The California Supreme Court threw out a sexual harassment case against the bosses of defunct TV hit Friends yesterday.
Former studio assistant Amaani Lyle, 32, alleged that raw sexual remarks during conversations she heard on set and during writers’ meetings could be construed as sexual harassment.
Lyle accused three of the show’s writers–Adam Chase, Gregory Malins and Andrew Reich–of discussing sexual matters concerning Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer and Courteney Cox, as well their own raunchy exploits.
Lyle made the allegations six years ago, after she was fired by Warner Bros. Television Production in 1999 following a four-month employment. Lyle’s contract was terminated because she allegedly could not transcribe writers’ meetings fast enough.
The justices ruled 7-0 yesterday that ‘trash talk’ was part of the creative process and insisted no jury would believe the writers’ assistant was the target of harassment for script sessions “for an adult-oriented comic show featuring sexual themes.”
Justice Marvin Baxter wrote, “Most of the sexually coarse and vulgar language at issue did not involve and was not aimed at plaintiff or other women in the workplace.”
The justices noted that Lyle had been warned of the sexual content in the NBC comedy by studio bosses when she was first employed.
In a statement, the writers say, “(We are pleased with the justices’) staunch support of creative freedoms for writers everywhere. We maintain, as we have since Day One in this case, that the majority of the allegations the plaintiff made against us are complete and total fabrications.”
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