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‘Friends’ Creator Issues $4M Apology for ‘Lack of Diversity’

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Friends creator Marta Kauffman has spoken out on the lack of diversity in the show, revealing that she feels “embarrassed” that she “didn’t know better.”

She has apologized, offering $4 million to show her regrets.

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Now, we were first introduced to the Friends gang in 1994.

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Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, and Joey burst onto our screens in September 1994.

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It was an instant hit.

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The comedy followed the friends, who live in the same New York apartment block, as they navigated through their mid-twenties.

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We got to know the ins and outs of their everyday life…

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And in a way, they became our own friends… It’s corny, but it’s true.

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The show navigated some serious topics…

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Ross and Rachel were not on a break. Period.

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There were many iconic moments throughout the show’s ten seasons.

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Rachel’s English trifle, Chandler’s nubbin, the time Joey got a Thanksgiving turkey stuck on his head…

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The list could go on.

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Despite the show coming to an end in 2004, it stands as one of the most-watched shows on Netflix, and its fanbase is as strong as ever.

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They all embodied their characters completely.

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And none of us can quite see them in anything else.

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The gang earned a lot of money during those 10 years…

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Allegedly, the cast was each on an eye-watering $1 million salary per episode in the later seasons of the show – a history-breaking figure.

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Despite everyone’s love for the show, since it ended, many have called out the creator for the lack of diversity.

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Kauffman has finally addressed the issue, “I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years,” she said in a recent Zoom interview. “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,” she added.

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Greenwich Village in New York City, where the 6 characters lived is known for being a diverse and famously gay area.

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And throughout the show’s run, there were very few black characters.

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“I knew then I needed to course-correct,” Kauffman has since explained.

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And in an attempt to make up for her past mistakes, she has pledged to donate $4 million to Brandeis University’s African and African American studies department.

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This “will support a distinguished scholar with a concentration in the study of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora.”

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And “assist the department to recruit more expert scholars and teachers, map long-term academic and research priorities and provide new opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary scholarship,” the university announced.

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“It took me a long time to begin to understand how I internalized systemic racism,” Kauffman told Brandeis.

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“I’ve been working really hard to become an ally, an anti-racist. And this seemed to me to be a way that I could participate in the conversation from a white woman’s perspective.” 

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She added about her decision to donate the large sum: “In this case, I’m finally, literally putting my money where my mouth is,” Kauffman said. “I feel I was finally able to make some difference in the conversation.”

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“I have to say, after agreeing to this and when I stopped sweating, it didn’t unburden me, but it lifted me up. But until in my next production, I can do it right. It isn’t over. I want to make sure from now on in every production I do that I am conscious of hiring people of color and actively pursue young writers of color. I want to know I will act differently from now on. And then I will feel unburdened.”

What do you make of her comments?

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