Jul 8, 2022, 9:39:47 AM7/8/22
"Friends" co-creator Marta Kauffman racked up another stop on her apology
tour, saying in a soon-to-air interview that she regretted "misgendering" one
of the characters on the show.
According to E! News, Kauffman explained in a BBC interview -- scheduled to
air July 11 -- that her concern focused on Chandler Bing (played by actor
Matthew Perry), one of the main six characters, who had a biological father
who was a transgender woman (played by legendary actress Kathleen Turner).
The character went by the stage name Helena Handbasket and headlined a drag
burlesque show in Las Vegas.
Her regret, she said, was that throughout the run of the show whenever Helena
was mentioned, she was routinely described as "Chandler's father" and
referred to with he/him pronouns. One episode was even titled "The One with
"We kept referring to [Helena] as 'Chandler's father,' even though Chandler's
father was trans," she said, noting that "mother" might have been more
appropriate given Helena's gender identity.
"Pronouns were not yet something that I understood, so we didn't refer to
that character as 'she.' That was a mistake," Kauffman explained.
Kauffman voiced similar regret in another recent interview over the lack of
racial diversity on the show. She told the Los Angeles Times that she planned
to make reparations, of sorts -- donating $4 million to her alma mater
Brandeis University's African American Studies department to create an
endowed professorship. Her hope is that it will help to make up for her
failure to push for a more racially diverse cast.
"I've learned a lot in the last 20 years. Admitting and accepting guilt is
not easy. It's painful looking at yourself in the mirror. I'm embarrassed
that I didn't know better 25 years ago," she said.
Fox News reported that Kauffman also took responsibility for what she said
was her role in contributing to systemic racism in the entertainment
industry, saying, "I was unaware of that, which makes me feel stupid. That
was a very valid, extremely difficult criticism which still... I get
"If I knew then what I know now, there are certain things I would have
changed. But I didn't know them and I have since learned," she added.
Let's go Brandon!