Hollywood Sexist of the Day: Lee Aronsohn

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by Melissa Silverstein
April 3, 2012 11:30 AM
14 Comments
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At first when I read this I thought it was an April fools joke because I had never heard of Lee Aronsohn before and had no idea that he was a co-creator of Two and a Half Men.

I'm guessing that Mr. Aronsohn would like to retreat back to his anonymity because he is sure now well known as a total sexist asshole.  Seems that this past weekend while at a Toronto screenwriting conference Mr. Aronsohn was asked about Ashton Kutcher returning to the show (which I have never had one single bit of interest in watching) and he said that all that needed to be handled was for CBS to basically show him the money.

He then went further and talked about how he is not a fan of the several new girl centric shows like Whitney and 2 Broke Girls.  Here's what he said:

Enough, ladies. I get it. You have periods...we’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation.

Personally, I'm not a fan of either show myself.  I gave them both a chance and didn't like them.  But not because women gets periods or have vaginas.  Because of the writing. 

Maybe he's realizing that he created a show whose time is over and he's pushing back against the changing tide, or maybe he's just a sexist asshole.  I vote for the latter because he basically said the show was based on men who have been damaged by women.  Can you imagine a woman walking into a pitch meeting and saying- this show is about women who have been damaged by men.  The guys in the room would never stand for that.  And let's note, this man is a TV writing vet who worked on such women centric fare as Murphy Brown, Grace Under Fire and Cybill.  I know those shows had lead characters with vaginas and on Murphy Brown she had a baby and I think I remember Cybill going through menopause.  Maybe he's kept his anti-vagina feelings bottled up all these years and just couldn't hold it in any longer.

Here's what he said about the basis of the show:

We're centering the show on two very damaged men. What makes men damaged? Sorry, it’s women. I never got my heart broken by a man.

Thanks to the folks at the Hollywood Reporter these remarks were recorded and the media women in the blogosphere rightfully went nuts yesterday.  That's the great thing about social media.  Total assholes who many years ago would never have had to apologize for being total assholes now have to apologize even if they don't mean it. 

After getting his ass kicked on twitter all day yesterday (and adding to it by saying he was being ironic) Aronsohn apologized.  Not that we believe it.  He said: "Yes, yes – it was a stupid joke. I’m sorry"

The problem with this whole incident is the continuing devaluing of women's experiences as fodder for TV shows.  I'm just disgusted that people still think this way and then are so stupid, or I guess it's not stupidity, it's a sense of entitlement, that makes them say this shit out loud.  

The good thing is that these dudes can't get away with this anymore.  We are watching and we won't let this stuff pass.  This show has been a train wreck for years.  It's a total embarrassment.  CBS and Chuck Lorre need to make a comment about how this behavior is unacceptable.

Ashton Kutcher Wants to Return for Another 'Two and a Half Men' Season, Says Show Co-Creator (Hollywood Reporter)

Two and a Half Men’ Co-Creator Is Rebuked For Remarks About Women (NY Times)

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14 Comments

  • me | May 4, 2012 2:29 AMReply

    Instead of just stopping the horrible new show 2.5Men without Charlie Sheen, Lee stepped down as showrunner...the stories continue to say because of his comments against women...who knows, he sounds burned out...Good article, like Oprah would say, when people show you who they are believe them...I like you said asshole...totally....I never could work with him...I can't believe CBS is going to renew the mess for one more season...it just gives me one more reason not to watch tv. I'd like to see him and Ashley Judd in a room talking about how great women are at everything...

  • Kathy | April 4, 2012 10:33 PMReply

    Thanks for writing this article, Melissa. And thanks for managing this website.

  • OMG | April 4, 2012 7:40 PMReply

    Linn, get a sense of humor...tail and horns is supposed to be funny, you must be a drama writer...

  • Linn | April 5, 2012 12:39 PM

    Actually, I'm a comedy writer. And have learned the hard way that there's a line that can be crossed in an attempt to be humorous. Being mean, while sometimes funny, is a very dangerous tool. It often hides racism, anger, fear, etc. And I've come to the conclusion consequently that even jokes can make situations worse. (like I said, I've learned the hard way) I believe women want equal rights, we don't want to be the new "bully" in town.

  • Lees a pig | April 4, 2012 7:37 PMReply

    Melissa GREAT article..you tell it like it is sister....

  • Anna V | April 4, 2012 9:23 AMReply

    I have a feeling Mr. Aronsohn never had an encounter with "labia saturation" that he didn't have to pay for.

    I personally think this was just a very creative way to come out of the closet. He's sick of women and has reached his vagina threshold, then he must be moving on to men right? Is that just a sensational way of telling us all he's gay now, right? Welcome to the parade, Lee!

  • Lee should be fired. | April 4, 2012 8:38 AMReply

    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/03/misogyny-bubble

    Women should inspire other women to greatness!

    Our Deepest Fear - Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  • budmin | April 6, 2012 6:05 PM

    Lee is a producer his show could be canceled but he'll still produce more shows. What does it say about you that you're so controlling that someone who doesn't share your opinions must never find employment?

  • not laughing | April 4, 2012 8:25 AMReply

    When the reruns are better than the current season, it's time to say bye bye bye..
    These clips show who is the brains behind 2.5Men...Lee was just hanging on to Chuck's coat tails, if it wasn't for Lorre, Lee would still need dental insurance for his kids..so the story goes..
    I bet behind the scenes, no one like Lee...I agree, Lee seems very, very misogynistic...I bet when he walks in a room, everyone bails out...

    http://emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/chuck-lorre

  • BTU | April 4, 2012 8:16 AMReply

    Two and a Half Men should not get renewed with pigs as producers. Overpaid, slobs....not watchable...Great article...no wonder the Los Angeles Writers Guild recently had a lawsuit against ALL major studios, writers over age 40 couldn't get jobs and are now in settlements. Producers like this that plain and simple get in power positions and your right, total assholes... At least he is showing his true self, I bet he has a tail and horns...

  • Linn | April 4, 2012 11:54 AM

    @BTU: Umm, I hate to break it to you, but Mr. Aronsohn IS a writer. The majority of producers on TV shows (unlike film) ARE writers. That's why TV is called the writers medium. And while I think Mr. Aronsohn is an idiot, I think it's going a bit far to suggest he has "a tail and horns." I'm a woman, and I don't like his behavior, but I feel two wrongs do not make a right. If we start acting like idiots in response to his idiotic behavior, well, where does that get us?

  • OMG | April 4, 2012 8:10 AMReply

    You are sooo right Lee is a pig...his new show with Ashton sucks...

  • Del B. | April 4, 2012 2:21 AMReply

    What a sleaze ball. He's empowered, impossible and misogynistic. Women should simply boycott the show.

  • Tim | April 3, 2012 2:58 PMReply

    Great piece. What about Peter Roth at WBTV who has stood behind Charlie Sheen and his lunatic, woman hating behavior without comment until it was hurting his pocketbook. Same goes with Nina Tassler and Les Moonves at CBS. They will support these hateful Chuck Lorre shows like Two and a Half Men no matter how sexist the writing and what the creators and stars say because it's a cash cow for them. It's all about money with WBTV and CBS. They will only care about females if female viewers stop watching their shows. Lee Aronson has been awarded for his lame writing and sexist drivel his entire career. Rush finally crossed the line and women spoke up. If women don't speak up then WBTV, CBS, Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronson assume it's all good. Very good.

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