After pleading mea culpa for the show’s lack of diversity, NBC’s Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman is once again asking for forgiveness, this time for the crime of misgendering one of the sitcom’s most memorable characters — Chandler Bing’s transgender dad, played by Kathleen Turner.
In a recent interview on “The Conversation” on the BBC World Service, Marta Kauffman said that it was wrong for the show to refer to the character as “Chandler’s father.”
“We kept referring to her 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,” Kauffman said.
In Friends, the Kathleen Turner character was variously referred to as “dad,” “Chandler’s dad,” “Charles,” and “Mr. Bing.”
Kauffman revealed that she once fired someone for joking about a transgender crew member.
“I like very much to create an environment where we have a happy set and a happy crew,” Kauffman 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.”
As Breitbart News reported, Kauffman recently atoned for the sitcom’s lack of diversity by pledging $4 million to her alma mater, Brandeis University, to establish an endowed professorship in the school’s African and African American studies department.