UPDATED: Mindy Kaling is standing by her comments in a feature story published today by Elle magazine in which she recounted being singled out among her fellow writer-producers on The Office when it came to being vetted for Emmy eligibility.
What’s more, after a day of back-and-forth, The Mindy Project creator called out the TV Academy on Twitter Wednesday night and suggested the organization apologize for the treatment she was subjected to in order to secure a comedy series nomination for The Office.
The Elle article, which will be published in the magazine’s November print edition later this month, referenced a time early in the show’s run in which Kaling said she was told by Emmy organizer the Television Academy that “because there were too many producers on The Office, they were going to cut her from the list. She, the only woman of color on the team, wouldn’t be eligible for an Emmy like the rest of the staff.”
“In order to receive her rightful recognition,” the article continues, “she recalls, ‘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.’ ” Her name was eventually added to the list, the article says, and the show did not win that year.
It was unclear which season Kaling was referencing, but the hit NBC series garnered 42 total Emmy nominations during its run and won five, including the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy in 2006. It was nominated in the marquee category five more times from 2007-2011.
Later in the day, the TV Academy responded to Kaling’s claim that she was singled out.
“No one person was singled out,” an Academy spokesperson said. “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. 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.”
Kaling later responded to the TV Academy’s response via Twitter.
“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’.
“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. 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. Thankfully I was rescued by my friends, the other producers.
“The point is, we shouldn’t have be bailed out because of the kindness 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.”