In a twist that wouldn't feel out of place on an episode of Portlandia, a real-life non-profit feminist bookstore featured on the IFC show has cut ties with the production, leveling accusations of transmisogyny and racism against it.
Shot on location in Oregon's largest city, the offbeat comedy series stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, playing a wide variety of characters, and skewers artisanal-everything hipster culture. One of Portlandia's most iconic recurring sketches centers on Candace (Armisen) and Toni (Brownstein), the eccentric proprietors of the Women and Women First bookstore.
For six seasons, these scenes were filmed in Portland's In Other Words feminist bookstore and community center—where, Willamette Week notes, a sign that reads "Fuck Portlandia! Transmisogyny – Racism – Gentrification – Queer Antagonism – Devaluation of Feminist Discourse" has been posted in a window since the spring. In a blog post of the same name published yesterday, the staff announced that the volunteer-run organization ended its relationship with Portlandia "several months ago."
Not only had the production made a "mess" of their facilities and negatively affected the business of both In Other Words and its neighboring stores, they wrote, but the show is in "every way diametrically opposed to [their] politics."
In a particularly 🔥 paragraph, In Other Words expressed their vehement opposition to the transmisogyny underlying Armisen's portrayal of female Portlandia characters like Candace:
The Women and Women First segments that are filmed at In Other Words are trans-antagonistic and trans-misogynist and have only become more offensive as the show goes on. ‘LOL Fred Armisen in a wig and a dress’ is a deeply shitty joke whose sole punchline throws trans femmes under the bus by holding up their gender presentation for mockery and ridicule. In a world where trans femmes – particularly Black trans women – are being brutalized and murdered on a regular basis for simply daring to exist, dude in a dress jokes are lazy, reactionary, and actively harmful. They’re also just straight up not funny.
The blog post also criticized the series' contribution to gentrification and blindingly white representation of the city, calling out Portlandia producers for requesting that the bookstore take down a Black Lives Matter sign before shooting. (They wouldn't.)
We have reached out to IFC and Broadway Video, Portlandia's production company, for comment.
Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.