Friends' reunion sparks race row as producers fail to cast any black actors among the celebrity guest stars

Friends' reunion sparks race row as producers fail to cast any black actors among the celebrity guest stars

May 17, 2021

FRIENDS' upcoming reunion show has already come up with backlash after no Black celebrity guests were announced as part of the all-star line-up.

The highly-anticipated one-off reunion show has been getting fans excited since the announcement more than a year ago – and despite coronavirus putting a halt to initial filming plans, it's now set to go ahead.

Alongside the release date, HBO Max also unveiled the all-star line-up joining the key six cast members – Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc – for the special.

Musical guests and celeb megafans include: David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Kit Harington, Mindy Kaling and Malala Youfsafzai. 

As well as this, former cast members will make appearances, including Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles (who played Ross and Monica’s parents Jack and Judy), Larry Hankin (moany neighbour Mr Heckles) and Tom Selleck (Monica’s ex, Richard).

James Michael Tyler (Gunther), Maggie Wheeler (Chandler’s ex, Janice) and Reese Witherspoon (Rachel's sister Jill), will also be stopping by.

But while other guests are yet to be announced, viewers have slammed the series for once again failing to involve Black people in the show's history.

The New York-based show has been heavily criticised in the past for its lack of diversity in casting – with Aisha Taylor, who played Charlie, one of Ross's girlfriends, being the only Black cast member with featured airtime and a character-arc over the show's 10-year run.

A handful of other Black actors made appearances for one off or infrequent roles – such as Rhonda, Joey's co-worker during his short-lived time working at the museum and Ross's divorce lawyer, who appeared in just one episode.

So when even Aisha wasn't on the line-up, viewers had something to say about it.

The noticeable omission comes after Marta Kauffman, showrunner and producer on Friends, agreed there was a problem in diverse representation on the series.

Speaking at ATX Television Festival, she said: "I wish I knew then what I know today. I would make very different decisions.

“We’ve always encouraged people of diversity in our company but I didn’t do enough.

"Now all I can think about is what can I do? What can I do differently? How can I run my show in a new way? And that’s something I not only wish I knew when I started showrunning but I wish I knew all the way up through last year."

Friends: The Reunion airs May 27th on HBO Max in the US, and is yet to get a UK release date.

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