Matthew Perry has issued an apology after causing intense backlash online for his comments about Keanu Reeves.
Earlier this week, several excerpts from Perry’s forthcoming memoir — Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing – were published online. Media such as Variety and The New York Post published sections where the Friends star appears to point to fellow actor Keanu Reeves.
In an excerpt, Perry reflects on the death of her former co-star River Phoenix, who died in 1993 from a drug overdose, asking why “original thinkers” and “talented” people like Phoenix and Heath Ledger are no longer alive, but Reeves yes.
“River was a beautiful man, inside and out; he turned out to be too beautiful for this world. It always seems to be the really talented kids who fall for it,” Perry writes.
“Why do original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us? River was a better actor than me; I was more fun. But I certainly held my own in our scenes, no small thing, when I look back decades later,” he says.
If that line wasn’t weird enough, the 53-year-old references the same sentiment later in the book, this time mourning the death of comedian Chris Farley.
“His illness had progressed faster than mine. (Also, she had a healthy fear of the word ‘heroin,’ a fear we didn’t share.) I punched a hole in Jennifer Aniston’s dressing room wall when I found out. Keanu Reeves walks among us”, he writes again.
Perry’s intent behind the dig remains unclear, however his comments sparked a huge backlash online, with hundreds of Twitter users coming to Reeves’ defense.
“Mathew Perry has been in a major media blitz lately to promote his book, and dude, he just shot down all the momentum and goodwill by attacking Keanu Reeves: Don’t attack Keanu,” one reviewer wrote. “nasty job, matthew.”
“This is such a fucked up thing to say,” someone else added, noting that Perry’s words were particularly insensitive given that Reeves and Phoenix were close friends.
Several others noted that it appeared that Perry had chosen Reeves’s name as an “easy joke”.
Amid the backlash, several public figures, including lynda carter and Rachel Zegler also showed their love for Reeves, with the latter saying she’s “personally thrilled to have Keanu Reeves walking among us.”
And as criticism continued to mount online, Perry issued an apology, admitting she made a “mistake.”
“I’m actually a huge Keanu fan,” the actor told People in a statement on Wednesday. “I just picked a random name, my mistake. I apologize.”
He went on to say, “I should have used my own name instead.”
Aside from his comments about other actors, Perry’s memoir has garnered a lot of attention for its candid revelations about his own decades-long struggles with addiction.
Reflecting on his drug and alcohol use, Perry reveals that his addiction led to a series of medical complications, including a two-week stint on life support, a burst colon, and a total of 14 surgeries on his stomach.
In an excerpt obtained by the New York Times, Perry recalls being taken to a treatment center after filming a beloved 2001 episode of Friends, in which his character, Chandler Bing, gets married.
“I married Monica and was taken back to the treatment center, at the highest point of my life. Friendsthe high point of my career, the iconic moment on the iconic show: in a van driven by a sober technician,” writes Perry.
According to Perry, his famous Friends co-stars had confronted him about his drinking, and Jennifer Aniston informed him, “in a strange but loving way”, that she and the rest of the cast could tell he was struggling.
In a recent interview with People, Perry described himself as “a pretty healthy guy” who is “grateful to be alive.”
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