‘Friends’ creators on show’s lack of diversity: “We didn’t intend for it”

The show has come under fire in the past for its all-white central cast

The creators of Friends have spoken of how they did not intend to have an all-white cast for the show.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, as well as executive producer and director Kevin Bright, spoke about the central cast’s lack of diversity.

“It’s important for today’s shows to be reflective of the ways society truly is,” said Bright. “But for our experience, the three of us, that may have been our experience when we were young and in New York. But we didn’t intend to have an all-white cast. That was not the goal, either.”


Kauffman added: “Back then, there was no conscious decision. We saw people of every race, religion, colour. These were the six people we cast.”

Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox (1995). Credit: PictureLux

Kauffman has admitted in the past that she didn’t do enough at the time to promote diversity on the show. Speaking at the 2020 ATX TV Festival, Kauffman, who also co-created Grace and Frankie, said: “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?”

Friends co-star David Schwimmer also spoke out last year about the issue. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, he said: “It just felt wrong that there was not enough representation on the show.”

The Hollywood Reporter interview coincided with Friends: The Reunion broadcasting in the UK and US.

Highlights of the special included Schwimmer and co-star Jennifer Aniston confessing to having real-life feelings for each other early in the show’s run, and Lisa Kudrow performing a duet of ‘Smelly Cat’ with Lady Gaga.


Despite the warm reception of the reunion from both cast and fans, Courteney Cox confirmed that the co-stars will never reunite on-screen again.

“Honestly, this will really make me cry, but this will be the last time that we’re ever asked about the show as a group that we will do this,” she said. “Like, we’re not going to do this [again] in 15 more years.”