It’s about time someone said it.
Oh, wait. Tons of people already have. Critics have been panning the popular CW teen drama Gossip Girl since all the way back in 2007 for its lack of diversity — the show’s core actors, a group of uber-privileged Upper East Side New York socialites, were glaringly, blindingly white, critics complained. And now that the show is over, one of its stars is getting on board.
Penn Badgley, who played Dan “Lonely Boy” Humphrey on Gossip Girl, posted a photo to Twitter of the series’ DVD cover, which shows its white, privileged characters haphazardly strewn on top of New York City’s skyline.
“Lol s*** we are *reclining* on New York City,” Badgley wrote. I’m posted up like its [sic] a futon. Talk about an image of white privilege.”
Lol shit we are *reclining* on New York City. I'm posted up like its a futon. Talk about an image of white privilege🙈 pic.twitter.com/xPKwmyakDI
— Penn Badgley (@PennBadgley) January 23, 2015
Silly Badgley — everyone knows futons are for college kids and bachelors, not wealthy students like Gossip Girl‘s Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen, with their old-money names and implied privilege.
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It’s funny that Gossip Girl featured so few minority characters, as one of the show’s producers, Josh Schwartz, is Jewish and was lauded for his work bringing minorities to the cast of The O.C.
“It’s interesting, because on The O.C. I went out of my way to make those characters Jewish, not what you would expect to find in Orange County,” he explained in 2008. “But in New York, weirdly, I failed. I was working off of the source material.”
Maybe it’s the fact that much of Gossip Girl takes place on the Upper East Side, an area that ranges from 78 to 88 percent white, according to Census data. That’s almost 20 percent higher than the national average, so maybe Gossip Girl isn’t actually so far off.
Is Badgley’s tweet right on, or should he cut Gossip Girl some slack? Head down to the comments and tell us what you think.