'Friends' reunion faces backlash for lack of diversity among guests
The TV sitcom Friends has come under fire again for a lack of diversity after revealing that there would be no Black guest stars in its forthcoming reunion episode.
The hit US comedy, which ran from 1994 to 2004, has been criticised in the past for featuring an almost entirely white cast throughout its 10 series, but despite the show's creator saying she wishes she had made different choices, fans are disappointed that a new episode hasn't cast any Black actors.
Quiz: Name the classic US sitcom from just two characters
Stars of the show Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry will be reunited in a Friends special on HBO Max on 27 May and the roster of guest stars has been announced.
It will feature Asian stars Mindy Kaling, BTS and Malala Yousafzai, but people looking out to see who would join the cast couldn't believe that they hadn't signed up any Black celebrities.
One person tweeted: "Ah yes. FRIENDS. After convincing us that NYC has no Black or Brown people in it for 9 seasons, they issue a reunion with 25 celebs and somehow evade finding a single Black person."
The 25 celebrity stars also include David Beckham, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Kit Harington, James Corden and Cara Delevingne.
Just me, or is this reunion missing something? 🤔 (Pssst - the answer is Black celebrities making guest appearances.) pic.twitter.com/TIuyzwoH5z
— Jackie Gillard (@JackieLGillard) May 15, 2021
Someone else tweeted: "Friends has faced decades of criticism for being unrealistically white in the middle of New York. Then they plan a reunion with 0 Black guest stars. Okay."
Another person wrote: "The premise of the Friends reunion episode will be: the Friends still don't know any Black people."
the premise of the Friends reunion episode will be: the Friends still don't know any Black people.
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEmovienerd) May 13, 2021
I thought the friends reunion would be a special episode where we get a look at the character’s lives now but idk what this is anymore and I’m not curious to know. Also no black person involved so that’s on brand for them
— Will (@critiquehf) May 14, 2021
#friends #FriendsReunion @hbomax couldnt find any black actors for the reunion either just like the show they in nyc yet couldnt get 1 black friend 🤦🏼
— jtown (@jtown51366052) May 14, 2021
The castings are a surprise to fans as just last year, Friends creator Marta Kauffman expressed regret at not having used a more diverse cast.
At the 2020 ATX Festival, she said: "I wish I knew then what I know today.
@FriendsTV it’s been 17 years & y’all still haven’t made any black friends? Lol smh. Just caught a look at the guests for the #FRIENDSREUNION and not a single black person. I knew all that talk about diversity was lip service. Count me out @hbomax
— Kurtis (@IAmTHREATacular) May 14, 2021
"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."
Watch: Friends reunion special teaser! Find out who's guest starring