“Standing Up To Sexual Harassment And Assault In L.A.’s Comedy Scene”

“Stelling and Pauroso are not alone. Stelling’s Instagram post had barely been up before the members of a private Facebook group for women in the L.A. comedy community identified Hartmann by name and began discussing next steps. For nearly two years, Facebook groups like this one have been a place for the city’s female improvisers, sketch performers, and stand-up comedians to vent about how sexism is intertwined with professional opportunity. Last year, they decided to do more than talk — they started naming names, and they got results.
At least three men whom they accused of sexual harassment and assault are no longer allowed at some of Los Angeles’s most prominent theaters. One comic is facing a police investigation. Another man’s reputation was so thoroughly destroyed that he had to move back to his Midwestern hometown.
When women share unfiltered information, it’s often called gossip, or, even worse, a witch hunt. But there’s been a cultural shift in recent years, from college campuses to the military, where women have taken advantage of new platforms to speak freely and publicly instead of depending on the so-called proper procedures that have let them down — and institutions have been forced to listen. Some call it groundbreaking feminist organizing. Others call it mob justice. Either way, that sea change has reached the comedy community, and it has raised tough questions about who is responsible for addressing sexual misconduct in a business where sexism has long been a barrier to women’s success…
Members of the “Women of UCB” Facebook group told BuzzFeed News they felt pressure to ignore annoying or even abusive behavior if they wanted to succeed — for example, if a guy in class “completely ignores your entire premise and turns you into a prostitute,” Carrie Keranen said. Lauri Roggenkamp recalled one improv scene during a class at UCB where a man simulated sex with her so aggressively that he forced her leg up and ripped her jeans. “If you complain about it, you’re not viewed as a team player,” she said…
“Guys in this community were like, ‘Oh, you’re going to use this group to start a witch hunt,” Ippolito said, “but it’s only a witch hunt if the witches don’t exist.””
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