Workers at ‘Portlandia’ filming location get into row with sketch show bosses

Staff post a 'Fuck Portlandia' notice in their shop window and issue lengthy statement

Workers at a feminist bookstore where the comedy sketch show Portlandia is filmed, have got into a row with the show’s stars and producers.

One of the series’ longest running sketches featured Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen playing the characters Toni and Candace, the owners of a feminist bookstore called Women And Women First. 

But staff at the bookstore – In Other Words – where the segment is regularly filmed have now severed ties with the show after the shop was allegedly “left a mess” following a recent shoot.

A volunteer also placed a sign in the window that also reads “Fuck Portlandia!,” and they have chosen to leave it there. In a statement on their website, staff wrote that the store was “left a mess, [their] staff mistreated, [their] neighbours forced to close and lose business for a day without warning, and [their] repeated attempts to obtain accountability or resolution dismissed.”

Workers at In Other Words also said that allowing Portlandia to shoot never made them a significant amount of money and criticised the show’s entire premise, as well as the Women And Women First sketch in particular.

They wrote:

“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.”

They have also said that the show paints an inaccurate picture of the city because “there are no black people on Portlandia.” The store, which hosts Black Lives Matter Portland meetings, say that the show has contributed to the city’s gentrification, “displacing the communities that made Portland a great place in the first place something twee and whimsical for the incoming technocrat hordes.”

The statement ends with the clarification that neither they nor the current board and volunteers were involved in the decision to allow Portlandia to shoot at their location. Read the full letter here.

Meanwhile, Fred Armisen was recently cast in the role of Krang in the forthcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel.