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‘Friends’ sitcom creator mocked for pledging $4 million in reparations for her show’s lack of diversity

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 11: Writer and producer Marta Kauffman attends the Women In Entertainment's 4th Annual Summit at the Skirball Cultural Center on October 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Marta Kauffman became the subject of social media mockery after a Wednesday L.A. Times profile on her revealed she was pledging $4 million to atone for her famous series’ lack of diversity among its main cast. 

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The L.A. Times piece on Kauffman read, "Despite [Friends] success, though, the comedy was repeatedly criticized for its lack of diversity, with numerous observers wondering how the characters existed in a predominantly white environment even though the series was set in New York City."

As the outlet noted, Kauffman initially rebuffed these criticisms, calling them "difficult and frustrating." She also expressed that she felt the show was being "unfairly singled out."

"But now, Kauffman says, she gets it," stated the L.A. Times, adding that she "had a dramatic change of heart, and she now feels that the criticisms about ‘Friends’ were fair."

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Apparently, Kauffman’s show wasn’t more inclusive because "of her internalization of the systemic racism that plagues our society." She had been influenced by "systemic racism" and didn’t see it clearly until the "aftermath of the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the worldwide protest movement that erupted around it," the outlet explained.

As such, the piece noted, "That reckoning was the catalyst for her decision to pledge $4 million to her alma mater, the Boston area’s Brandeis University, to establish an endowed professorship in the school’s African and African American studies department."

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In a Zoom interview with the L.A. Times, Kauffman insisted she "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."

Read more here.