Comedian Kumail Nanjiani and screenwriter Emily V. Gordon are a married couple who co-wrote the movie The Big Sick based on the time in their relationship when Gordon was in a coma. Nanjiani stars in the film as himself, while actress Zoe Kazan plays the character based on Gordon. The couple has been promoting their film (which is very good, we should add), and Nanjiani noticed that an article in The Washington Post referred to him by name in the headline but not Gordon — she was referred to as “his wife.”
“Hey @washingtonpost. Big fan. Love what y’all do,” Nanjiani tweeted at the publication when he noticed the headline. “Appreciate you covering this. Could you add my wife’s name to this headline please? She is Emily V Gordon, & not just the inspiration, but one of the writers of The Big Sick.”
The original headline read, “Kumail Nanjiani opens up about his wife’s illness, the inspiration for The Big Sick.” The Washington Post immediately responded to him on Twitter and changed the headline to read, “Kumail Nanjiani opens up about his wife Emily V. Gordon’s illness, which inspired them to write The Big Sick.”
Kazan tweeted something similar on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 in response to a Twitter Moment that referred to Gordon as Nanjiani’s wife. “She has a name she has a name she has a name: Emily V. Gordon, now a multiply-award-nominated screenwriter. it’s HER body & HER illness. the least you can do is put her name in the headline, if you’re going to make a ‘moment’ of her life,” Kazan tweeted.
We understand that The Washington Post identified Nanjiani by name because he’s the “more famous” one, but in this instance, two people both wrote the same screenplay about their shared experience, and to acknowledge one by name and the other as “his wife” is completely sexist. It’s heartening that Nanjiani and Kazan stood up for Gordon and that The Washington Post amended its headline.