Hollywood has been on a constant lookout for ways to virtue signal, even if it means criticizing itself. We’ve seen many examples of this in the last few years, like when the #OscarsSoWhite controversy prompted the Academy to implement new diversity requirements that films must meet in order to be nominated. Now, Hollywood has taken to demonizing decades-old TV shows to demonstrate its moral superiority.
“Friends” is one of the latest shows that’s fallen into critics’ crosshairs. The show premiered in 1994, but many are now slamming it for its “lack of diversity.” Marta Kauffman, one of the show’s creators, was even shamed into issuing a mea culpa for her sins, saying, “I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years. Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy. It’s painful looking at yourself in the mirror. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know better 25 years ago.”
As part of her penance, Kauffman made a $4 million pledge to her alma mater, Brandeis University, to establish an endowed professorship in their African and African-American studies department. Lisa Kudrow, one of the stars of “Friends,” felt the need to weigh in on the controversy as well, saying that the show’s white creators had “no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of color.”
“Boy Meets World,” which premiered in 1993, is also being demonized. Trina McGee, the show’s only Black star, now claims that she was subjected to racist treatment during her time on the show. McGee tweeted that her co-star, Will Friedle, called her “Aunt Jemima.” She also tweeted out that he’d apologized – 22 years ago – and again more recently in a long letter. If this issue was settled more than two decades ago, why are we re-litigating it now?
We saw this same type of controversy arise a few years ago when John Wayne’s past racist comments “resurfaced.” USC removed an exhibit dedicated to the actor. There were even calls to rename Orange County’s John Wayne Airport. John Wayne died more than four decades ago. He lived in a different era, with less progressive standards. One doesn’t need to condone his words or actions to understand that renaming Orange County airport won’t solve anything.
Hollywood has far more pressing issues to deal with than using today’s standards to fix “problems” of the past. Major film studios such as Disney and Warner Brothers have been censoring their content at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party. Multiple films have been accused of promoting the sexualization of young children. Perhaps Hollywood should focus more on these real and dangerous issues instead of disparaging decades-old TV shows and actors for not being woke enough.