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Marta Kauffman has admitted ‘Friends’ bosses made a “mistake” by using the wrong pronouns to describe a transgender character.
In the show, Chandler Bing’s parent is referred to as his “dad” despite identifying as a woman and executive producer Marta has insisted bosses on the show should have done better but errors were made due to a lack of understanding at the time.
Speaking on BBC World Service, Marta said: “We kept referring to her (Chandler’s transgender parent) as ‘Chandler’s father’, even though Chandler’s father was trans. Pronouns were not yet something that I understood. So we didn’t refer to that character as ‘she’. That was a mistake.”
Marta went on to discuss the show’s lack of diversity which has attracted plenty of criticism over the years – describing the comments as “valid” and insisting she “feels stupid” for not recognising the problems.
She said: “Friends has been criticised in a number of ways. The biggest one being that we did not have enough representation of Black people. And over the course of the last few years I’ve gotten to the point where I can say unfortunately yes, I am guilty of that. And I’ll never make that mistake again. I was clearly part of systemic racism in our business. I was unaware of that, which makes me feel stupid.”
Marta went on to insist criticism of the show’s lack of diversity was justified, adding: “That was a very valid, extremely difficult criticism which still … I get emotional about. 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.”