Has the term “gaslight” itself been gaslit?
Feminist author Roxane Gay took to Twitter to complain that Lucille Ball — played by Nicole Kidman, 54 — uses the term “gaslight” in Amazon’s new film “Being the Ricardos.”
Gay, known for her best-selling book “The Bad Feminist,” seemed to claim that the term wasn’t used in the 1950s when the movie was set.
“There is no way she would have said that in the 1950s. How did that get through?” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet, which has since amassed more than 1,300 replies and nearly 10,000 retweets.
But many weren’t in support. Instead, users attempted to correct her, saying the term was actually inspired by the 1944 film “Gaslight.”
“Does anyone check tweets before firing one off? Let me be the 234 person to say there was this 1944 film called Gaslight,” wrote one user.
“There was an episode of The Lucy Show where she got Mr. Mooney fired. She and her friend watch the movie and she gaslight’s Mooney’s boss to get the job back,” tweeted someone else, referencing this 1956 episode of “I Love Lucy.”
And for a while Gay, 47, stuck to her point, even calling it “a bad screenplay, period” in another since-deleted tweet.
“Guys come on. It wasn’t part of the vernacular then,” Gay responded, adding in a later post, “The audacity of y’all defining gaslighting to me. Really just that’s the straw breaking this camels back.”
Other people on Twitter jumped to Gay’s defense, claiming the term wasn’t commonly used in the ’50s.
Journalist Evie Nagy chimed in, saying it wasn’t introduced into vernacular until later and that the Twitter stir Gay’s comment caused became a “gaslighting inception.”
One user also found a Google trend chart showing that the use of the term “gaslight” didn’t gain popularity until the 2000s.
Even TV host Andy Cohen, 53, gave his two cents, tweeting, “I brought this up on the radio yesterday – I one hundred percent agree! People called in mentioning the movie “Gaslight” but NO.”
However, ultimately, Gay chided commenters for causing an “absurd” firestorm and offered a half-hearted mea culpa.
“While I’ve been sleeping you guys have made gaslight trend. This is absurd,” she wrote late Thursday morning. “You want me to say I am wrong so you can put me in my place? That’s fine. I’m wrong. You experts on I Love Lucy and gaslighting are right. Thanks for the education. Happy Holidays and stay safe out there.”