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Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman tears up in admitting she didn't do enough for diversity

  • "I wish I knew then what I know today,” an emotional Kauffman, who co-created Friends and Grace and Frankie, said during a panel discussion Sunday at the ATX TV Festival when reflecting on her past mistakes. “Sorry, I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would’ve made very different decisions.” Kauffman added: "I mean we’ve always encouraged people of diversity in our company, but I didn’t do enough and 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? And that’s something I not only wish I knew when I started showrunning, but I wish I knew all the way up through last year.” Even during its original run, Friends was criticized for having an all-white cast amid its diverse New York City setting. Earlier in the conversation, former The Vampire Diaries showrunner Julie Plec pointed out that the shows that people have been flocking to for comfort -- including her own Vampire Diaries, Dawson's Creek, Gossip Girl and Gilmore Girls -- are predominantly white. "That has been the hardest pill for me to swallow, is that I’m part of that group,” she said. Robin Thede, creator of A Black Lady Sketch Show, responded to Kauffman during the panel, saying: “You guys are just as much a part of systemic racism as well because it’s a system. That’s what I keep telling people. It’s not one person being racist ruining everything, it’s a system that was set up by racists to encourage and teach racism and disguise it. No one was supposed to know it was wrong, that was the point. We were supposed to look like we were yelling for no reason. We were supposed to look like kneeling was an offense to the flag and not a cry to stop killing us. We’re supposed to be made to look bad and now people know better and when you know better, you do better and that’s all that people are asking for.”

    TOPICS: Friends, Grace and Frankie, Julie Plec, Marta Kauffman, Robin Thede, ATX TV Festival, Diversity