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06th Jul 2022

Friends creator says they regret not using correct pronouns on the show

She has owned up to it.

Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman has recently revealed that she believes it was a “mistake” to not use correct pronouns when it came to the popular sitcom.

Now ensuring she builds “safe” and “tolerant” workplaces, Marta spoke during an interview with The Conversation on the BBC World Service saying she has huge regrets over how Chandler Bing’s transgender parent was dealt with.

Friends ran from 1994 to 2004 and was set in Manhattan, New York. Marta co-created the show with David Crane.

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.”

The character’s female gender, who was played by Kathleen Turner, was never addressed during the 10 year run, and Marta has said she now strives in inclusivity and diverse workplaces.

“I like very much to create an environment where we have a happy set and a happy crew,” she said.

“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.”

Speaking about the backlash Friends has received over recent years and the criticism it has been under, Marta held herself accountable.

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. That was a very valid, extremely difficult criticism which still… I get emotional about.”

She added: “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.”