In recent years, the lack of diversity on Friends—where Kudrow starred alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc from 1994 to 2004—has been called into question.
Created by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, who are both white, Kudrow argued it would have been disingenuous for them to write from a perspective other than their own.
"I feel like it was a show created by two people who went to Brandeis and wrote about their lives after college," the actress told The Daily Beast Aug. 10. "And for shows especially, when it's going to be a comedy that's character-driven, you write what you know. They have no business writing stories about the experiences of being a person of color."
Brandeis is a private university with an emphasis on liberal arts outside Boston.
Kudrow recognized, however, that not enough was being done to mentor creatives of color, adding, "I think at that time, the big problem that I was seeing was, ‘Where's the apprenticeship?'"
"Admitting and accepting guilt is not easy," she told The Los Angeles Times. "It's painful looking at yourself in the mirror. I'm embarrassed that I didn't know better 25 years ago."
The 65-year-old Kauffman, who also co-created Netflix's Grace and Frankie, said a rise in social and cultural movements allowed her to better understand the error of her ways.
"It was after what happened to George Floyd that I began to wrestle with my having bought into systemic racism in ways I was never aware of," Kauffman explained. "That was really the moment that I began to examine the ways I had participated. I knew then I needed to course-correct."
In response, Kauffman made a $4 million donation to Brandeis University's African and African American studies department. As she explained, "I'm finally, literally putting my money where my mouth is."