Jennifer Aniston Says A ‘Whole Generation’ Now Finds Friends Offensive

Jennifer Aniston has sparked a debate after saying that Friends is 'offensive' to Gen Z.
Credit: Alamy & NBC

Jennifer Aniston has sparked a huge debate after claiming Friends is now offensive to a ‘whole generation’.

Aniston, 55, starred in Friends as Rachel Green for 10 seasons between 1994 and 2004.

It was one of the biggest sitcoms ever and still has major rewatch potential to this day. However, some of the jokes on the TV show have not aged so well.

So much so that Aniston has claimed Gen Z finds Friends ‘offensive’.

But not everyone agrees, and the Murder Mystery star’s comments have sparked a pushback online.

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Aniston tells AFP that ‘comedy has evolved’ and this makes it more difficult to be funny nowadays.

“Now it’s a little tricky because you have to be very careful, which makes it really hard for comedians, because the beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, make fun of life,” Aniston says.

“[In the past] you could joke about a bigot and have a laugh – that was hysterical. And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were. And now we’re not allowed to do that.”

The We’re The Millers actress continues: “There’s a whole generation of people, kids, who are now going back to episodes of Friends and find them offensive.

“There were things that were never intentional and others… well, we should have thought it through – but I don’t think there was a sensitivity like there is now… Everyone is far too divided.”

David Schwimmer as Ross Gellar and Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green in Friends.
Jennifer Aniston has sparked a huge debate after claiming Friends is now ‘offensive’ to a whole generation. Credit: NBC

It does seem that there is some merit to Aniston’s claims.

The problematic aspects of the show have been well-documented, with the treatment of Chandler’s transgender father, comments about lesbian couple Carol and Susan, and the general lack of diversity attracting particular criticism.

Ross’ treatment of women has also been questioned by Gen Zers.

“I can fully see Ross hurting one of the women in his life and not feeling remorse,” one TikTok user says in a video.

However, others pointed out that although young people criticise Friends, they still love it!

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One person has taken to X, formerly known as Twitter, to write: “I love Friends and still watch it constantly. But I’m also aware there are some things that wouldn’t be said today or storylines that wouldn’t be done because, with time, more awareness and education about some issues have become more widespread. Both things can be true.”

Another adds: “Celebrities of all kinds need to stop pretending that a small group of people being mad at them on Twitter for brief periods of time is some kind of systemic disadvantage that prevents them from doing what they want. They earn tens of millions every year in Friends residuals.

“Gen Z-ers LOVE Friends and keep its valuation at hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s one of the most popular and beloved shows of all time. There ARE legitimate criticisms of the show but they’re not even making noise in the face of how beloved it is.”

Where do you stand in this debate?

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.