Are You Outraged?


Are reality TV gems like Are You Hot? stained with the blood of Hollywood writers story editors? AP reports:

Hollywood writers have filed a lawsuit against producers of TV reality shows, including The Bachelor, as well as several networks alleging violations of California's labor laws.

The suit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that writers, who work under a variety of titles including "story editor," have experienced "sweatshop" conditions, often working 80-hour weeks without overtime pay or breaks and meal periods required by law.

"What we're responding to is conditions that outrage the conscience," said Daniel Petrie Jr., president of the Writers Guild of America, west, which assisted the plaintiffs in filing the lawsuit.

Whole thing here.

Definition of sweatshop here.

NEXT: Zapruder's Children

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Can we decommission that word? I mean, really …

  2. You know, Jason, Newspeak is the only language in the world that’s getting smaller.

    Do you remember why? I’ll bet you do.

  3. Writers get paid by the hour?

  4. I thought they gave that stuff to the unpaid interns to write? People collect salaries for “writing” “reality” shows?

    That ain’t gonna last. There’s about 150,000 college graduates coming out every year who could do the same thing, and plenty of them have the means to work for free for a year or two, and would do “reality” tv writing just for kicks or as a resume-builder.

    These writer-plaintiffs are outta their frickin minds.

    Shitty Comment Alert: and if it takes you 80 hours to come up with dialogue for The Surreal Life you should be off flipping burgers anyway!!!

  5. Joe-

  6. joe:

    The unwritten rest of the thought was to start over again with a new word.

    There are two ways of thinking about the newspeak thing, though. How about instead of destroying words so that the range of thought is narrowed to politically acceptable lines, you just force politically expedient meaning onto every word you can find? Thus, for example, we get the freedom is slavery of the ‘liberal’, who supports very strong regulatory powers of a very strong central government. Eventually, while we haven’t destroyed a word, we have conflated meanings so that to be ‘liberal’ is to support broad regulatory programs and to be ‘progressive’ is to support the same. Progress and freedom = regulation, and no words were destroyed!

  7. Of course I’m outraged.

    I can’t believe those writers are working 80 hour weeks and the shows STILL SUCK!

    I guess if I had clicked on ‘Post’ a half hour ago this would have posted. Duh.

  8. “Writers” of reality shows are miserable? There is some justice after all…

  9. This is all, presumably, part of the WGA effort to get reality shows to admit they use _writers_ who do basically _script out_ these shows, thereby bringing said writers into the WGA fold.

    Yes, the rhetoric is overblown.

    But the effort directed towards calling writers writers rather than “script coordinators” or some such is, on the whole welcome.


  10. Can we decommission that word?

    Words are all we have. And words like sweatshop, terrorist, evil, anti-Semite, and racist give so much artifical leverage that they will always be abused. That “Godwin’s law” device doesn’t only apply to Hitler; it applies to any idea with a sufficiently negative connotation. It is like violence the refuge of the intellectually challenged.

    As an IT professional, I can say from experience that they are pussies and should shut the fuck up. We don’t get overtime and 80 hour weeks are common. Perspective: we sit on our asses and type.

  11. Cry me a motherfucking river. If you don’t like 80 hour weeks working on shitty “reality” shows, then quit and go work at the goddamned Armani Exchange, you assholes. I’d also love to know how much these cunts get paid to do this grueling work. Whatever it is, it’s too much. The Real Gilligan’s Island? That shit is so bad, the writers should really be paying money back to the producers.

  12. It takes 80 hours of work to write the cue for Lorenzo Lamas to laser point cellulite on some girl’s ass?

  13. Cry me a motherfucking river.

    Even in times of distress, you can always count on Evan Williams for sympathy. ^_^

  14. Hard to see why people are so angry at writers trying to self define and organize.

    Do y’all think the writers will be so successful as to flout antitrust laws in the end?

    Or do you secretly hate the writers’ freedom to contract as they see fit?

  15. I just thought of a really great idea: the Evan Williams Advice Hotline. It would be kind of like a cross between a psychology consulation call-in radio show, a pay-per-minute insult hotline (for people who get off on being berated), and a suicide hotline (although it would be more of a reverse-suicide hotline, whereby callers are actually encouraged to kill themselves).

    I would totally call it all the time, for reason #2: (I find his belligerence as funny as any of the better Friday Fun Links on H&R).

  16. Smacky,
    I believe that show is called “Dr. Laura.” Or perhaps, more recently, “Dr. Phil.”

  17. Dave W,

    “organize” is not the problem, and a part of the free (labor) market. Employees can organize, but of course Employers can’t – that would be a cartel. (of course unionizers are just beginning to see the consequences of their actions)

    The problem is the moniker “sweatshop” applied to everything. Cripes according to that criteria I work in a sweatshop, and I work for the government.

  18. Do y’all think the writers will be so successful as to flout antitrust laws in the end?

    Antitrust laws? Some big Hollywood conspiracy to keep writers under the thumb of mean old studios? C’mon…we just like ragging on whiners who don’t present a particularly compelling argument for why we should sympathize with them.

  19. “Hello, Dr. Evan Williams? I’ve really been depressed lately. My dog just died …”

    “Oh, cry me a fucking river! So there’s one less four-footed furry shit-producing machine roaming the streets. If you don’t like it, maybe I’ll come over and take a crap all over your lawn, just so you’ll feel a little less lonely.”

