Actor-comedian Mindy Kaling has claimed that the TV Academy discriminated against her and refused to acknowledge her producing credits on her breakout show The Office. In an interview with Elle magazine, Kaling, who was associated with the popular sitcom since its inception, both as a writer and as an actor, said she was also a producer on the show from its third season.
After the show was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, the Television Academy told her there were too many names on the producing team and made her justify her spot. “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,” Kaling told the outlet.
Mindy Kaling in a scene from The Office.
Though she got her name back on the list of eligible contenders, The Office went home empty handed. In its response to Kaling’s claims, the TV Academy said it followed the same procedure with all the producers, reported Variety.
“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,” it said. “Every performer/producer and writer/producer was asked to justify their producer credits. 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,” it added.
Kaling, however, shot back at the TV Academy, saying that she indeed was “singled out” as nobody else from The Office team was cut from the list.
“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 colour. Easiest to dismiss. Just sayin’,” she tweeted.
Kaling further said, “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? But I worked so hard and it was humiliating.”