Actor Mindy Kaling has hit out at the organisers of the Emmys, saying she was “humiliated” after being “singled out” and made to justify her production credit on The Office US.
As well as starring in and writing for the show, Kaling was an executive producer and director for the programme’s nine-year run on NBC, becoming the first woman of colour in Emmy history to be nominated for writing a comedy script.
But Kaling has revealed that when The Office was nominated for an Emmy award, the Television Academy said there were too many names on the nomination form and made her justify her spot.
“They made me, not any of the other producers, fill out a whole form and write an essay about all my contributions as a writer and a producer,” she told Elle magazine.
Hey, @TelevisionAcad! I have been a proud member for years. I was the 1st woman of color nominated for writing a comedy script. Why not say “years ago we prevented a deserving woman of color from getting credit for her accomplishments. We’re sorry and it would never happen now.”?
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) October 10, 2019
“I had to get letters from all the other male, white producers saying that I had contributed, when my actual record stood for itself.”
The Television Academy, which organises the Emmys, said in a statement that “every performer producer and writer producer” was asked to justify their inclusion on the nomination form.
“No one person was singled out…there was an increasing concern years ago regarding the number of performers and writers seeking producer credits,” they said.
“At the time the Producers Guild worked with the Television Academy to correctly vet producer eligibility.”
But, in a series of tweets, Kaling questioned the Academy, saying that the statement “didn’t make sense”:
“I *was* singled out. There were other Office writer-performer-producers who were NOT cut from the list. Just me. The most junior person, and woman of color. Easiest to dismiss. Just sayin’,” she wrote.
(2) But I worked so hard and it was humiliating. I had written so many episodes, put in so much time in the editing room, just to have the Academy discard it because they couldn’t fathom I was capable of doing it all. Thankfully I was rescued by my friends, the other producers.
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) October 9, 2019
“Thankfully I was rescued by my friends, the other producers…The point is, we shouldn’t have [to] be bailed out because of the kindness our more powerful white male colleagues,” she said.
It isn’t the first time the Academy has come under fire over alleged racism and sexism.
In 2013, Kerry Washington became the first black woman to be nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama Series in almost 20 years for her role in ABC’s Scandal.
The ceremony was also criticised in 2014 for putting actress Sofia Vergara on a rotating platform and asked her to pose while former Disney-ABC head Bruce Rosenblum talked about the business behind television.
The number of people of colour nominated for the awards this year dropped from 38 down to 24 year-on-year, with no nominations in a number of key categories such as Lead and Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Of those 24, only three people of colour took home awards at the ceremony.
Billy Porter picked up Lead Actor in a Drama for Pose; When They See Us star Jharrel Jerome took home Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie; and RuPaul Charles accepted the award for Outstanding Reality Competition for RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Rapper 50 Cent also criticised this year’s Emmy’s during an interview about Starz network show Power.
The musician is one of the programme’s executive producers and said the snubbing of the cult hit was down to its predominantly black cast.
“I like to say it’s racial,” he said. “That’s the easy way to get out of things. People who are running and connected to these ceremonies are not necessarily cool people.”