Friends actor Sherri Shepherd has claimed that she wasn’t invited back to the show after she made a joke about its lack of diversity.
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The comedian, who is best known for starring in 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother, played museum tour guide Rhonda in the episode ‘The One With Phoebe’s Uterus’.
TV host and media personality Jawn Murray, a friend of Shepherd’s, told ABC News: “Sherri was one of the few black faces that was on Friends.
“Her, Aisha Tyler and Gabrielle Union. And Sherri was on Friends at a time that you sent out postcards to let people know, ‘Hey, I’m going to be on TV’.”
Murray said that Shepherd sent out a card saying: “Friends get a little colour.”
“Well, [Shepherd] also sent that postcard to [Friends co-creator] Marta [Kauffman], and she got the postcard and [Shepherd] was never asked back on the show,” Murray said.
Shepherd tweeted about Murray’s claims, writing: “Told @JawnMurray he could share my #Friends story on @ABCNewsLive & now it’s getting picked up everywhere!”
Neither NBC or the show’s creators have responded to Shepherd’s claims at this time.
Friends, which ended in 2004, has been criticised in recent years for its lack of diversity in the main cast, alongside transphobic, sexist and racist jokes.
“I wish I knew then what I know today,” she said. “Sorry, I just wish I knew then what I know now. I would’ve made very different decisions.
“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.”
Schwimmer, who remains best-known for his role as Ross Geller in the show, was presenting an award alongside Intelligence co-star Nick Mohammed when the show was brought up.
“We’re also here to celebrate the huge, huge array of diversity within BAFTA,” Mohammed said. “Not just on display across all the shows nominated tonight, but also in terms of those presenting the awards.”
Schwimmer then joked: “That’s right, look at us. Only 50% of us is white heterosexual male,” prompting Mohammed to reply: “And we all remember how diverse Friends was…”
“Thank you. Thank you,” Schwimmer replied. “Yeah, it was a groundbreaking show in that fully half the cast were women, and I made sure we were all paid equally.”