Earlier this year, Rosette Laursen, then-assistant to gay Hollywood talent agent Michael Einfeld, told her boss and co-workers that she planned to miss work for ”A Day Without A Woman,” an unofficial march 8 national day of (in)action in which women skipped work and boycotted all businesses to show their collective value while raising awareness about social gender inequalities.
Einfeld replied to everyone on Laursen’s group text (including her) with the following response: “Are you fucking kidding me? At the end of pilot season? Someone should sew her vagina shut. I’m never hiring a girl ever again.”
After a few more insulting messages from Einfeld, she quit. Then, after he ignored repeated contact from her lawyer who sought a few months pay for forcing her to flee his toxic work environment, she posted his messages on Facebook, initially hiding his identity by calling him “Jorkle.”
In a Facebook post, Laursen explained: “I emailed Jorkle that I would love to spend the day [of protest] writing, as my career goal is to be a TV writer, and unfortunately writers’ rooms are very dominantly male, even in 2017.”
Indeed, Laursen was the only female employee at Einfeld’s talent agency, a group which had reportedly represented Hillary Swank, Brendan Fraser and Phyllis Diller.
Einfeld continued ranting:
“No bonus for anyone that strikes or leaves early in pilot season. No one is striking in show business we are all against Trump. And women are considered diverse and being shoved in as writer and directors. Zach who is a Jewish male is being pushed out. Uppity selfish cunt. Heather went to work. I’m sure anyone at a casting office or agency would be fired.”
There’s a lot to unpack there, but Einfeld seems to believe that hiring qualified people from marginalized communities pushes out white guys. Never mind that female directors currently make up 25% or less of all TV directors. (Women of color direct less than 6% of any network’s shows.) The same pretty much applies to major Hollywood films, both in front of and behind the camera.
When Einfeld realized that Laursen had seen his messages, he sent her the following creepy “apology”:
“I apologize for venting like a misogynistic faggot. I was letting off steam I didn’t mean to hit reply all. I’m an asshole. If you come back we can play Nazi death camp. You can beat me and put me in the oven. Or feed me cabbage and lock me in the shower. I am truly sorry.”
Despite a male co-worker trying to convince Laursen that being called an “uppity selfish cunt” in front of all her co-workers was a “joke,” she responded to her boss with a brief two word reply: “I quit.”
She then posted the messages on Facebook where she wrote:
“My coworkers had worked there for years and my only guess is that they slowly became desensitized to Jorkle’s behavior to the point where the line of what is normal or acceptable didn’t just blur, it disappeared. Which is sad, because I otherwise liked them. But, I understand the psychological effects a person of power can have on their crew.”
She added that “Jorkle” wasn’t always bad. They had bonded over a shared love of Broadway musicals and even had several good laughs. But then he would call his entire staff “fucking retards” or scream the word “nigger” at the top of his lungs in when angered by black clients. He would always excuse it away by later saying, “I was just joking.”
Laursen’s lawyer tried to contact Einfeld for a few months pay after his messages compelled her to quit, but he ignored all of her lawyer’s calls, messages, e-mails and letters, so Laursen posted Einfeld’s messages on Facebook.
She said that she didn’t want him to get away with his behavior or for others to work for him without knowing what he was really like. If someone decides not to hire her for her Facebook post, she says, it will save both her and her employer from a bad fit.
“Many Hollywood assistants are underpaid and overworked, yet we are more than willing to do everything it takes to pay our dues to reach our goals and dreams. But in return there needs to be a basic level of respect from our bosses. Nothing fancy, just human decency….
Assistants at management companies, casting offices, networks, and studios are all just trying to keep things running smoothly, and no-one wants to be the one to throw a wrench in things. But sometimes it’s got to be done. Let’s say no to the Jorkles of the world.”
Her Facebook post has gained 2,300 reactions, 900 shares and 428 comments as of now.
On Thursday evening, Einfeld sent out an e-mail apology to his friends, colleagues and clients stating:
“Let me say without reservation – I am sorry. I used language that was tasteless, humorless and completely inexcusable. I believe deeply in workplace diversity regardless of race, gender, creed or sexual orientation, and I am mortified that the things I have said have worked against my commitment to inclusion. As I’ve searched for a response to all this, what I’ve discovered is that words fall woefully short of my extreme remorse – I am so sorry.”
“I will be undertaking some obviously needed introspection, and want to thank those of you who have expressed a willingness to standby me. To those that feel they need space from me – I am heartbroken but understand. If it were possible, I wouldn’t mind space from myself right now. Again, to everyone – I am sorry. If this is something you are willing to hear from me in person please call, or send me a note and I’ll call you. I am devastated, and hope in time you will consider giving me the chance to earn your forgiveness.”
Featured image by Peopleimages via iStock