US television network ABC has axed its new sitcom ‘Work It’, about a pair of cross-dressing men looking for work, after only two episodes.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation had slammed the series, saying its premise mocked the transgender community.
Work It was to follow two unemployed men who “learned the hard way that the current recession is more of a ‘man-cession’ and their skills aren’t in high demand”, according to publicity.
When one of the main characters saw a pharmaceuticals company’s advert for female sales representatives, he attended an interview dressed as a woman and was hired.
Matt Kane, Associate Director of Entertainment Media for GLAAD, said at the time that Work It was “based on the notion that men dressed as women is inherently funny”.
“Work It invites the audience to laugh at images of men trying to adopt a feminine appearance, thereby also making it easier to mock people whose gender identity and expression are different than the one they were assigned at birth.”
The show had apparently been a ratings flop with fewer than 5 million viewers and Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs and Communications at GLAAD, said: “While many of ABC’s positive and groundbreaking portrayals of LGBT people have been critical and popular successes, the public had little interest in this outdated show.”
After seeing the pilot episode, GLAAD had placed an advert in Variety magazine calling on ABC to axe the show. It included the following facts about transgender life in the US:
• Transgender Americans can be legally fired in 34 states today simply for being who they are.
• 97% of self-identified transgender people reported being harassed or abused at work.
• 26% reported losing their jobs because they are transgender.
Reuters reported that ABC’s Entertainment President Paul Lee “didn’t get” people’s complaints over the show. He said: “I thought there was room personally for a very, very, very, very silly show.”
He reportedly compared the show with Sydney Pollack’s 1982 hit Tootsie, in which Dustin Hoffman plays an actor who dresses as a woman to secure roles.
Earlier this month, a New Zealand tampon company pulled an advert after it provoked outrage among the trans community by apparently featuring a trans woman “competing” for in a nightclub toilet with another woman.
But the actor who played the character, Sandee Crack, said the transgender people who had complained were “dragphobic”, pointing out that he “never considered” himself trans, “and never will do”.