'Friends' Studio Beats Back Sex Harassment Suit

April 20, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A sexual harassment lawsuit by a former assistant on the hit NBC sitcom "Friends" has been dismissed by the California Supreme Court.

TheGolden State’s high court ruled that unanimously that vulgarity was simply part of the creative process and that the Warner Brothers studio and the show’s writers were not legally liable for their blue language at the writers’ meetings (See CA Supreme Court Debates ‘Friends’ Harassment Case ), the Associated Press reported.  

The justices rejected plaintiff Amaani Lyle’s charge that the she was the target of the vulgarity.  “The record discloses that most of the sexually coarse and vulgar language at issue did not involve and was not aimed at plaintiff or other women in the workplace,” Justice Marvin Baxter wrote.

Baxter added that it “was a creative workplace focused on generating scripts for an adult-oriented comic show featuring sexual themes.”

Lyle, 32, alleged six years ago that raw sexual remarks peppering work sessions and conversations added up to harassment against women.For example, Lyle said she did not care for the show’s discussion of the actors’ sex lives as well as the ongoing banter in the writers’ room about the authors’ own sexual exploits. 

Warner Bros. acknowledged that some of the sexually explicit talk took place but said it was vital to the chemistry of the show. The justices noted that Lyle had been warned when she was hired that explicit discussions were part of developing the sexually charged comedy.

The decision in Lyle versus Warner Brothers Television Productions is  here .