If you think women in power are exempt from blatant examples of sexism and misogyny, I’m here to tell you that they’re not. Even the most famous women in Hollywood — and the most powerful — have their own tales of terrible sexism that they have faced throughout their careers. Take Tina Fey for example, a woman who clearly is on top of her game, an outspoken feminist and a self-appointed Bossypants, is the last person I would think has to deal with other people’s sexist bullshit. So when Fey admitted to Howard Stern on Monday morning that one member of the SNL cast had called her a cunt when she was the head writer, I was completely shocked. But when she later let it slip that that cast member was Colin Quinn (and when Colin Quinn later confirmed the story via Twitter), a picture of what women really face in the work force quickly snapped into place.
Even the most powerful women in the office — Fey, in this case, who was Colin Quinn’s boss at the time — are susceptible to overt misogyny at work. Because I think it’s safe to say that Colin Quinn’s use of profanity was just that.
The story came out on Howard Stern’s Siruis XM radio show when the actress stopped by the promote her new film, Sisters. During her interview, Fey talked about how a former cast mate had left a voicemail for her in which he called her the C-word. Ladies and gentlemen, please never call anyone the C-word — especially not your boss.
Common sense, no?
Apparently not to Quinn, who confirmed via Twitter that the story Fey told was true. “Statement: It’s all true,” Quinn tweeted. “I have used profanity when I’ve been angry at people. When I was wrong (as with Tina) I’ve said sorry to them.”
Well, at least he owned up to it? Still, the bad blood between them apparently continued for quite some time. Fey went on to say that she asked Quinn to be on 30 Rock three times. He turned her down every single time. Yikes.
Even though these cast members have put the past behind them — Fey said later in the interview that she and Quinn reconnected at SNL’s 40th — it’s such a stark example of what women face in the workplace. Here is a woman who is literally the boss. As head writer, there’s no one above Tina Fey other than Lorne Michaels himself, and still she faced blatant misogyny. Would Colin Quinn have responded to a male head writer in the same way? One can never know for sure, but it’s clear from this story that even when women are at the top of their game, they still face overt and not-so-overt mistreatment because of their gender.
I’m happy to hear that Tina Fey and Colin Quinn have since reconciled, but let this be a reminder to all of us that we have a long way to go until misogyny is eradicated. I just hope people keep sharing these stories and building awareness until it’s gone for good.