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Friends Reunion director responds to backlash over lack of diversity in special: ‘What more do you want?’

David Schwimmer posts behind the scenes pictures from the FRIENDS Reunion
The Friends Reunion director (centre) isn’t here for criticism about the show’s lack of diversity (Picture: Instagram)

While Friends is generally celebrated as one of the brightest sitcoms of all time, its lack of diversity has been a glaring issue – one the Reunion could and should have attempted to fix.

When the cast list was announced for Friends: The Reunion, there was a noticeable absence of any Black celebrities making guest spots.

Friends followed six best pals – Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Ross (David Schwimmer), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), and Monica (Courteney Cox) – navigating their way through the mine field that is their late 20s and early 30s in New York City.

Ben Winston, however, who brought the cast back together for the first time in 17 years for the long-awaited reunion has questioned how the special could have been more diverse.

‘We have Malala, Mindy Kaling, BTS,’ he said to The Times. ‘There are three women from Ghana, one who talks about how Friends saved her life. Two boys from Kenya. Three kids in India.’

‘What more diversity do they want in this reunion?’ he continued. ‘The cast is the cast. It was made in 1994. I think it’s remarkable how well it does stand the test of time.’

BTS in Friends: The Reunion
The cast list for Friends: The Reunion was criticised for its lack of diversity
(Picture: HBO Max)

Even Friends creators Matha Kauffman and Kevin S. Bright admitted that if Friends was made today, there is no way the entire lead cast would be made up of white actors.

‘There are different priorities today and so much has changed,’ Bright said. ‘It’s important for today’s shows to be reflective of the ways society truly is.’

‘We didn’t intend to have an all-white cast,’ he went on. ‘That was not the goal, either. Obviously, the chemistry between these six actors speaks for itself.’

‘What can I say?’ he added. ‘I wish Lisa was Black? I’ve loved this cast. I loved the show and I loved the experience.’

Friends: The Reunion is available to stream on NOW.

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