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Friends co-creator: I did not do enough to encourage diversity on show

The co-creator of hit TV comedy Friends said she ‘didn’t do enough’ to encourage diversity on the show (Neil Munns/PA)
The co-creator of hit TV comedy Friends said she ‘didn’t do enough’ to encourage diversity on the show (Neil Munns/PA)

The co-creator of hit TV comedy Friends said she “didn’t do enough” to encourage diversity on the show.

The beloved sitcom remains wildly popular but has been criticised for not featuring more non-white actors.

All six of its main stars were white, as was the majority of the supporting cast.

David Schwimmer
Friends star David Schwimmer has previously lamented the show’s lack of diversity (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Marta Kauffman co-created Friends alongside David Crane and reportedly became tearful when asked what she wished she knew at the beginning of her career.

According to Page Six, she said: “I wish I knew then what I know today. 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?”

Kauffman, who also co-created Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie, added: “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.”

Friends starred Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer as twenty-somethings navigating life and love in New York City.

Speaking to the Guardian last year, Schwimmer, who played Ross Geller, said he was “well aware of the lack of diversity” and pressed producers to introduce women of colour to the show.

He said: “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.”

A Friends reunion special had been set to arrive on the HBO Max streaming service in May, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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