Aspiring Screenwriter Receives Vulgar 'Joke' About Her Work Because, Duh, She's a Woman

You have to be freaking kidding me. It's well known that women aren't as successful in Hollywood as their male counterparts, but this is the perfect example of the stereotype playing out. A female screenwriter was told that her script could be porn recently, and believe it or not, the criticism came from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


That would be the exact same organization behind the Oscars, just in case you were wondering. The Academy Awards. Those people. Just making it clear.

Anyway, a mere 15 percent of screenwriters in the business are female, according to a 2015 Women's Media Center report, which is all kinds of sad, especially when you consider movies like Amy Schumer's Trainwreck.

Because originality is apparently lacking in Tinseltown, the Academy put out a contest for potential screenwriters, and they got a front-runner in Rachel Koller, who penned a story about a young lady's divorce, titled The Big D.

The script advanced to the quarterfinals of the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, which is an organization to identify new and promising screenwriters. It was a tremendous honor for her to get that far, but she was soon hit back by the moguls.

She received feedback from one Academy reader, who commented, "With some judicious alterations, [the script] might make a decent porn picture, as the gals do seem kinda hot, at least on the page."

I'm sorry, what? Not one to take things lying down, Koller went to the organization's Facebook page and said that the comment was "sexist," and not "helpful in any way, shape or form."

She wrote, "While I happily accept notes both good and bad on my work, this reader's notes ... seemed wildly inappropriate, offensive and sexist to say the least ... considering the current climate we're in with women writers in Hollywood, I wanted to bring this to your attention."

And that's when the real trouble began. A representative for the Academy wrote her back, and said, "I'm sorry you were upset by the comment," and asked her to share the title of her work, because apparently The Big D is just totally beyond raunchy and therefore must be a porno. Also, the rep said that the comment had been a joke, even though it fell flat.

Koller responded on the social media site, "I'm obviously well aware of the double entendre (the script is about divorce) ... but I still think the 'joke' was in poor taste in general, much less for a contest of this caliber." 

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The rep for the site continued to push back against Koller, saying things like: "Title of script plus raunchy female-driven broad comedy led the reader to attempt a bad joke to make a final point."

"It's a script titled The Big D," the rep from the Academy wrote. "It's a raunchy, sexy comedy featuring 'beautiful' and 'stunning' female friends and a divorce begun with the placement of a dental tool where the sun doesn't shine -- without, according to this reader, enough story. I don't think [the] joke works -- but I believe the reader was trying to close out the comments with something that echoed the script's title."

Look, as long as we have films like The Hangover and Hot Tub Time Machine, it's beyond unfair to call the female versions of those pornography. It's attitudes like these that keep women from following their dreams in Hollywood. This screenplay may be awesome, or it may be terrible, but calling it porn, and then defending that supposition, is beyond the pale.


Image via © Debby Wong/Corbis

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