‘Friends’ Creator Atones for Sitcom’s Lack of Diversity by Pledging $4 Million to African-American Studies Department

David Bjerke/NBCU Photo Bank/JC Olivera/FilmMagic
David Bjerke/NBCU Photo Bank/JC Olivera/FilmMagic

If you’re a Hollywood elite facing the wrath of the diversity mob, a cool $4 million judiciously dispersed can buy you a lot of redemption.

Friends creator Marta Kauffman has atoned for the sitcom’s lack of diversity by pledging $4 million to her alma mater, Brandeis University, to establish an endowed professorship in the school’s African and African American studies department.

The result: glowing mainstream media coverage and social media feedback.

In a mea culpa with the Los Angeles Times, Marta Kauffman prostrated herself before the diversity police, saying she is “embarrassed” by the lack of minority characters in Friends.

“I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years,” Kauffman told the newspaper. “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. ”

“The One with the Football” Episode 6 — (l-r) David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox Arquette as Monica Geller, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green. (Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank)

Kauffman pinpointed her epiphany to the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020.

“It was after what happened to George Floyd that I began to wrestle with my having bought into systemic racism in ways I was never aware of,” she explained. “That was really the moment that I began to examine the ways I had participated. I knew then I needed to course-correct.”

But now that she has made the $4 million donation, Kauffman appears to be feeling better about the whole situation.

“I’ve gotten nothing but love. 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. I’ve gotten a lot of ‘It’s about time.’ Not in a mean way. It’s just people acknowledging it was long overdue,” she said.

Friends has faced criticism in recent years for its all-white cast of characters and relative paucity of minority guest stars. Producers attempted to assuage the diversity mob  by stuffing last year’s HBO Max special Friends: The Reunion with special appearances by Mindy Kaling, Malala Yousafzai, and K-pop group BTS.

As Breitbart News reported, WarnerMedia allowed sections of the special to be censored in China in part over the CCP’s dislike of guest star Lady Gaga, who has publicly supported the Dalai Lama.

Kauffman hasn’t publicly commented about the Chinese censorship.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at dng@breitbart.com


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