Our executive director's letter to the makers of Whitney. (Our petiiton is now closed)
Dear Executive Producers of "Whitney": I am writing to urge you to reconsider the naughty nurse and battleaxe nurse imagery that promotional clips indicate will be part of one episode of NBC's new sitcom "Whitney." As you know, the show focuses on Whitney's relationship with her boyfriend Alex, and one preview clip finds her seducing Alex with a naughty nurse outfit. When Alex falls and hits his head, they end up in the emergency department, where a standoffish "real" nurse seems to take Whitney for a sex worker and bars her from going back with Alex. This plotline could actually be interpreted as questioning naughty nurse imagery--Whitney's outfit sets in motion events that hurt Alex and the "real" nurse expresses contempt for Whitney--but I think the perception that will stay with most viewers is that the attractive actress Whitney Cummings spends a long time flirting and preening in her revealing "nurse" outfit. The "real" nurse doesn't display any expertise. And to the extent she shows authority, it's more as a petty hospital bureaucrat, barring a loved one from seeing a patient, a common example of the modern battleaxe stereotype. I believe that you can create and promote your show without using nursing stereotypes. I urge you to consider reworking this episode to avoid the naughty nurse and battleaxe elements. If you do air the plotline in its current form, please consider doing something to make amends to the nursing profession for the damage the plotline will cause. Thank you.