With rumors of a third Sex and the City movie comes yet another cycle of talking about Sex and the City. This time around, however, people aren't not just airing old complaints about the show's implausibility or moans as to why we even need a third movie. No, thanks to Mr. Big himself, the actor Chris Noth, there's a whole new—and yet very old—issue at hand.

In an interview with Australian news site News.com.au, Noth was asked about feeling typecast and whether he's managed to avoid being pigeonholed as a Mr. Big forever. After admitting he could never "escape" that image, he went on to describe both Big and his current The Good Wife character Peter Florrick as "powerful" but also "flawed." Then he backtracked that a bit: Big wasn't a wreck. He was simply who he said he was. Series protagonist Carrie Bradshaw, on the other hand:

"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."

It's as if Noth watched a different version of Sex and the City than everyone else did. In the HBO series, Big dated and slept with a cornucopia of other women. When he became unsatisfied with his wife, he cheated with Carrie. According to Noth, the with matters—he never cheated on her. Which allows Big to remain an upstanding guy who was what he was, and makes Carrie a "whore." Right.

Let's play Noth's game for a moment and assume Mr. Big never slept with any woman other than Carrie and his wives. (Never mind that there's evidence to the contrary in the series. We're playing a game.) Carrie did indeed have several boyfriends—even some one-night-stands, the horror—and definitely enjoyed sex. So: Does that make her a whore?

Of course it doesn't. Chris Noth is offering a textbook case of "slut-shaming," holding women who have casual sex to a different standard than men who do. This type of thing is everywhere: in the tech world, regarding sexting teens. It's in colleges, where women slut-shame one another. And of course, it's in the national debate over birth control, when a radio host can call a young woman a slut for taking a stand. The cycle is inescapable.

But Noth didn't just shame Carrie Bradshaw. He also used her strength and intelligence to make shaming her okay. "She was a strong, smart woman," he said. Which sounds like: That crafty woman! She knew what she was doing. She knew how to get around those men. So calling her a "whore," a term with a long and often ugly history, is somehow okay?

Readings of the Sex and the City women—and of Carrie Bradshaw specifically—as slutty are nothing new. The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum noted as much in her 2013 essay "Difficult Women." In it, she writes, "With the exception of Charlotte (Kristin Davis), men didn’t find them likable: there were endless cruel jokes about Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Carrie as sluts, man-haters, or gold-diggers." Making a series about four women's sex lives is like putting a bullseye in front of sexists. What's shocking in this case is that the sexist appears to be the male lead of what was truly a progressive series in 1998.

To be fair, it's fairly clear Noth was trying to be funny. But in this case, his joke helped keep an old, destructive tradition alive. It goes far beyond just Big and Carrie.