Creator of ’90s hit show ’embarrassed’ by show’s lack of diversity — RT Games & Culture

Overwhelmed with guilt over the hit show’s lack of diversity, co-creator of ’90s sitcom « Friends » Marta Kauffman has pledged $4 million to the African and African-American Studies department at the Brandeis University, she revealed on Wednesday. The money will support an endowed chair at the Boston school.

« I have learned a lot in the last 20 years« , Kauffman told the Los Angeles Times, admitting that she was initially confused and angered by criticism of the sitcom, which features six white people in their twenties living in New York in the 1990s. « Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy. It hurts to look in the mirror.”

Kauffman appears to have found his wits after the 2020 killing of George Floyd, which kicked off a summer of intense and often violent anti-racism protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter. « It was after what happened to George Floyd that I began to struggle with my embrace of systemic racism in a way I had never been aware of.« , she told the outlet. « It was really the moment when I started to examine the ways in which I had participated. I knew then that I had to correct the course.

While the former showrunner said she was relieved to be « finally able to make a difference in the conversation“, she also acknowledged”it is not finishedand said she would make sure that « from now on, in every production that I do, I am aware of hiring people of color and actively seeking young writers of color.”

Kauffman, who described his gift to his alma mater as « put my money where my mouth is“, said his donation was greeted with a”surprising » answer. « I got nothing but love“, she said, describing a”deluge of emails, texts and messages that were nothing but support.

Despite the series’ predominantly white portrayal, Manhattan, where the characters lived, worked, and played, was between 46% and 49% white during the series’ run from 1994 to 2004, while the city as a whole went from 43% white in 1990 to only 35% white in 2000.

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A black fan of the show claimed to have counted every black character to appear in its decade, coming up with just 27 people – most of whom were never given names, with the writer describing them as « the dancer » Where « Mattress King’s delivery man.

Kauffman, co-creator David Crane and director Kevin Bright told The Hollywood Reporter last year that they had no plans to have a « all white cast« when they first populated the show, insisting that they »seen people of all races, religions, colors.”

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