Can A $4-Million Donation Reverse The Lack Of Diversity On ‘Friends’?

“Why were so many people picking on Friends?” was a thought that disturbed Marta Kauffman for the longest time. She and David Crane created a show about a group of friends living their lives together and never understood the backlash that it received. The audience often slammed the show for the lack of diversity in its cast but Kauffman never saw it as a problem until now. 

Earlier, the creator used to feel that the show was unfairly being singled out. She argued that there was too much attention on the “near-absence of Black people and other people of colour. It was difficult and frustrating.” But things changed. The 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the worldwide protest movement that followed was a major catalyst. 

In the last few years, Kauffman feels that the criticism towards the show was adequate. “I’ve 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,” Kauffman said in a Zoom interview. 

This realisation has led her to pledge $4 million to her alma mater, the Boston area’s Brandeis University. The donation will help launch a professorship in the school’s African and African-American studies department. And her decision has been well-received. 

“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 revealed.

The news arrives a little over a year after the cast of Friends reunited for a special on HBO Max. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer got together to reminisce about the iconic show. 

(Featured Image Credits: Twitter)

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