A 'Friends' Co-Creator Just Apologized For The Lack Of Diversity & She Made A Big Donation

The one where she admits there was a problem.

Characters from 'Friends.'
Global Staff Writer

Characters from 'Friends.'

Friends might be one of the most popular sitcoms of all-time, but the New York-set show had a pretty obvious shortage of BIPOC characters -- and one of its creators finally sees the problem.

Marta Kauffman, who co-created Friends with David Crane in 1994, says she now feels embarrassed by the lack of diversity on the show, after years of trying to defend it against those criticisms.

Kauffman recently told the Los Angeles Times that it used to be "frustrating" when she'd be called out for the show's lack of Black characters, but now she sees what everyone is talking about.

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

But she's not just saying sorry. Kauffman is now putting some of her Friends money into fixing the issue.

She recently pledged $4 million to Brandeis University in Boston, in order to help the school "support a distinguished scholar with a concentration in the study of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora."

"It took me a long time to begin to understand how I internalized systemic racism," Kauffman said in a news release from the school earlier in June. "I’ve been working really hard to become an ally, an anti-racist."

Her money set up an endowment called the Marta F. Kauffman ’78 Professorship in African and African American Studies.

“I’ve gotten nothing but love," she told the L.A. Times. "It’s been amazing. It surprised me to some extent because I didn’t expect the news to go this wide. I’ve gotten a flood of emails and texts and posts that have been nothing but supportive."

She added that she's "gotten a lot of ‘It’s about time.’ Not in a mean way. It’s just people acknowledging it was long overdue.”

Kauffman also shared that her personal turning point came in 2020, when the murder of George Floyd sparked national conversations about race and inclusivity in the United States.

Friends had faced criticism over its lack of diversity for many years.

David Schwimmer, who plays Ross, even criticized the show for that in an interview a few years ago.

"I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of colour," he said.

And while the show didn't go that way when it was on, it seems that Kauffman is finally putting her money where her mouth is.

Cata Balzano
Global Staff Writer