‘Friends’ Co-Creator Embarrassed by Beloved Show’s Lack of Diversity
Co-creator of Friends Marta Kauffman regrets the show's lack of diversity.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Kauffman revealed she feels "embarrassed" about the lack of diversity the show had when it aired between 1994 and 2004.
"I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years," Kauffman expressed. "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."
To rectify the show's lack of diverse casting and representation, Kauffman recently pledged a $4 million donation to Brandeis University. The funds will be put toward an endowed professorship in the African and African American Studies Department.
The professorship is aimed at providing support for distinguished scholars with an emphasis on "the study of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora."
Additionally, the donation will help in the recruitment of more academics, as well as in the creation of “new opportunities” for students.
In a statement, Ron Liebowitz, the president of Kauffman’s alma mater, revealed the donation will assist multiple generations of students.
"It is the first endowed professorship in the program, which means it will ensure the study of African and African American culture, history, and politics for generations of Brandeis students—something more critical than ever," he explained. "We are so grateful to Marta for her generosity and vision."
Friends wrapped its original NBC run back in 2004. A reunion special featuring the main cast was released on HBO Max in 2021.