Friends: The goodbye has sparked some criticism of its “lack of diversity” and director Ben Winston has responded to the backlash. Last month, the reunion special premiered on HBO Max, which featured all six of the show’s original stars, as well as a host of special guests. Although many fans enjoyed the reunion, there were some critics who wondered why black actors who played as guest stars were performing Friends were not taken into account, which led to the conclusion that the special was not varied enough.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Winston was asked about the perceived lack of diversity in Friends: The goodbye. For his part, the director says the people making these claims “didn’t see it” and insists that the special was actually very different. That’s how Winston explains it straight from the interview.
“We have Malala, Mindy Kaling, BTS [the South Korean boy band]. There are three women from Ghana, one who talks about how Friends saved her life. Two boys from Kenya. Three children in India. What would you like more diversity at this reunion? The cast is the cast. It was made in 1994. I find it remarkable how well it stands up to time. “
When asked why Black Friends Actors were not introduced Ben Winston added, “Not everyone was able to take part. But I’m really happy with the show we were able to put together.”
In addition to the criticism of the special, there was some additional criticism of the original Friends also occupied as all six main characters are white. In a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the show’s co-creator Marta Kauffman said that the creative team’s intent was never to “have an all-white cast.”
“That wasn’t the goal either. Obviously, the chemistry between these six actors speaks for itself,” said Kauffman. “There are many things I could say if only I knew then what I know today. Back then there was no conscious decision. We saw people of every race, religion, skin color. Those were the six people we occupied. .. I “I’ve talked about this in the past and I have very strong feelings about my participation in a system, but the bottom line is that I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”
Executive Producer Kevin Bright added, “I would have been crazy not to hire these six actors. What can I say? I wish Lisa was Black? I loved this cast.
James Corden hosted the reunion which brought together Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry (who was the subject of his own controversy) and David Schwimmer. Some of the other guest stars included Cindy Crawford, Justin Bieber, Cara Delevingne, Thomas Lennon, Tom Selleck, Reese Witherspoon, and David Beckham. Lady Gaga also played a duet from “Smelly Cat” with Kudrow in one of the most talked about moments of the special.
Friends: The goodbye is currently streaming on HBO Max. Classic episodes from the original series also appear on the platform after WarnerMedia spent hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire the rights. Despite some retroactive backlash, the show is as popular as ever. The full interview with Ben Winston was first published by The Sunday Times.
Topics: friends, HBO Max, streaming