Earlier in the week, actress Mindy Kaling called out the Television Academy in an alleged attempt that the tried to take away her producing credit for the workplace sitcom, The Office. During her interview with Elle magazine, Kaling focused on her different experiences working as an actress, executive producer, director and writer during the series’ nine-season run.
During the Women in Hollywood piece, the multi-hyphenate claims that the Television Academy told her “they would drop her from the producers list because there were too many producers listed on the series,” resulting in Kaling being ineligible to accept any Emmy on behalf of the show. Kaling who is also well-known for portrayal of Kelly Kapoor on the Emmy winning series, brought attention to her experience as being the only woman of color on the team and how despite making the list of nominees for the show, she had to advocate for herself and prove her value constantly.
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. 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. It really doesn’t matter how much money I have … I’m treated badly with enough regularity that it keeps me humble.
In a statement published in the Los Angeles Times, an Academy spokesperson refuted Kaling’s claims, commenting: “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.”
Respectfully, the Academy’s statement doesn’t make any sense. I *was* singled out. There were other Office writer-performer-producers who were NOT cut from the list. Just me. The most junior person, and woman of color. Easiest to dismiss. Just sayin’. https://t.co/frT2pQUfLF
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) October 9, 2019
Kaling then publicly denounced the article on Twitter through a series of several tweets in an attempt to stand her ground, writing:
“I’ve never wanted to bring up that incident because The Office was one of the greatest creative experiences of my life, and who would want to have an adversarial relationship with the Academy, who has the ongoing power to enhance our careers with awards? [The Academy’s statement] doesn’t make any sense. I was singled out. There were other Office writer-performer-producers who were NOT cut from the list. Just me. The most junior person, and woman of color. Easiest to dismiss. Just sayin’.”
Still rocked by the experience, Kaling made closing comments before moving on from the issue.
I worked so hard and it was humiliating. 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,” she wrote. “Thankfully I was rescued by my friends, the other producers. The point is, we shouldn’t have [to] be bailed out because of the kindness [of] 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.