23 post on the site entitled, “The Daily Show’s Woman Problem,” writer Irin Carmon recounted interviews she conducted with former staffers of the show in which they suggested that the behind-the-scenes atmosphere was less than female friendly. They also pointed to the fact that the show has only one long time, on-air female correspondent, Samantha Bee.

Additionally, there have been accusations in the press that the show’s newest hire, “Attack of the Show!” host Olivia Munn, may have brought on more for her looks than her comic chops.

Stewart responded on air to the controversy on June 29 in characteristic style, but the letter was released in the hopes of tamping down the furor.

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