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‘Friends’ Co-Creator, Marta Kauffman, Responds To Criticism Of The Show’s All-White Cast

"I wish I knew then what I know today"

It comes as no surprise that Friends is one of the most loved television shows to come from the ’90s. However, the series has taken its fair share of criticism for its many problematic storylines that would be far from acceptable in 2020.

And with Friends release on Netflix, the series was introduced to an entirely new generation of fans who found an issue with its depiction of the LGBTQ+ community and body-shaming, as well as it’s lack of diversity through its all-white cast, with people of colour only appearing as temporary characters.

While lead cast members have come forward to share their thoughts on the casting choices, it seems that co-creator Marta Kauffman has also come forward to express her regret over her past decisions. 

Marta Kauffman
(Credit: Getty)

Admitting that she failed to do enough to promote diversity on the series, Kauffman became emotional as she spoke of her past decisions, at a 2020 ATX TV From The Couch Virtual Panel. 

“I wish I knew then what I know today,” Kauffman admitted. “Sorry, I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would’ve made very different decisions.”

“We always encouraged people of diversity in our company, but I didn’t do enough,” she added. “And now all I can think about is, ‘What can I do?'”.

However, this isn’t the first time racial diversity in the hit-series has been a topic of discussion. Back in January, David Schwimmer, revealed how he made a “conscious push” for the series to hire more diverse actors.

“I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of colour,” Schwimmer revealed to The Guardian. 

“One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part.”

In consolidation with Schwimmer, co-star Lisa Kudrow, spoke of how casting six white lead cast members simply would have never happened, if the series was made in 2020.

“It would not be an all-white cast, for sure. I’m not sure what else, but to me it should be looked at as a time capsule, not for what they did wrong,” Kudrow revealed to The Times.

“Also, this show thought it was very progressive,” she continued. “There was a guy whose wife discovered she was gay and pregnant, and they raised the child together. We had surrogacy, too. It was, at the time, progressive.”

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