Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Josh Safran Finally Responds To The Huge Gossip Girl Controversy - Exclusive

There's been a whole lot of drama in the "Gossip Girl" fandom, and given that the series revolves around a digital entity with the word "Gossip" in her name, that's not exactly surprising. In the anticipation leading up to the "Gossip Girl" reboot, that penchant for drama started to bleed into the real world.

For the uninitiated: A few alleged sentences from the reboot creator Josh Safran that were featured in Variety coupled with Evan Mock calling the series "woke" during an interview with Vanity Fair started the whole hubbub. The short, summary comments sparked a social media storm in which OG fans expressed displeasure that the show appeared to be heading in a more "politically correct" direction.

But Josh Safran has a message for those fans: It's not about you. His biggest concern is writing a story that feels authentic for the series' Gen Z characters, and its viewers who are still teenagers. During an exclusive interview with Looper, Josh Safran set the record straight about what he calls the "Gossip Girl" "nontroversy."

Setting the record straight

On the "Gossip Girl" fans who have expressed disappointment that the show is tackling issues like privilege, race, and gender, Josh Safran was quick to set the record straight. "Well, you've seen the episodes, so I think you can see that that quote was taken out of context," he explained. "The girls go pretty hard on each other in Episode 4, specifically. So, I think this is actually a nontroversy, sort of much ado about nothing. That quote — actually the quote that was attributed to me — was actually the author of the article's quote and not something I actually said." Someone writing copy for a fictional malicious Gossip Girl would know all too well how easily statements can get warped by fans for drama. Gossip Girl would love this spectacle.

Safran continued, "I did say that the kids wrestle with their privilege more, but I did not say that they don't abuse it. It would be completely incorrect to do a story about teenagers in 2021 and pretend like they don't know about how much money they have and their privilege." 

So, we'll still be getting lavish fashion shows, wardrobes that cost more than most houses, and a heavy dose of privilege. Don't worry, "Gossip Girl" fans. 

New Gen Z audience, who dis?

Given that the updated "Gossip Girl" features Gen Z characters, Safran was adamant about what the Gen Z audience cares about and wants to see. He noted, "So, I mean frankly, I think most of the people weighing in on that are not the age of the characters. And I think anyone who has been on TikTok for more than 30 seconds understands that kids these days don't want to see [Kylie] Jenner say, 'My car cost $3 million.'"

"They want to see the car, and they know that she has the car, but they don't want her to see or hear her go like, 'Ooh, look at this $3 million car I bought.," he clarified. "So, that is something that happened. But I remember, there was an influencer who posted how much their car costs, and the fans weren't like, 'Don't buy a fancy car.' They understood how much money she had, that it was just don't flaunt to the price. That is what Gen Z is talking about now." 

"So, I'm sorry I make a show for Gen Z, who has those conversations," Safran said. "I'm not making the show for Millennials that are like, 'Oh no, woke is bad' ... and also because we see in the show and the characters may be woke, but they still do terrible things. We'll be dealing with rich people problems, too."

Fans can tune into the first episode of the "Gossip Girl" reboot, now streaming on HBO Max — with subsequent episodes airing weekly. If you're behind on the original show, the streaming service is serving up the entire series.