Wednesday, October 6, 2010

CHANGE IT: Leno's Oral Sex Joke about Christine O'Donnell

This is getting old. You just heard from us about a radio show's endorsement of a candidate's "tight little butt," but sexism doesn't sleep - and sometimes it's broadcast late at night.

On Friday night, during an interview with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, Tonight Show host Jay Leno made an oral sex joke about Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell.  Referring to previous comments made by MacFarlane, Leno asked:

"I see you on my friend Bill Maher's show and [...] you were talking about this Christine O'Donnell, you know, the anti-masturbation woman who is running for Senate [...] and you said you would enjoy having sexual relations with this woman?"

When MacFarlane responded with

 "the second she opened her mouth, it would probably ruin everything," Leno quipped "Or make it really good." 

While MacFarlane's statements to Bill Maher were harmful to women candidates, we are especially concerned that Leno sanctioned and furthered the joke.

Our campaign has been reaching out to the Tonight Show to discuss how these harmful remarks perpetuate the inequitable political environment in which women run for office, and we've sent e-mails, made phone calls, and left messages. But so far, we haven't gotten a response.

This is why we need your help to email the Tonight Show to ask them to sign our Equality Pledge, and to apologize for sexualized jokes that diminish all women candidates.

The Name It. Change It. Campaign knows that sexism in the media is one of the top problems facing women candidates. Sexist media coverage has a proven negative impact on voters' likelihood to vote for women candidates, and it further perpetuates the inequitable political environment experienced by women. This is why we need your help to hold outlets accountable when they cover women candidates unfairly.

Will you email The Tonight Show today?

Many thanks for your support,

The Name It. Change It. Team

A collaborative campaign between WCF Foundation, Women's Media Center, and Political Parity, Name It. Change It. works to end sexist and misogynistic coverage of women candidates by all members of the press--from bloggers to radio hosts to television pundits.

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