‘Friends’ Creator Marta Kauffman Regrets Not Doing More For Diversity

Friends and Grace and Frankie creator Marta Kauffman got emotional during an ATX TV panel for female showrunners.

“I wish I knew then what I know today,” she said through tears, according to Page Six. “Sorry, I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would’ve made very different decisions.”

She continued, “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? 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 has been widely criticized over the years for its lack of diversity. In fact, David Schwimmer told The Guardian earlier this year, “I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color.”

A Black Lady Sketch Show creator Robin Thede responded to Marta by saying, “You guys are just as much a part of systemic racism as well because it’s a system. That’s what I keep telling people.”

Robin continued, “It’s not one person being racist ruining everything, it’s a system that was set up by racists to encourage and teach racism and disguise it. No one was supposed to know it was wrong, that was the point. We were supposed to look like we were yelling for no reason. We were supposed to look like kneeling was an offense to the flag and not a cry to stop killing us. We’re supposed to be made to look bad and now people know better and when you know better, you do better and that’s all that people are asking for.”

Hey, everything is an evolution — including Hollywood’s journey toward more diversity and inclusion.