Mindy Kaling said that the organization that claims to recognize excellence in TV once did its best to unfairly exclude her.
Kaling told Elle that when The Office was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, the Television Academy tried to prevent her from getting credit as a producer. According to Kaling, she was told there were too many producers on the hit mockumentary series and she would be cut.
In addition to her work writing and producing for The Office, Kaling played the character Kelly Kapoor. To get her name included on the final list of producers, she had to do more than her peers to get recognition and eligibility for the award, Elle reported.
“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 said. “I had to get letters from all the other male, White producers saying that I had contributed, when my actual record stood for itself.”
CNN reports that in a statement to the media, an Academy spokesperson said that there had been an increasing concern regarding the number of performers and writers seeking producer credits at the time.
“Every performer producer and writer producer was asked to justify their producer credits,” the statement said. “We no longer require this justification from performer producers and writer producers, but we do continue to vet Consulting Producer credits with the PGA to ensure those credited are actually functioning in the role as a producer.”
Kaling responded on Twitter, saying that the statement didn’t make sense, since others working on the show were not left out.
“Just me,” Kaling wrote. “The most junior person, and woman of color. Easiest to dismiss.”
In a series of Tweets, she described the show as “one of the greatest creative experiences of my life.” That’s partly why she hadn’t previously spoken about the “humiliating” situation, she added.
Kaling concluded in a Tweet that a better Academy response would have an included an apology.
“I have been a proud member for years,” Kaling wrote. “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’?”
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