Mindy Kaling recently revealed that the Television Academy once attempted to rid her of producer credit on “The Office.”
In an interview with Elle magazine
, the 40-year-old actress shared that the organization in charge of the Emmy Awards attempted to drop her from the show’s producers list early on.
During the hit NBC show’s nine-season run, Kaling was an actress, executive producer, director and writer for the show. She was then the only woman of color on the team.
The academy reportedly justified the decision at the time by saying there were too many creatives in the credits. According to Kaling, she had to exert extra efforts so she can prove her worth.
“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,” Kaling was quoted as saying. “I had to get letters from all the other male, white producers saying that I had contributed, when my actual record stood for itself.”
“‘In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate,’” Kaling said. “It really doesn’t matter how much money I have … I’m treated badly with enough regularity that it keeps me humble.”
In response to the interview, the Television Academy claimed that all of that was not personal.
“No one person was singled out,” a representative said in a statement to The Times. “There was an increasing concern years ago regarding the number of performers and writers seeking producer credits. At the time the Producers Guild worked with the Television Academy to correctly vet producer eligibility. Every performer producer and writer producer was asked to justify their producer credits.”
While no longer required, the academy reportedly continues to vet consulting-producer credits with the PGA to ensure everyone functions in their producer role.
Kaling immediately disputed the statement on Twitter noting that it “doesn’t make any sense.”
“I *was* singled out,” Kaling tweeted. “There were other Office writer-performer-producers who were NOT cut from the list. Just me. The most junior person, and a woman of color. Easiest to dismiss. Just sayin’.”
She then went on to elaborate on the immense effort she had dedicated to the show and why she was initially reluctant to challenge the academy for its actions.
“I worked so hard and it was humiliating,” she began a long thread. “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.”
“The point is, we shouldn’t have been bailed out because of the kindness our more powerful white male colleagues. Not mentioning it seemed like glossing over my story. This was like ten years ago. Maybe it wouldn’t happen now. But it happened to me.”
After fulfilling the requirement, Kaling eventually got her name on the Emmy nominees list. As a producer for “The Office,” she shared five consecutive comedy series nominations between 2007 and 2011.