Lisa Kudrow Responds To Friends Diversity Complaints — Hot Take? Or Spot On??

Lisa Kudrow is speaking out about the lack of diversity on Friends — and her take on the sitch could definitely ruffle some feathers!

Over the years, the cast and creators of Friends have been met with backlash for the lack of people of color on the mega-popular sitcom, but now, Lisa is speaking in defense of the show’s creators, Marta Kauffman and David Crane (top inset), who are both white.

Related: Lisa Kudrow Reveals Son’s ‘Demeaning’ Reaction To Watching Friends!

In a new interview with The Daily Beast on Wednesday, the actress expressed:

“I feel like it was a show created by two people who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college. And for shows especially, when it’s going to be a comedy that’s character-driven, you write what you know. They have no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of color.”

Fair point!

Brandeis is a private liberal arts university outside of Boston where both showrunners attended, FYI. Although The Comeback star is sticking up for the creators’ decision to focus on a core group of white friends, including Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc, she also pointed out another big issue in the industry at the time, saying:

“I think at that time, the big problem that I was seeing was, ‘Where’s the apprenticeship?’”

Very true. Mentorship programs for creatives of color (in front of and behind the camera) would have helped get more BIPOC stories told!

But… is the fact that the creators were white really a good enough excuse not to have had much diversity on the show?? We mean, the series ran for 10 SEASONS from 1994 to 2004. Surely in that decade, they could have hired several writers of color to help develop a wider range of authentic — and diverse — characters! But we guess the execs just weren’t thinking so critically about the problem amid all their success…

That said, it’s not like the show didn’t break boundaries in other areas! In 2020, David told The Guardian he felt the show was revolutionary for the way they depicted sex as well as gay marriage — though they had their weak points when it came to overall inclusion. He reflected:

“The truth is also that show was groundbreaking in its time for the way in which it handled so casually sex, protected sex, gay marriage and relationships. The pilot of the show was my character’s wife left him for a woman and there was a gay wedding, of my ex and her wife, that I attended.”

The 55-year-old actor continued:

“I feel that a lot of the problem today in so many areas is that so little is taken in context. You have to look at it from the point of view of what the show was trying to do at the time. I’m the first person to say that maybe something was inappropriate or insensitive, but I feel like my barometer was pretty good at that time. I was already really attuned to social issues and issues of equality.”

Good to have that perspective!

Related: Danielle Fishel Reveals MASSIVE Pay Disparity On Boy Meets World!

He also revealed that he “campaigned” for his character, Ross Geller, to have serious relationships with women of color, played by Lauren Tom and Aisha Tyler, saying:

“Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends. But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color. 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.”

Kauffman, who also created Netflix’s Grace & Frankie, also told The Los Angeles Times in June that she’s done a lot of soul-searching about her past mistake, sharing:

“It was after what happened to George Floyd that I began to wrestle with my having bought into systemic racism in ways I was never aware of. That was really the moment that I began to examine the ways I had participated. I knew then I needed to course-correct.”

In an effort to right her wrongs, she has made a $4 million donation to Brandeis University’s African and African American studies department, remarking:

“I’m finally, literally putting my money where my mouth is.”

That’s definitely a good first step. We hope she also takes these matters into consideration when making future shows! But what do YOU think, Perezcious readers? Does Lisa have a point?

[Image via Warner Bros. TV/YouTube & Nicky Nelson/Brian To/WENN]

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