Friends creator Marta Kauffman says she “didn’t do enough” to promote diversity on sitcom

"I would’ve made very different decisions."

Friends cast

Marta Kauffman has said she “wish[es]” she’d done more to promote diversity during her career in television.

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Speaking on a 2020 ATX TV… From the Couch virtual panel, Friends creator Kauffman said that she would have made “very different decisions,” when asked what she would have done differently.

“I wish I knew then what I know today,” she said, before apologising for choking up. “Sorry, I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would’ve made very different decisions. 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?”

She continued, “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.”

The hit sitcom has often been criticised for its lack of onscreen diversity, something several cast members have spoken out about in the years since.

Asked earlier this year what a modern-day reboot would look like, Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) told The Sunday Times: “Well, it would not be an all-white cast, for sure.”

Friends
NBCUniversal

David Schwimmer (Ross), addressed the issue in a 2018 interview with The Guardian. “Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends,” he said. “But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of colour.”

In the show’s ninth season, both Joey and Ross date black palaeontology professor Charlie (Aisha Tyler), whose record of dating Nobel Prize winners spooks the insecure Ross.

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