Mindy Kaling was an integral part of the U.S. adaptation of The Office throughout the sitcom’s entire (and incredibly successful) run, where she, at any given time, served as a writer, executive producer, director, or co-star. (Remember, Kelly Kapoor is likely in jail!) In a new interview with Elle, though, Kaling relayed a story from her early years of working on the show, where the Television Academy tried to strip her of a producer’s credit when The Office was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. The Academy’s reasoning, Kaling said, was that there were “too many” producers to be considered, but only cut her, the sole woman of color at the time, from the list. “They made me, not any of the other producers, fill out a whole form and write an essay about all my contributions as a writer and a producer,” Kaling explained. “I had to get letters from all the other male, white producers saying that I had contributed, when my actual record stood for itself.” Her name was ultimately included on the list, but the show lost to 30 Rock that year.
In a Twitter thread written after the interview was published, Kaling said that she was reluctant to finally discuss the incident in public, because “The Office was one of the greatest creative experiences of my life.” She also disputed the Television Academy’s statement to the Los Angeles Times, which said “no one person was singled out” from consideration at the time. “Respectfully, the Academy’s statement doesn’t make any sense,” Kaling added. “I was singled out. There were other Office writer-performer-producers who were not cut from the list. Just me. The most junior person, and woman of color. Easiest to dismiss. Just sayin’.”
Kaling would go on to write (or co-write) 18 episodes for The Office, which included fan favorites such as “Ben Frankin,” “Hot Girl,” and “The Dundies.”