CELEBRATIONSAs popular as the sitcom ‘Friends’ is, in recent years the series has come under fire for its lack of diversity and the way certain groups, such as transgender people, have been portrayed. Marta Kauffman (65), the creator of Friends, now apologizes. Among other things, for misgendering the trans parent of character Chandler. “I didn’t understand pronouns then. That was a big mistake on my part,” she admitted in an interview.
Marta Kauffman, who co-created the American sitcom ‘Friends’ with David Crane, has again expressed regret about the representation in the series. This time it is specifically about Chandler’s parent, who was trans woman, but was addressed with masculine pronouns. In an interview with BBC World Service, she said of the mistake: “It was a big mistake to use masculine pronouns and the word father for a trans woman.” The 65-year-old explained that she didn’t know any better at the time. , but that it definitely wouldn’t be appropriate now.
Chandler’s parent, Helena Handbasket in the series, was played by Kathleen Turner. When she took the part, Kathleen also saw it as something innocent. “I thought, ‘Okay, a woman who plays a man, who plays a woman. I have never done that.’ That’s why I agreed.” But in a 2019 interview with ‘Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen’, she indicated that she would no longer be taking on the role today. “There are trans women who can better represent the role.”
In the interview with ‘BBC’, Kauffman also elaborates on the lack of diversity in the American sitcom. “’Friends’ has received a lot of criticism. Especially about the fact that we didn’t have enough people of color. I’ve thought hard about it in recent years. I have to say that unfortunately that was my own fault.” But the American television producer has no intention of repeating that mistake. “I was clearly a part of systematic racism in our industry. The fact that I wasn’t aware of that makes me feel stupid. The lack of diversity in the show is an extremely valid comment, which still makes me emotional.” If she knew then what she knows now, she would have handled things differently. “I didn’t know any better but I learned a lot. ”
Meanwhile, the television producer proves that she has learned from her mistakes and the tons of criticism she had to take. The 65-year-old is also the creator of the American Netflix series ‘Grace and Frankie’, where she does things a lot differently. “I think it’s important to create a safe environment where all the people on set and from the crew are happy. It is very important to be tolerant and not to yell at each other. I fired a man for making fun of a trans person. Such things should not happen.”
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