A Portland bookstore is rather unhappy with IFC’s Portlandia.
The In Other Words independent feminist bookstore, which has served as a repeated setting for the acclaimed comedy, issued a scathing statement on its website accusing the show of promoting gentrification, being insensitive to the trans community and acting like rude Hollywood cheapskates — basically, precisely the sort of things the show itself parodies.
The statement, titled “F— Portlandia,” says the production left their store “a mess, our staff mistreated, our neighbors forced to close and lose business for a day without warning, and our repeated attempts to obtain accountability or resolution dismissed.” In the show, In Other Words is a stand-in for the Women and Women First bookstore.
Noting that “being on Portlandia doesn’t make us money,” the staff says they received a “small flat fee” to use the store, yet the publicity “does not provide financial or political support of any kind: Tourists and fans of the show come to our door to stand outside, take selfies, and then leave. The vast majority of them don’t come inside.”
Segments filmed in the store, they continue, were “offensive,” saying the star “Fred Armisen in a wig and a dress is a deeply s—ty joke whose sole punchline throws trans femmes under the bus.” Also, they continue, “there are no black people on Portlandia. There are a tiny number of people of color on Portlandia. Portland is white, but it’s not that damn white. … The last time the show filmed in our space, the production crew asked to us to remove the Black Lives Matter sign on our window. We refused.”
The bookstore also accused Portlandia of fueling “mass displacement,” with realtors now using references to the show in their ads.
The current In Other Words staff notes they were not involved with the decision to let the show film in their bookstore when the show first lanched six years ago, then a few months ago decided to discontinue the relationship before the upcoming seventh season. IFC had no comment on the matter.
In addition to the Black Lives Matter sign, In Other Words say they’ve now added another sign to their window. You can probably guess what it says.