Actors Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie) and Chris Noth (Mr. Big) act in a scene from the HBO television series "Sex and the City" in 2000
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By Eliana Dockterman
October 15, 2014

It’s been 10 years since the finale of Sex and the City, and people are still slut-shaming Carrie.

The latest round of name-calling comes from none other than Mr. Big himself, actor Chris Noth, who now stars as Alicia Florrick’s husband Peter on The Good Wife. In an interview with the Australian news outlet news.com.au, Noth opened up about Carrie and Big’s (toxic) relationship:

Big was powerful because he had a lot of money and he seemed to have the upper hand in the relationship, but emotionally he was a wreck.

Actually, no: he was what he was. One of the things I tell people is that he never tried to pretend he was anything other than what he was. It was [Carrie] who tried to pretend he was something he wasn’t. He was always honest about himself — he never cheated on her. The relationship just didn’t work, and he went on to get married while she went on to … how many boyfriends did she have? She was such a whore! [laughs] There’s a misconception that Carrie was a victim of him, and that’s not the case — she was a strong, smart woman.

Lots of confused messaging there. Let’s start off with the “whore” comment.

Sure, Carrie bedded a lot of guys on Sex in the City (as did Samantha, Miranda and even the primmer Charlotte). But so did Barney on How I Met Your Mother, Don on Mad Men, Joey on Friends, Vince on Entourage, Nick on New Girl, Tony on The Sopranos… the list goes on and on. Hell, even Big is said to have had his fair share of conquests. To single Carrie out is simple sexism.

The conversation gets even more confusing when he goes on to call Carrie a “strong, smart woman.” Sounds like a compliment. And yet, he’s not talking about the way Carrie did her job or took care of her friends. Rather, he’s calling her smart while implying that Carrie was the predator and Big was the victim in the relationship. In reality, they were both terrible to each other.

Look, Chris Noth is probably sick of talking about this show and being associated with a character who’s a flaky, shallow cheat. (News.au.com even notes that the interviewer was expressly forbidden from asking about Sex and the City during the interview but did it anyway.) And he’s far from alone in criticizing Sex and the City’s characters against charges of materialism, selfishness and recklessness–accusations hurled by men and women alike. That still doesn’t make his slut-shaming okay, even if it was a joke.

Say what you want about Sex and the City and Carrie as a character, but what was groundbreaking and interesting about the show was that it presented sex from a woman’s perspective without the judgment. Up until then, that hadn’t really been done. It normalized talking about dating and sex for women in a way that had long existed for men. Without SATC, we wouldn’t have Girls or Broad City or maybe even 3o Rock—shows that were free to talk about sex and relationships (though not necessarily in the same way as Carrie and Samantha did) because of the precedent set by the controversial HBO show.

Despite his “whore” comment, Noth does make some interesting points: Carrie was a seriously flawed character. (The New Yorker‘s Emily Nussbaum has written a brilliant analysis of Carrie as the first female anti-hero before male anti-heroes like Walter White and Don Draper were in vogue.) Carrie deluded herself into thinking Big was something that he wasn’t, and that is a big reason why the relationship initially fell apart. It always felt iffy that Carrie ended up with Big in the end: Aiden was the clear “right” choice, though maybe not the “right” choice for her. Carrie’s final boyfriend, The Russian, played by Mikhail Baryshnikov, felt like a villain the writers created simply to make Big look like a halfway-decent person by comparison.

Noth certainly has a knack for making controversial statements. Now we just wonder what his views are on Alicia Florrick‘s sex life.

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