NEW YORK – Viewers may find ABC’s new sitcom “Work It” to be cringingly awful as entertainment.
But the show, which depicts two out-of-work chaps who dress as women to land jobs, has drawn fire from groups with a different complaint: They say “Work It” mocks the transgender community.
“Though the show is not about transgender people, it’s about the notion that men presenting as women is funny,” said Herndon Graddick of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
The Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, is joining GLAAD in asking ABC not to air the series, which is scheduled to premiere Jan. 3.
“It re-enforces inaccurate and tired stereotypes that are injurious to transgender Americans,” said the HRC’s Fred Sainz.
On Wednesday, the two organizations placed a full-page ad in Daily Variety stating, “By encouraging the audience to laugh at the characters’ attempts at womanhood, the show gives license to similar treatment of transgender women.”
ABC declined to comment or to make anyone available from the show to discuss it.
On “Work It,” Lee (Ben Koldyke) dresses up as a woman to win a job as a pharmaceutical rep, as does his buddy, Angel (Amaury Nolasco).
“GLAAD’s position is not that nobody can ever do cross-dressing again as a form of comedy,” Graddick said. “In the past, it has been done as a form of social commentary. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with ‘Work It.’ In fact, quite the opposite.”