    “Thank you!”

    Hey Evan, are you the self-same Evan Williams of Blogger and Pyra Labs fame? If so, I salute you for your contributions to the medium we are currently using. Dinnae answer if it’s an intrusion upon your privacy.

    (smacky gets off on being berated? I must note this for possible future use. The audacious dirty little impudent trollop.)

  20. Ironchef,

    Organization only becomes a problem when it substantially violates the preconditions as set forth by Adam Smith.

    Two of these preconditions are: (1) many autonomous, independent suppliers; and (2) many autonomous, independent customers. Although the ideal is infinite number of suppliers and infinite number of customers, we don’t achieve this in practice, neither in Smith’s day, nor now. Although no economist, I would say that the proportion between the number of independent customers and independent suppliers matter.

    You can probably see where I am going with this . . . there is a lot more writers than television networks. I think that if there are any antitrust problems (that is, substantial violations of the preconditions I enumerated above) at all inhering in this situation, they are on the network side, not on the writer side.

    Tentatively I will put you down as an opponent of the writers’ freedom to contract because you seem to see no antitrust problem. Feel free to advise if this is incorrect.

  21. Stevo-
    Why does this surprise you? Don’t you remember that naughty thread where I called you a worm and told you to refer to me as “Mistress” Jennifer? Smacky said a few cute things then, too, if I recall.

    Oh, and just for old times’ sake–you’re a worthless miserable worm who isn’t worthy to lick my boots, but I’m making you do it anyway.

  22. These people are no more writers than Billy-bubba with the big number 3 on his back window is a race car driver. Although the activities are superficially similar, one actually takes a modicum of skill.

  23. MP,

    Freedom to contract is significant (tho not limitless), whether we’re talkin’ reality show writers, oil companies or even Reason staff writers. I shouldn’t have to remind a libertarian of this basic fact.

  24. The audacious dirty little impudent trollop.

    I am outraged.

  25. Smacky’s faking.

  26. there is a lot more writers than television networks

    There are a lot more people than there are businesses. That is an obvious and totally irrelevant point. If you are going to make anti-trust accusations, you’d best have some evidence beyond they all have similar practices regarding a particular issue. Anti-trust requires actual collusion. The fact that McDonald’s and Burger King both pay workers minimum wage does not mean they are colluding to prevent “freedom to contract”.

  27. Jennifer,

    That’s not the first time. 🙂

  28. Shhhhh, smacky, don’t admit that here! You want our “Libertarian Girls Gone Wild” to go bankrupt?

  29. Sorry, mistress. I hope I haven’t confounded our scheme. Should I assume the same postion again (for my punishment)?

    (And no, Stevo, you can’t watch.)

  30. Thank you, Jennifer, but I’m not really into dominatrix fantasies myself, since jumping backwards through hoops in order to cater to the cruel and capricious whims of my (mostly) female clients is pretty much what I do in real life.

    On the other hand…

    smacky: Shut your little mouth, or I can think of a dozen ways to shut it for you. And I’ll “outrage” you from cleft to clavicle, you impudent little wench-tart. Maybe the sting of leather across your smoothly rounded arse will teach you to keep to your place, you impertinent little sex-poodle.

    (I had to work that in, because I know that after you two set your Web site up, you’ll start charging me $4.99/minute to say stuff like that.)

  31. Oops, cross-post.


  33. And that reminds me of my top 5 all-time favorite lines from various porno movies:

    5) “That is SO inappropriate! This is a professional office! Put that back on, right now!”

    4) “Hey, what kind of audition IS this, anyway?”

    3) “Doctor, I’m not sure this is ethical!”

    2) I can’t remember the 2nd one.

    1) “The wight … onna camwuh … ish nah awm.” (“The light on the camera is not on.”)

    I’m now gonna elevate the level of discourse here by going back to work.

  34. Smacky didn’t mean to say “You can’t watch,” Stevo; what she meant to say “You can’t watch without proper payment.”

    And Smacky, you know how angry I get when you screw up like that. Time to crawl over here and start living up to your name, bitch.

  35. “It takes 80 hours of work to write the cue for Lorenzo Lamas to laser point cellulite on some girl’s ass?”


    It takes 80 hours of work to rip the idea off from Howard Stern.

  36. After my last post, I expect y’all to start coughing up some serious money. Make your checks out to “Jennifer and Smacky,” or better yet, CASH.

  37. Jennifer,

    Let them finish first. It’s hard to write a check (or count out cash) with one hand, ya know.

    I’m with Stevo. I think I’ve soiled this post enough for today. (No wait, it was my pants that I soiled! I was just misbehaving on this thread.)

  38. Speaking of words that should be banned. If I hear one more reality show twit talk about how “amazing” the date was or how “amazing” the whole experience is or how “amazing” a person someone is or how “amazing” the house is I’m going to …

    Actually, I should probably just eat a shotgun for watching the stupid fucking show in the first place.

    It’s amazing I haven’t already.

  39. Just for the record: I do NOT have any actual dominatrix tendencies.

  40. Just for the record: I did NOT just shit my pants.

  41. You know, all of this was mildly amusing until Smack follows Jen’s disclaimer with this:

    Just for the record: I did NOT just shit my pants.


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.