Friends, despite being the hit sitcom that graced many of our screens on a regular basis as we grew up – a staple of any sleepover and a reliable series to have on repeat when you need some background tv after watching it for the sixth time – hasn’t aged well.
Kauffman has previously admitted that casting an all-white main cast, despite the show’s setting in New York City, was a mistake.
She has since pledged a substantial sum of money to consolidate her apology.
Kauffman believes the show lacked diversity and inclusion in its main cast because of the internalized systematic racism that is so prevalent in society.
“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,” the co-creator told the Los Angeles Times.
“That was the point at which I began to reflect on how I had participated. I realized I needed to change my strategy at that point.”
Kauffman has donated $4 million (£3,298,220) to Brandeis University in Boston for private research.
The funds will be used to support the African and African American studies department.
The department, which was founded in 1969, aims to study “peoples of African descent through the lens of history, literature, economics, art, and sociology” through a “breadth of interdisciplinary engagement.”
The funds will be used specifically to recruit more teachers and scholars to work in the department.
It will also help one university student who has chosen to concentrate their studies in the department.
The Marta F. Kauffman ’78 Professorship in African and African American Studies will be named after her.
Kauffman stated that the response to the funding has been ‘amazing,’ and she has received ‘nothing but love.’
“It surprised me a little because I didn’t expect the news to spread so widely.” I’ve received a flood of encouraging emails, texts, and social media posts.
“I’ve had a lot of ‘It’s about time’ comments.” Not in a negative way. “It’s just people recognizing that it was long overdue,” she reflected.
Friends’ main cast members have previously addressed the show’s lack of diversity.