'Friends' Creator Apologizes, Pledges $4 Million In Penance For Casting All-White Characters

Brittany M. Hughes | June 30, 2022
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The creator of the popular '90s sitcom "Friends" says she's donating $4 million to social justice causes as an apology for not including a more diverse cast in the now nearly 30-year-old show.

Despite the show's efforts to weave in plenty of LGBTQ diversity, Marta Kauffman says she's "embarrassed" at having cast six white people in "Friends," which aired in 1994.

“I’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years,” said the now 65-year-old Kauffman, who was only 38 when the show first aired. “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.”

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In penance, she's forking over $4 million to Brandeis University, her alma mater, to fund an endowed chair in the African and African American studies department.

The show, which helped launch the careers of Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox, didn't exactly shy away from hitting on touchy social subjects not always discussed on shows at the time, including unplanned pregnancy. It was one of the first to feature a lesbian wedding, and even incorporated a recurring transgender character - the biological father of one of the primary characters - in later seasons.

Despite the supposed offensiveness of the cast being comprised of six pretty white people (including an Italian and two ethnically Jewish characters), the 10-season show remains one of the most popular and iconic shows of all time, with the final episode pulling a whopping 52.46 million viewers.

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