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Friends Co-Creator Marta Kauffman Admits She 'Didn't Do Enough' For Diversity

Friends Co-Creator Marta Kauffman Admits She 'Didn't Do Enough' For Diversity

Marta Kauffman, one of the co-creators of Friends, has admitted she didn't do enough to promote diversity on her shows.

The 63-year-old writer was taking part in the virtual panel as part of 2020's ATX TV Festival when somebody asked her what she wishes she had known when she first started out in the TV business.

As reported by the BBC, she said: "I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would've made very different decisions."

She added: "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?

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Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman has admitted she 'didn't do enough' to promote diversity on her shows. Credit: PA
Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman has admitted she 'didn't do enough' to promote diversity on her shows. Credit: PA

"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."

Although Friends remains one of the most popular sitcoms ever made, in more recent years it has been criticised - even by some of its cast members - for its lack of racial diversity.

In an interview with The Times back in May, Lisa Kudrow - who played the ever-ditzy Phoebe Buffay - was asked what a modern-day reboot of the programme might look like.

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She answered: "Well, it would not be an all-white cast, for sure."

She later added, however, that it was very much of its time. She said: "To me, it should be looked at as a time capsule, not for what they did wrong."

The cast of Friends have criticised the show's lack of racial diversity. Credit: NBC
The cast of Friends have criticised the show's lack of racial diversity. Credit: NBC

David Schwimmer - who played Ross Geller in the series - went a little further when asked a similar question in a recent Guardian interview, admitting he knew it was a problem.

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He said: "Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends. But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of colour.

"One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part."

The cast of Friends is set to reunite for a one-off unscripted special on HBO Max, in which they will reminisce about their time on the series. Production, however, has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Featured Image Credit: NBC

Topics: TV and Film, US Entertainment, Friends

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]