Michael Eisner Addresses Sexist Claims About Funny Women

Michael Eisner
Disney CEO Michael Eisner released a statement on Monday, July 6, in which he walked back earlier claims about women in comedy that were seen as sexist by many -- see what he had to say Steve Granitz/WireImage

Just a misunderstanding? Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner released a statement on Monday, July 6, in which he walked back earlier claims about women in comedy that were seen as sexist by many.

The industry heavyweight, 73, raised eyebrows last week when speaking to Goldie Hawn at the Aspen Ideas Festival. During the chat, Eisner extolled Hawn for her many talents, but also made a sweeping, talked-about statement about women in the industry.

"From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman. By far," Eisner said to Hawn, according to The Atlantic. "They usually — boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online — but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you being an exception, are not funny."

Following the event, Eisner was called "sexist" and a "misogynist moron" by dissenting Twitter users. The Paramount alum finally addressed the ongoing backlash in a statement to Entertainment Weekly on Monday.

"In the context of a public conversation with Goldie Hawn in which I was complimenting her on being both beautiful and funny, I said such a combination is hard to come by in Hollywood," he told EW. "I certainly did not say Goldie was the only one. My point was simply that Goldie, unlike many, has not been defined exclusively as one or the other."

On the heels of Eisner's statement, Kathy Griffin penned a column for The Hollywood Reporter on the movie exec's controversial words. 

"I really do live for stuff like this," the comedienne wrote. "How old is Michael Eisner and how long was he a professional model? OK, OK, it's not really about him. It's about the funny women, the Star Chamber-like panel of female experts on hilarity that I have been dreaming of my whole life! Because it's really about the much younger and much more influential Michael Eisners (and you know who you are) who actually believe this crap." 

"The way that Hollywood puts women out of jobs, or in the case of age discrimination quite simply puts them out to pasture like cows — these comments are on the verge of actually, maybe, possibly, really being unacceptable," she added. "Influencers and decisionmakers who share the views that Eisner was stupid enough to say out loud actually decide whether or not I work, my career and sometimes my personal fate. People who share his views, and all the other men who think the things about women that he is expressing verbally, should simply be subjected to a panel of women — women of my choosing — who decide his career fate and legacy based on his physical appearance. Our first assignment will be to make him actually look at himself in the mirror. Naked." 

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