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Thursday, August 11, 2022

‘Friends’ creator apologizes for lack of diversity with $4M pledge

While “Friends” premiered in 1994 to overnight success, the sitcom was also rightly criticized for its apparent lack of diversity. Co-creator Marta Kaufman initially dismissed her response as “difficult and disappointing” but has since felt so “embarrassed” that she promised $4 million to Brandeis University, she said in an interview on Wednesday. told The Los Angeles Times.

Kaufman’s donation will fund a thriving chair in the Department of African and African American Studies at his alma mater, one of the oldest in the United States.

“I’ve learned a lot over the past 20 years,” Kaufman said. “It’s not easy to admit and admit guilt. It hurts to look at yourself in the mirror. I’m ashamed I didn’t know better 25 years ago.”

Kaufman turned 38 when “Friends” premiered on NBC on September 22, 1994. Despite it being set in New York City, he and co-creator David Crane had curated an entirely white cast of six lead characters who rarely interacted with black. , Brown, or Asian people.

Still, according to Screen Rant, “Friends” attracted 16.9 million viewers by the end of season one.

Aisha Tyler (Right) Played One Of The Few Recurring Characters Of Color.
Aisha Tyler (right) played one of the few recurring characters of color.

Kaufman felt that his new phenomenon was being singled out among the flood of other all-white sitcoms at the time. However, the 2020 killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests forced Kaufman to re-evaluate his place in the framework of America’s systemic racism.

“It took me a long time to understand how I internalized systemic racism,” she said. “I’m trying really hard to be an ally, a racist. And it seemed like a way for me to participate in the conversation from a white woman’s point of view.

Despite the show’s 10-year finale in 2004, “Friends” remained a cornerstone of American sitcom culture. Thanks to syndication and streaming, it also curated a global audience, which the cast and crew celebrated during last year’s Netflix special, “Friends: The Reunion.”

To fund the “Marta F. Kaufman ’78 Professorship in African and African American Studies,” the university said in a statement that it will support “a distinguished scholar with a concentration in the study of African and African peoples and cultures and the diaspora.”

Kaufman'S Donation Will Lead To The Appointment Of A Professor In The Department Of African And African American Studies At Her Alma Mater, Brandeis University.
Kaufman’s donation will lead to the appointment of a professor in the Department of African and African American Studies at her alma mater, Brandeis University.

Amanda Edwards via Getty Images

While Kaufman’s co-creator Kevin Bright has been firm in his casting choices and said he “would have been crazy not to hire those six actors”, Kaufman prides himself in reassuring – and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. has been found.

“I’ve got nothing but love,” Kaufman told the outlet. “It’s been amazing. It surprised me somewhat, because I didn’t expect this news to be so widespread. I’ve got a flood of emails and texts and posts that are nothing but helpful. I get a lot ‘It’s about time.'”

“Not in a mean way. It’s just people admitting that it was long overdue.”

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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