'Friends' Co-Creator Apologizes for Show's Lack of Diversity

Friends cast
©Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Over 15 years ago, fans bid farewell to NBC's beloved comedy Friends, and in that time the show has retained a huge following, but some of its flaws have also been called out, including the show's blatant lack of diversity.

In a virtual ATX TV Festival panel discussing diversity in the writers room, series co-creator Marta Kauffman addressed this issue alongside fellow panelists Robin Thede (A Black Lady Sketch Show), Liz Feldman (Dead to Me) and Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries).

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According to Deadline, Kauffman said, "I wish I knew then what I knew today, I would have made very different decisions. We've always encouraged people of diversity in our company, but I didn't do enough."

Kauffman was also a writer and executive producer on the show, which aired from 1994 through 2004 and followed Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Ross (David Schwimmer), Monica (Courteney Cox), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) — six friends living in New York City.

Friends cast

(Credit: ©Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

"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? That's something I wish I knew when I started showrunning, but all the way up through last year," added Kauffman who also serves as showrunner on Netflix's Grace and Frankie.

The show featured a predominantly white cast with few people of color represented throughout the series' run. Kauffman's remarks come shortly after the show's HBO Max arrival, where it will stream exclusively for the foreseeable future.

HBO Max was also set to hold a Friends reunion special earlier this year, but has postponed the event, which will include Kauffman, the cast and others and will be filmed at a later date.

Friends, Streaming now, HBO Max