When Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman has reflected on the sitcom since its conclusion in 2004, she’s mostly discussed the historic payday the cast and crew received, or, in a moment of candor, the regrets she’s had with certain plotlines that haven’t aged well. Only some cast members have addressed the lack of diversity throughout Friends’ ten season run, but now, during an interview at the virtual ATX Television Festival, Kauffman admitted that the show’s very white version of New York City was a mistake, and she regrets not doing more to showcase diverse talent. “I wish I knew then what I knew today, I would have made very different decisions,” she said, according to Deadline. “We’ve always encouraged people of diversity in our company, but I didn’t do enough. 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.”
Earlier this year, Friends stars David Schwimmer and Lisa Kudrow discussed the show’s lack of diversity for the first time in separate interviews. Schwimmer said that he heavily advocated for his character, Ross, to date women of color. “I was well aware of the lack of diversity,” Schwimmer said in January. “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.” In May, Kudrow went a step further, saying that Friends would be a “completely different” show if it aired today. “It would not be an all-white cast, for sure,” she said. “I’m not sure what else, but to me, it should be looked at as a time capsule, not for what they did wrong.” Start taking bets if the HBO Max special will bring this all up.