‘Friends’ co-creator ‘embarrassed’ over show’s lack of diversity, pledges RM17.6mil for African American studies


Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman admitted she is “embarrassed” over the lack of variety within the hit Nineties sitcom, as she hoped to “make some difference” by pledging US$4mil (RM17.6mil) for African American studies.

The American TV writer-producer recalled that she was as soon as bothered by the criticisms on the present, as per her interview with Los Angeles Times on June 29. At the time, she thought Friends was being “unfairly singled out” for the near-absence of Black characters and different folks of color.

Now, Kauffman says she understands the criticisms about Friends and believes they’re truthful. She got here to grasp this after the demise of Black man George Floyd, who died within the palms of the police.

“I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years. Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy,” she was quoted as saying. “It’s painful looking at yourself in the mirror. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know better 25 years ago.”

Given this, Kauffman determined to pledge US$4mil to the African American studies division of her alma mater, Brandeis University in Massachusetts. This will permit the division to recruit extra specialists and lecturers, plan analysis priorities, and supply college students with a possibility to interact in interdisciplinary scholarship, amongst others.

According to Kauffman, she has “gotten nothing but love” since her pledge was introduced.

“I’ve gotten a flood of emails and texts and posts which have been nothing however supportive,” she stated within the interview. “I’ve gotten a lot of ‘It’s about time.’ Not in a mean way. It’s just people acknowledging it was long overdue.”

As for criticisms on the show’s 2021 HBO Max particular Friends: The Reunion and its failure to deal with the illustration difficulty, Kauffman stated she didn’t suppose the reunion was the suitable approach to speak concerning the matter.

“I don’t know how the two were related. And I also don’t know how we could have addressed it in that context of that reunion, going into all the things we did wrong. And there were others,” she was quoted as saying.

Aside from her pledge, Kauffman additionally vowed to “act differently from now on” and push for extra variety in her future initiatives.

“I feel I was finally able to make some difference in the conversation. I have to say, after agreeing to this and when I stopped sweating, it didn’t unburden me, but it lifted me up,” she stated. “[…] I want to make sure from now on in every production I do that I am conscious in hiring people of colour and actively pursue young writers of colour.”

Meanwhile, Kauffman is just not the one Friends alum who has spoken up on points on variety inside the present.

Cast member David Schwimmer, who performs Ross Geller, stated in a 2020 interview with The Guardian that he was “well aware of the lack of diversity.” He added that he even pushed for his character to begin relationship ladies of color.

Friends ran for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004. It stars Schwimmer, Courteney Cox (Monica), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Matthew Perry (Chandler), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) and Matt LeBlanc (Joey). – Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network

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