The reaction to a (nearly) all-male panel might prompt some long overdue change.

A quick glance at the lineup for Variety's annual "A Night in the Writers' Room" event turned up something a little odd: It was almost entirely men.

The event, to be held in West Hollywood on June 14, features some really great, talented people working in TV right now. Writers from shows like "The Americans," "Black Lightning," "Atlanta," and "The Good Place" are all slated to appear, a veritable who's-who of TV talent. But of the 12 writers scheduled to appear, 11 of them are men.

Writer Wendy Molyneux ("Bob's Burgers") noticed this, tweeting, "I guess what you'll find in the writers' room is over 90% men!"


A number of the scheduled writers offered to give up their spots on the panel to make room for women, which really was a nice gesture.

"The Good Place" writer Michael Schur (who goes by "Ken Tremendous" on Twitter) tweeted that while he didn't know who else was scheduled to appear at the event, he thought it'd be appropriate to replace him with "any one of the dozens of women who should be part of any event like this." David Shore ("The Good Doctor") concurred, saying that he notified organizers he was "happy to be replaced."

Twitter user @WintryMixALot replied to Schur, writing, "Dude, I love you, but you seriously accept invites to be on panels without asking who else will be on them? If you care about representation please stop doing that." In a follow-up tweet, Schur committed to doing that moving forward.

To its credit, Variety responded to its, er, lack of variety when it came to organizing this event.

"On behalf of Variety, we apologize for the egregious oversight regarding the lack of female writers participating in our upcoming A Night in the Writers' Room event," was posted on Twitter, adding Variety is "working on rectifying" the mistake.

In 2017, Variety's "A Night in the Writers' Room" event featured 10 men and two women. The 2016 event featured 10 men and three women. Now, yes, it is entirely possible that Variety had planned to make a more concerted effort to be more gender-proportionate in 2018, but based on past years, this seems to have been more business as usual as opposed to an "egregious oversight" on their part.

Lost in a lot of the social media discussion was the fact that in addition to being overwhelmingly male, the event has a tendency to be overwhelmingly white.

The 2018 event features zero women of color. There was just one (Ava DuVernay) in 2017 and one in 2016 (Misha Green). For all the outcry over the lack of gender diversity, however, not a lot was said about race.

Matt Warburton, Rob McElhenney, Marc Maron, Bill Lawrence, Matthew Carnahan, and Variety chief television critic Brian Lowry participate in the 2014 event. Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Variety.

Director Sade Sellers rightly pointed this out on Twitter, indicating she'd love to put together another panel filled with women — including women of color.

Hopefully Variety takes this criticism into consideration as it scrambles to fix this. After all, part of what makes panel discussions so interesting is hearing from people with wildly different backgrounds having a conversation about their different upbringings, perspectives, and how that fits into their work. That kind of conversation can only happen with a diverse panel.

Now, you may be asking yourself why stuff like this even matters. After all, it's just a panel. There's more to it than that.

"When they can't even manage tokenism, then you know they really don't care," says Nell Scovell, a writer whose credits include "Late Night With David Letterman," "The Simpsons," and "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch."

Scovell gets to the heart of the matter: These types of prestigious industry panels send a message to aspiring creatives and viewers about who their product is actually for. "These panels should reflect the audiences and women are just as interested in highly-paid, creative jobs as men. Maybe even more."

Nell Scovell (left) speaks with Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette during a 2016 event put on by Vanity Fair. Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Vanity Fair.

Molyneux touches on what kind of impression it makes when there's a lack of diversity in representation. If there's hope of keeping fresh talent interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, the industry needs to take a few small overtures in their direction. The problem has an easy solution: Don't be a jerk.

"'Don't be a d-bag' is the lesson of our time, right? Before you announce your panel, look at your roster and ask yourself: 'Am I about to be a d-bag?' says Molyneux. "I mean, if your panel is 91.67% male — and please have a man check my math — maybe get on the pink phone & ring up some girls. We all live in a big house together so we can sync our menses, so you’re bound to get SOMEONE. Under his eye," she finishes, jokingly.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less