Matt LeBlanc responds to claims Friends is misogynistic, homophobic and anti-trans
Matt LeBlanc has defended his legacy show Friends from accusations of homophobia, transphobia and misogyny.
The well-known 90s sitcom launched on Netflix last month, and many fans were happy to get access to the show.
However, excitement quickly died down when people began to binge watch the show and found that it was more problematic than they remembered from previous sporadic watching.
One of the ongoing plots that had slipped many people’s minds is Chandler’s relationship with his dad, who is transgender.
Chandler refuses to recognise her gender identity, using the dead name “Charles” rather than “Helena Handbasket”.
He also pretends to become physically sick when they go to watch her perform on stage.
People also took aim at Ross, who berates his son Ben for playing with a Barbie doll and assumes that the male nanny hired by Rachel is gay.
The show also ran a long-running storyline which joked that Chandler is gay, making him the butt of the joke.
A video featuring all the homophobic moments lasts a whopping 50 minutes.
The spike in modern-day viewers calling the show offensive is grounded in fact – the lack of a diverse cast and insensitivity towards LGBTQ topics are misguided.
However, many older fans are arguing that in the 90’s the conversation around homophobia and transphobia was not as prominent – and big American sitcoms like Friends could get away with the plots now considered less than sophisticated.
Now Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, has pitched into the debate.
He told the BBC: “I’ve heard those rumours too about people taking pot shots at Friends, but I don’t want to get into that. I disagree with all that.
“On Top Gear we tend to steer clear of any sort of political content, nothing too topical.
“On Friends we steered clear of that kind of thing, too. Friends was about themes that stand the test of time – trust, love, relationships, betrayal, family and things like that.”
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The actor and presenter added that he avoids making political jokes in his private life out of fear of offending people.
“I’m not in the business of making political jokes, politically incorrect jokes.
“I don’t want to make jokes that make people go ‘Ooh, that’s not my bag.’ I don’t like that, I run from that kind of stuff.
“Because that joke isn’t going to be relevant in six months. You talk about ‘Hey man, you lied to me,’ or ‘Wasn’t that fun?’ – that’ll always be relevant,” he added.