‘Friends’ executive producer has no regrets about the show’s all-white cast despite diversity backlash

‘Friends’ executive producer has no regrets about the show’s all-white cast despite diversity backlash
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Kevin Bright, the executive producer of Friends, said that he doesn't have any regrets about the show's all-white cast, despite criticism surrounding the evident lack of diversity.

When asked if it was a conscious decision to hire an "all-white heteronormative" cast, Bright began by talking about the roles of Chandler and Phoebe and how the team picked the "two best actors."

"There are different priorities today, and so much has changed. There was no social media when Friends was on the air," Bright told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview.

He also noted that shows today have "to be reflective of the ways society truly is" and that the show represented an experience that he and the creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane may have encountered when "young" and in "New York."

Bright further said that it "was not the goal," nor did they "intend to have an all-white cast."

Despite this, Bright said he didn't have any regrets "other than hindsight."

"I would have been insane not to hire those six actors," Bright continued.

Kauffman also told The Hollywood Reporter that there were probably a "hundred things" she would have done differently.

"I've talked about it in the past, and I do have very strong feelings about my participation in a system, but it comes down to I didn't know what I didn't know," she said.

Since the show hit television screens in 1994, it received backlash for the lack of diversity and LGBT+ and fat characters being the subject of jokes.

David Schwimmer, who played mild-mannered Ross on the show, chatted with The Guardian about the criticism in 2020.

He said that he knew about the cast's lack of diversity and "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," he continued.

He also suggested “all-Asian” and "all-Black Friends reboot.

People believed that Friends concept was similar to Living Single, a show that aired in 1993, which was a year before Friends. It chronicled the lives of six young Black professionals in Brooklyn. It starred Queen Latifah, Kim Fields, and Erika Alexander.

Even Alexander of Living Single weighed in on Schwimmer's commentary.

Hey ⁦@DavidSchwimmer ⁦@FriendsTV⁩ - r u seriously telling me you've never heard of #LivingSingle? We invented the template!" she said in part.

Schwimmer responded to her, saying he was a "fan of Living Single" and "meant no disrespect."

TV host Jawn Murray commented on the situation, saying the show didn't "reflect him or his friends."

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