Target: Oliver Tull, CW’s “Eye Opener” Host
Goal: Issue public apology for calling Sarah Jessica Parker a dog on a talk show.
Oliver Tull, a host on a talk show called “Eye Opener,” which airs on CW, recently made an inappropriate, incredibly sexist joke on the air after discussing sexism on Fox News. The three hosts commented on a Fox News segment in which Gretchen Carlson walked off the set in response to her co-hosts’ sexism, and moved into their next segment. Tull’s introduction was, “Is a dog campaigning for Obama? No, not Sarah Jessica Parker.”
The especially ironic aspect of this incident is that it occurred right after coverage of another network’s sexism. Danielle Vollmar, another host of the show, strongly voiced her opinion against Fox News commentators’ sexism, which was met with eye-rolling, jeers, and the assertion that “Danielle hates men” by her fellow hosts.
To move on from that ridicule of her legitimate opinion and preposterous claim that she hates men, Tull cracked a joke likening Sarah Jessica Parker to a dog. Likening people to animals is part of a larger context of dehumanization toward discriminated groups, which has historically been used to justify inhumane treatment and prejudice. These dehumanizing references still exist today—animal references make up a number of derogatory slurs aimed at women. “Shrew” and “bitch” are salient examples.
While they may no longer be used to justify slavery, keeping women out of schools, or any number of unjust practices, the effect is still harmful. A society that thinks it is funny when a woman is mistaken for a dog cannot be a society that truly and thoroughly values women as intelligent, capable, and complete beings. Children growing up in such societies inherit these views. Even the most subtle or seemingly harmless jokes or slights contribute to an overall culture, which is firmly ingrained into public psyche. The only way to change the cultural impression that women are less-than is to stop both big and small things we do to dehumanize people.
Sign the petition below to tell Oliver Tull that sexism will not be tolerated and demand that he issue a public apology.
Dear Oliver Tull,
I was appalled to hear you liken Sarah Jessica Parker to a dog in one of your recent segments. In your attempt to be funny, you dehumanized her as an individual and women as a whole. Ironically, you did so immediately after discussing sexism on Fox News and disrespecting Danielle Vollmar’s opinions on the matter with eye rolls and jeers.
While you may view your joke as a harmless slight, it exists within a larger context of dehumanization and discrimination. Dehumanization has historically been used to justify cruel and unjust social institutions, like slavery and banning women from schools. Though practices such as this have become outdated, dehumanization has not completely disappeared. It remains in watered down form, in jokes or offhand comments, often by people who genuinely do not realize the harmful stereotypes they are helping to perpetuate.
Jokes and comments contribute to a society’s overall culture, which is ingrained subtly and yet firmly into the minds of children. A culture in which it is acceptable to call a woman a dog is clearly not a culture with true or thorough respect for women. However inconsequential one remark may seem, every bit helps establish and confirm the status quo, especially if it is aired on TV.
Please do your part to contribute to an equal, respectful culture by issuing a public apology and refraining from making such blatantly sexist comments in the future.
[Your Name Here]