Speed Reads

the one with the apology

Friends creator admits 'mistake' in misgendering trans character

The co-creator of Friends is getting transparent with her regrets over Chandler's trans parent. 

Producer Marta Kauffman in an interview with BBC World Service admitted it was a "mistake" to repeatedly refer to Chandler Bing's transgender mother as his father throughout the show, per Variety

"Pronouns were not yet something that I understood," Kauffman said. "So we didn't refer to that character as 'she.' That was a mistake.'" 

The fact that Chandler has a trans parent was a running joke in many episodes of Friends. The character was portrayed by Kathleen Turner, who in 2019 told Andy Cohen she wouldn't take the part today because "there would be real people able to do it."  

Kauffman has previously apologized for the lack of diversity on Friends, recently telling the Los Angeles Times she's "embarrassed that I didn't know better 25 years ago" and is pledging $4 million to Brandeis University's African and African American studies department. "Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy," she said. "It's painful looking at yourself in the mirror."

Speaking to BBC News, Kauffman further admitted, "Yes, I am guilty" of not having enough Black representation on the show due to "systemic racism in our business" that she was "unaware" of at the time, promising, "I'll never make that mistake again." Could she be any more sorry?