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‘Friends’ co-creator regrets lack of racial diversity in TV show

/ 04:44 PM June 10, 2020
Friends

Image: courtesy of Warner Bros TV via AFP Relaxnews

The co-creator of the hit sitcom “Friends” has expressed regret for the lack of racial diversity in the TV show.

American TV producer Marta Kauffman, who created “Friends” with David Crane, owned up to her mistakes and said that she would have made “very different decisions” about the show, New York Post reported last Sunday, June 7.

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Kauffman spoke about “Friends” during ATX Television Festival’s virtual event “ATX TV… from the Couch,” where she was part of a panel of female showrunners. The three-day virtual event began on June 5 and ended on June 7.

During the event, Kauffman was asked what she wished she knew when she started her career. The producer, who also created the comedy series “Grace and Frankie”, teared up as she apologized for the lack of diversity in “Friends”.

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“Sorry, I just wish I knew then what I know now,” she was quoted as saying.

“I mean we’ve always encouraged people of diversity in our company, but I didn’t do enough and now all I can think about is what can I do?” she added. “What can I do differently? How can I run my show in a new way? And that’s something I not only wish I knew when I started showrunning, but I wish I knew all the way up through last year.”

The show ran for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004. It has been previously criticized for its lack of diversity in its cast, according to the report.

“Friends” star Lisa Kudrow, who gave life to Phoebe Buffay in the sitcom, said that if the show was made today, “it would not be an all-white cast, for sure,” Insider cited The Sunday Times in its report on June 8. Kudrow, however, defended “Friends” by claiming that it was “progressive” for its time and should be viewed as a “time capsule, not for what they did wrong.”

Actor David Schwimmer, who played Ross Geller, admitted that he was aware of the lack of diversity in the show, The Guardian reported on Jan. 27. To address the issue, for years Schwimmer campaigned his character to date women of color. This manifested in Ross’s dating history which included an Asian woman (Julie played by Lauren Tom) and an African American woman (Charlie Wheeler played by Aisha Tyler).

Kauffman’s apology came amid the series of protests against racism and police brutality in the United States. The reemergence of the Black Lives Matter movement came after the death of African American citizen George Floyd at the hands of police last May. Cha Lino/JB

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TAGS: David Schwimmer, Friends, Lisa Kudrow, Marta Kauffman, racial diversity, racism
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