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Mindy Kaling Nearly Wasn’t Eligible for an Emmy for The Office for Ridiculous Reasons

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The television industry is just as unfair as the film industry, it seems. In a recent profile with Elle, Mindy Kaling revealed that during the early days of The Office, she was told by the Television Academy after the show’s Best Comedy Series nomination that they were going to cut her from the list of producers because there were too many on the list. This meant that the sole woman of color on the team would not be eligible for an Emmy with the rest of the producers.

“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 told Elle during the interview. “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 has responded, saying, “No one person was singled out. 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.”

Kaling responded to their statement via Twitter:

This shows a huge problem within the television industry. Despite the role Kaling played in The Office‘s success, she was singled out and almost was ineligible for any Emmys that the show could win. She deserved to be recognized for her work on the series, period. There’s no if, ands, or buts about it. She deserved the awards recognition for her contributions. The Academy targeting The Office’s only woman of color producer is not acceptable.

Kaling says maybe this wouldn’t happen now, but the Emmys still see awards going to mostly white winners. Award shows in general tend to give awards to mostly white, many times male artists, and we need to possibly reconsider letting award shows define what is good television and film if they’re only going to honor a small portion of the talent pool or, in this case, deliberately excluding women of color from consideration.

(via Elle, image: Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

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Author
Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.