Between 1994 and 2004, there appeared to be only one show that dominated the charts and was a constant companion in households. Airing for 10 seasons, the hit sitcom “Friends” continues to be watched and discussed as it is streamable on HBO Max. Being paid millions of dollars for the show even today, the stars took part in a highly successful reunion show. But while people cherish the character and memories, Marta Kauffman recently spoke about the series and apologized for misidentifying one of the characters.
Speaking with the BBC, Kauffman noted that at the time, they misgendered the father of Chandler Bing, played by Matthew Perry. In the show, Bing’s father decided to transition into a transgender drag queen. Going by the name Helena Handbasket, the role was played by actress Kathleen Turner. Kauffman noted referring to the character as a man was ultimately a mistake. “We kept referring to [Helena] 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.”
Although apologizing for the supposed mishap, Kauffman was sure to add that they supported a healthy set and fired those who made incentive jokes. “I like very much to create an environment where we have a happy set and a happy crew. It’s very important to me that where we are is a safe place, a tolerant place, where there’s no yelling. I fired a guy on the spot for making a joke about a trans cameraperson. That just can’t happen.”
This wasn’t the first time that Kauffman apologized for the show and its success. Just a week ago, she said that she wished there had been more diversity within the series. Not able to change the past, the co-creator decided to donate a staggering $4 million for the guilt. She recalled the moment the realization hit her. “It was after what happened to George Floyd that I began to wrestle with my having bought into systemic racism in ways I was never aware of. That was really the moment that I began to examine the ways I had participated. I knew then I needed to course-correct.”