'Mean Girls' Book Author Slams Tina Fey, Claims She's Never Been Paid

Rosalind Wiseman, the author of the Mean Girls source material, says she has never been paid for the franchise's success. Wiseman claims she has not seen a penny since she signed over the film rights to her nonfiction book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, to Paramount Pictures in 2002 for $400,000. Her lawyers are planning to take action, she told the New York Post last week. Paramount and Tina Fey, who wrote the Mean Girls movie, have not commented.

Wiseman met Fey in 2002 after the former Saturday Night Live star signed a development deal with Paramount. Fey asked Paramount to nab the screen rights to Wiseman's book, which was a guide for parents on navigating the world of teen girls. Wiseman had multiple film offers, but she chose to work with Fey after meeting the writer and Lorne Michaels, who would produce the film.

Fey turned out to be the perfect writer to adapt the material. The Mean Girls movie was a big hit at the box office in 2004, grossing $130 million worldwide on a $17 million budget. "We created this thing, Tina took my words, she did an extraordinary job with it," Wiseman told the Post. "She brought it to life and the material has been used and recycled for the last 20 years."

However, Wiseman feels Fey hasn't been supportive since the franchise grew to include a Broadway musical, which is now being adapted into a film itself. "For me, having a female writer and not having that happen has not only been difficult because of the money but it's also been painful, very painful," Wiseman told the Post. "It's really what my work has been about, especially Mean Girls. Women don't have to be best friends – we can get mad at each other, but when it comes down to it we need to actually support each other... That has been especially hard as a writer to writer."

Wiseman signed away all rights to future movies, musicals, and TV projects based on her book. The contract also included net profit points, or further revenue depending on how the film did at the box office. Wiseman claims Paramount told her there were no net profits from Mean Girls. The author's lawyers want to audit Paramount's records to see if this is true.

"I suspect most people would be shocked at how shabbily Rosalind Wiseman has been treated. And properly so," Wiseman's lawyer, Ryan Keech, told the Post. "It is nothing short of shameful for a company with the resources of Paramount to go to the lengths to which it has gone to deny Ms. Wiseman what she is fairly entitled to for having created what has become one of the most iconic entertainment franchises of the last 25 years."

Wiseman also claims Paramount and Fey did not pay her anything when Mean Girls came to Broadway. She worked with Fey on an educational program to help high schoolers produce their own production of the musical, but she hasn't been paid for this either, Wiseman said. The author said she has not seen Fey since the Mean Girls Broadway premiere. She remembered walking out of the cast party frustrated because Paramount executives had no idea who she was.

Wiseman said she was never contacted about the upcoming Paramount+ film adaptation of the musical. "For a lot of reasons I didn't come forward for a while and one of the reasons for all of these years – because I was so focused on me not whining or trying to trash Tina," Wiseman told the Post. "That's just not who I am and it's almost disrespectful to the content of what we were doing. I just felt so trapped. But also, I believe really strongly when you're in a position of power and privilege that you have a responsibility to share that to create equity."