Doesn’t Jennifer Aniston Get Tired of Her Own ‘Back in the Olden Days’ Bit?

Months after her bizarre “cancel culture” take, Aniston has (rightfully) annoyed more people with dismissive comments about intimacy coordinators.

Celebrities
Doesn’t Jennifer Aniston Get Tired of Her Own ‘Back in the Olden Days’ Bit?
Photo:Axelle/Bauer-Griffin (Getty Images)

Continuing to prove the transition from 90s stardom to the year of our lord 2023 isn’t always a smooth one, Jennifer Aniston has managed to ruffle more feathers with her recent comments about intimacy coordinators—professionals who help choreograph, supervise, and ensure everyone’s comfortable during the filming of intimate scenes.

Speaking with Variety about her work on The Morning Show, Aniston recalled her reaction to being offered the support of an intimacy coordinator for her sex scene with Jon Hamm: “I’m from the olden days, so I was like, ‘What does that mean?’ They said, ‘Where someone asks you if you’re OK,’ and I’m like, ‘Please, this is awkward enough!’” Aniston said. “We’re seasoned—we can figure this one out.”

Well, intimacy coordinators actually do quite a bit more than ask actors in the innately vulnerable position of filming a sexual scene if they’re OK, but sure, Jen. Earlier this year, two intimacy coordinators explained to Jezebel how they help bridge the director’s vision with the personal boundaries of the actors, and ensure that actors—especially young or less powerful actors who are more vulnerable to exploitation—feel safe. “When we’re inviting agreement and consent in all these areas, it means we can all work openly, creatively, feeling empowered,” one intimacy coordinator said. “That place of feeling safe and thus free creates really beautiful, intimate content.”

Aniston didn’t say anything overtly disparaging about intimacy coordinators like, say, Sean Bean’s deeply disappointing comments last year. But the insinuation here is that intimacy coordinators are unnecessary, and “seasoned,” tougher actors don’t need them. Which… is a fairly insensitive thing to suggest, and ironic given that The Morning Show—whose first season grappled with workplace sexual misconduct—was conceived as a response to MeToo.

But Aniston seems determined to stick to this “back in my day” ethos about the fragility and annoyingness of our new world, and its ostensibly impossible codes of conduct that… don’t seem to have negatively impacted her or her career in any way. Her rejection of intimacy coordinators, because she’s “seasoned” and “Jon [Hamm] was such a gentleman, always,” extends from the same well of apparent disdain for perceived culture shifts.

Though, of all stars who would invoke the “olden days” to shrug off the work of trained professionals facilitating a safe workspace, I’m not exactly surprised it’s Jen. In March, Aniston mused about how Friends—which remains wildly popular, widely streamed, and had a reunion just in 2021—would be “canceled” today. In August, she declared that she’s “so over cancel culture” without articulating what she thinks it is, or whether she believes serial sexual harassers are still entitled to power and popularity. “I probably just got canceled by saying that. I just don’t understand what it means… Is there no redemption?” Aniston said at the time. “I don’t put everybody in the Harvey Weinstein basket.” OK, well, no one’s doing that, except to accused sex pests, but thanks, Jen…

Intimacy coordinators say the demand for their work rose dramatically around the late 2010s when MeToo shook the entertainment industry. Actresses like Emma Thompson, Jameela Jamil, and Rachel Zegler—who filmed intimacy scenes in West Side Story at just 18—have said their presence on set makes all the difference. There’s no need to glorify the “olden days” when we’re clearly working toward something better.

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