'Friends: The Reunion' cancelled? Special event blasted for excluding Aisha Tyler and not casting Black actors
With an all-white main cast, 'Friends' infamously had only one Black character of any importance --Ross Geller's girlfriend Dr Charlie Wheeler, played by Aisha Tyler, who won't be in the reunion special
The original 90s sitcom 'Friends' was fairly criticized for its lack of diversity in the 10 years that the show ran, finally coming to an end in 2004. But its much-anticipated reunion --- which will feature all six members of the original line-up -- is making the same mistake. The reunion, which will also feature a host of celebrity guests, has landed itself in hot waters after fans discovered that the show had failed to include any African-American characters.
'Friends' infamously had an all-white main cast. In fact, the only Black character who wasn't an extra on the show was Ross Geller's girlfriend Dr Charlie Wheeler, played by Aisha Tyler. As it turns out, she will not be included in the reunion special. 'The Reunion', which airs on May 27, will include Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education; and the Korean pop band BTS but no Black stars.
'Still haven’t made any Black friends'
Critics flocked to Twitter and made their displeasure known at the fact that there were no Black cast members in the upcoming special. Some of them even threatened to boycott the show's return because of the lack of inclusivity.
"@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" one of them said while another noted, "I’m gonna be very unhappy if the #FriendsReunion doesn’t have @aishatyler"
Another wrote: "#friends #[email protected] couldnt find any black actors for the reunion either just like the show they in nyc yet couldnt get 1 black friend." One more said, "Here’s what I commented on Facebook: “Oh, no black people again? My, times haven’t changed. How does my favorite show still get it so wrong?” #[email protected]"
Others were even harsher passing their judgment, like the tweet that said: "A bunch of white people getting together with white guests? Where is the diversity? Can this event be more white supremacist? #FriendsReunion #Friends"
@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
'Friends' actors on lack of diversity
The lack of diversity on the original show was so stark that some of the members of its main cast have spoken up about it. Lisa Kudrow was asked last year if the cast would be different if the series was made today. The actress who played Phoebe Buffay on the show told The Sunday Times: "It would not be an all-white cast, for sure."
David Schwimmer too has voiced similar feelings, albeit less tactfully, in an interview when the reunion was still far from becoming a reality. "Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends," he said. "But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color."
The program is directed and produced by British TV executive Ben Winston, the man behind James Corden's 'The Late Late Show' on CBS. Some of the other guest stars include Corden, David Beckham, Cara Delevingne, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Cindy Crawford, Reese Witherspoon, and Kit Harrington.