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

Marta Kauffman, Friends co-creator, says she’s sorry for the show’s lack of diversity, and pledges $4 million to African American studies.

In a recent interview with Los Angeles Times, Marta Kauffman admitted to feeling “embarrassed” about the lack of diversity among cast members in Friends; the iconic TV sitcom that launched in the ’90s and became a timeless classic in all our hearts.

After apologising about the issue, the co-creator pledged $4 million to African American studies: “I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know better 25 years ago,” she said.

Friends creator
Marta Kauffman. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

The $4 million pledge was made to Boston’s Brandeis University; Mata Kauffman’s alma mater. The objective of the pledge was to develop a professorship in the institution’s African and African American studies department.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the Friends co-creator has been called out for lack of diversity. It has been an ongoing point of criticism about the show for a number of years. However, Marta declares her “change of heart” on the seriousness of this matter followed George Floyd’s death in 2020, which was instigated by the Minneapolis police department and triggered global protests.

Credit: NBC / Getty Images

She told the Los Angeles Times, “I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years. 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.”

Kauffman continued, “It took me a long time to begin to understand how I internalised systemic racism. 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.”