Season 6, Episode 8: First Feminist City
Augusta Quirk/IFC

In Other Words, the feminist bookstore where Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen film their "Women & Women First" sketches on Portlandia, has severed ties with the IFC show. The staff says that the crew always left their shop a mess and actually ruined business for the area.

In a blog post titled "Fuck Portlandia," In Other Words writes that they were paid a fee for allowing the store to be used, but the money didn't cover the cost of a typical day's sales. They also write that the stores next door would have to shut down for the day in order for Portlandia to shoot their bookstore scenes.

They also blasted Portlandia for using easy "dude in a dress" jokes. (The "Women & Women First" segments are mostly about portraying feminists as caricatures and therefore making a joke of feminist values.) An excerpt:

"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 author writes that the film crew wanted In Other Words to remove their Black Lives Matter sign from their front window, but they refused. The new sign, placed by a volunteer?

In Other Words' post also brings up the issue of gentrification in Portland, blaming the show for spreading gimmicks based on stereotypes, when the city is so much more than the jokes made:

"Portlandia is fueling mass displacement in Portland. Fred and Carrie are on billboards and realtors have gleefully begun using Portlandia’s popularity and insipid humor (‘put a bird on it!’) to make displacing the communities that made Portland a great place in the first place something twee and whimsical for the incoming technocrat hordes."

Commenters on the blog were quick to point the finger at the bookstore, calling them hypocritical for not addressing their own hand in gentrification. In Other Words responded:

"You’re right. We absolutely do represent the first wave of gentrifiers. We were a harbinger of gentrification when we moved from SE Hawthorne to NE Killingsworth and for years our space was an overwhelmingly white (and cis and upper middle class) spot in a majority Black neighborhood. We know and we own that and it’s a major part of the reason why our politics and organizing have changed so drastically in the past two years. We understand it’s not just enough to feel bad (or just say we feel bad). We have to do everything we can to build the power of communities that have been displaced, abused, and erased in the name of racist capitalist development and endless growth. You’re right to call us out. Xaxier is too. We hope people keep calling us on our shit and pushing us to do more."

Read the whole post here.