Actress and liberal activist Janeane Garofalo may have resurrected her Hollywood career by scoring a gig in 2009 on the hit Fox television series “24,” but it seems the paycheck wasn't enough to keep her content with such a coveted gig.
In an appearance on the “Going Off Track” podcast last week, Garofalo – who played Janis Gold, an FBI agent who often spoke out against torture tactics in anti-terrorism negotiations – claimed that the show’s producer, Joel Surnow, attempted to demean her and her political views.
“He (Surnow) hated my politics and Air America (a progressive radio network she worked for). He was a real right-winger. He actually worked with the Republican Party producing propaganda campaigns with them,” Garofalo told the show hosts. “Actually, Rush Limbaugh and Lynne Cheney would visit the set and stuff like that… But he wanted to make me look like a ‘weak’ liberal on the show. My character got yelled at a number of times by Jack (Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland). Then it got side-tracked by the writer’s strike. He didn’t get to play out the whole thing he had in mind for my character… Joel Surnow, I think, wanted to humiliate me.”
Garofalo went so far as to say “24” even tried to sway viewers away from contemplating a future Hillary Clinton presidency.
“He wanted Cherry Jones to play the president that season as a slam at Hillary. He wanted it to seem unappealing. Unfortunately, the fans loved Cherry Jones as the president. She was wonderful. But it was made to frighten you from a Hillary candidacy,” Garofalo said.
Surnow was quick to defend himself against Garofalo's assertions.
"I hired Janeane Garofalo on ‘24’ not because of any political agenda," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "I had none. I hired her because she's an extremely talented actress who I liked in everything I had ever seen her in."
Garofalo’s words also ignited a wave of cyber eye rolls across the Twitterverse.
“Yes, Janeane Garofalo, ‘24’ was such a ‘right wing’ program. So much so that the villain always ended up being a white businessman,” tweeted one, while another chimed in that “Joel Surnow didn't have to make them look bad, they do that all by themselves. Side note, she sucked on that show.”
Neither Garofalo, Surnow, star Kiefer Sutherland nor Fox responded to our requests for comment.