Two cases on either side of the pond puts equality in the spotlight

February 2018

Live events sector


 Female comedian Iliza Shlesinger is being sued in the US by a male patron who was turned away from her “Girls’ Night In with Iliza – No Boys Allowed” comedy show in Los Angeles. George St. George says he and a friend bought tickets to the show on November 13th through the Largo website. They arrived at the will-call window early, and were given their tickets but told they would need to sit in the back. After returning after a drink they were then told that Shlesinger and the theatre had decided not to allow entry because it was, as advertised, a women-only show, and that they would be refunded for their tickets.

The event page on the Largo website says “Iliza is bringing her girls invited only show back to Los Angeles “Girls’ Night In is a hybrid stand up show and interactive discussion between Iliza and the women in the audience aimed at giving women a place to vent in a supportive, fun and inclusive environment. She invites women of all walks of life to come, laugh with her and at her and be ready to share and feel safe for an awesome night of comedy and love.”

St. George has brought his action against Shlesinger, The Largo at The Coronet, theatre owner Mark Brian Flanagan, and Shlesinger’s booking agent United Talent Agency for violation of several California civil codes prohibiting discrimination as well as for negligence. The lawsuit also cites Koire v Metro Car Wash (1985), which found that “sex-based promotions” such as discounts at bars for “ladies’ night” are violations of state civil rights law and equate to sexual discrimination.

The plaintiff is seeking to prevent the Defendants from “engaging in unequal treatment of consumers based on the consumers’ sex”, and for the defendants to “undergo sensitivity training regarding sex discrimination”, “statutory damages pursuant to Civil Code section 52”, “costs, including attorneys’’ fees”, and “other and further legal and equitable relief.”

The 21 year old plaintiff told reporters “For any business or any individual in the year 2017, in the progressive state of California, to provide or aid in providing accommodations, advantages, privileges, or services to only females as Defendants did here, is as repugnant and unlawful as a business or an individual being involved in a “Caucasian Night” or a “Heterosexual Night” and providing admission, entertainment, and other accommodations, advantages, privileges, or services to only white or heterosexual patrons, respectively”.

Rolling Stone reports that St. George has filed previous suits challenging “ladies nights” and his attorney Alfred Rava had served as secretary of the National Coalition for Men, a not-for-profit group that attempts to highlight false rape accusations and the “myth” that men don’t do their fair share of housework. Reports say that Rava had made it clear he was he is no longer a member of the group.


In the United Kingdom, a deaf woman is bringing a legal actin against Newark on Trent-based promoter LHG Live after there was no sign-language interpreter provided for the two support acts at a Little Mix show. IQ reports that LHG Live had provided Sally Reynolds and two friends (also deaf) with a British sign language (BSL) interpreter for the concert, held at the South of England Event Centre in Ardingly, Sussex, on the 1st September 2017 after Reynolds applied for a High Court injunction. However, the show also featured two support acts: fElla Eyre and the Germein Sisters and Reynolds says no interpreter was provided for those, with  Reynolds telling the BBC that while she felt she and her daughter, who is able to hear, “were really part of the Little Mix experience”, because the show was “so good” she realised afterwards that “we had missed out on the first two acts”, who were not signed, “so it was very much a disparity of experience compared with everyone else.” 

Under the Equality Act 2010, any organisation supplying a service to the public is under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that a disabled person’s experience is as close as possible to that of someone without a disability. Reynolds’s solicitor, Chris Fry, said “It is important that venues and promoters recognise that the legal duties to make reasonable adjustments extend to them”

Responding to a BBC report, LHG Live says it would have been impossible to provide an interpreter for the support acts, being that they were only announced 10 days before the Little Mix show – far short of the minimum time it would take for an interpreter to learn the lyrics (four to six weeks). In addition to the interpreter, the promoter supplied Reynolds’s party with a full schedule in advance, including running order; upgraded their tickets to golden circle; provided access to private toilet facilities; and ensured all public announcements were made solely on giant screens either side of the main stage, to “ensure 100% accessibility”.

A spokesperson for Little Mix says the band “strongly believe their concerts should be completely inclusive for all. The band welcome all fans to their shows, including those with hearing impairment, and encourage the promoters they work with to make provisions to ensure their fans can enjoy the concert experience.”

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