‘Friends’ co-creator Marta Kauffman is apologizing in a big way.

Marta is addressing the show’s lack of diversity. Friends, which ran from 1994 to 2004, has been called out for featuring very little diversity throughout its 10-season run.

Now, Marta has announced a donation of $4 million to her alma mater, Brandeis University, in the African and African-American studies department of the school. 

The Marta F. Kauffman ’78 Professorship In African and African American Studies “will support a distinguished scholar with a concentration in the study of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora” and “assist the department to recruit more expert scholars and teachers, map long-term academic and research priorities and provide new opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary scholarship.”

Marta shared that the criticism directed at the series was “difficult and frustrating,” and said:

“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.

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.”

She went on to say:

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

Marta said about the reaction she and her donation have 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.”

 

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