Can't a Bitch Catch a Break? The Nicollete Sheridan Story

Illustration for article titled Can't a Bitch Catch a Break? The Nicollete Sheridan Story

Nicollette Sheridan's wrongful termination lawsuit against ABC ended in a mistrial, with jurors deadlocked at 8-4 (Sheridan needed 9 votes to win). Last week a judge threw out her battery suit against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry due to a lack of evidence. In case you need to catch up, here's Indiewire:

The case against the soap opera seemed totally like a soap opera. Nicollette Sheridan said she was hit by Marc Cherry (the creator of Desperate Housewives) and when the incident was reported to HR, 4 months later her character was killed off the show. Cherry says he just tapped her to show her how to play out a scene. She clearly felt that he was inappropriate and unacceptable so much so that she went and reported it and then suffered the consequences.

Cherry said that the decision to kill her character was made in advance of the incident and there was no retaliation for her reporting his poor behavior.


Okay. So, I don't know what happened here. I don't know whether Marc Cherry punched Nicollette Sheridan in the eyeball, or gave her some sort of completely appropriate "acting tap" (is that like…morse code?), or whether she was fired in retaliation for tattling on a powerful Hollywood player or just because she's super duper extremely unlikeable actress who is not at all enjoyable to watch. But I DO make it a point to give the benefit of the doubt to women reporting assaults, particularly in instances with power imbalances like this-because reporting needs to be a safe thing to do. (I also think there's something to be said about the way that some-SOME!-gay men feel like they can play fast and loose with women's boundaries, and the ease with which casual misogyny can pervade gay culture. Obviously I don't know Marc Cherry personally, but-according to Nicollette Sheridan again, so take this with however much salt you want-he doesn't have a stellar track record when it comes to respecting women's bodies. And also he is a Log Cabin Republican. Which is creepy.)

But ABC, it seems, doesn't share my view about the importance of taking women seriously no matter how annoying they are (via CNN):

Although the show's line producer reported the hitting incident to the studio's human resources department, there was no investigation until an ABC senior executive saw a National Enquirer story about it at a grocery store two months later, according to testimony.

What followed was a "fake" investigation designed "to protect the money machine known as 'Desperate Housewives,'" [Sheridan lawyer Mark] Baute said. "Nobody wants the 'Desperate Housewives' applecart turned upside down."

Anyway, it all just makes me wonder how much Nicollette Sheridan undermined Nicolette Sheridan here. As much as I want to back her up on principle, it almost feels like she herself has conditioned me not to. This is a woman reportedly so unpleasant that she made FELICITY HUFFMAN mad (and how much do you want Felicity Huffman to be your cool aunt???), whose bread and butter is playing the bitchest bitch on a television show about bitches. Like, her entire job is acting so patently unlikeable that you want to slap her in the face-so is it any wonder that it's difficult for the public to muster sympathy when she claims to have been slapped in the face?

And all of that makes the wrongful termination suit even more muddy. Just because the public perception is that she's a complete pain in the ass, and her character is a complete pain in the ass, and her coworkers say she's a complete pain in the ass, does that mean that she WASN'T wrongfully terminated? Can a bitch ever win a wrongful termination lawsuit? And finally, I know that speculation like this is kind of dumb/irrelevant/pointless, especially given the outcome in both cases, but can you imagine how differently this all would have played out if it were, say, Julia Roberts instead? Or Zooey Deschanel? Or Betty White? Pretty sure the answer is HELLA DIFFERENT. (Maybe somebody somewhere on earth might have actually paid attention to it, for one thing.) But aaaaaaaaanyway, I guess what I'm saying anybody looking out for the bitches? Bitches are people too.

Image via Getty.



Extremely unlikeable? Not enjoyable to watch? Edie Britt was a delightful character and I loved her, many fans of Desperate Housewives stopped watching because she left.