Earlier this week, Mindy Kaling was featured on the cover of Elle magazine, accompanied with an interview. The actress, producer and writer, known for shows like The Mindy Project and the films Inside Out, A Wrinkle in Time, and Ocean's Eight, to name a few, uncovers the difficulties she faced in the beginning of her career.
"Early on in her tenure at The Office, the show was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series," the article details. "Shortly after, the Television Academy, which puts on the awards show, told Kaling that because there were too many producers on The Office, they were going to cut her from the list."
This means that if the show had won, which it ultimately didn't that year, she wouldn't receive an Emmy like the other producers. At the time, Kaling was the only woman and only person of color writing for the show.
"In order to receive her rightful recognition, 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 producer. I had to get letters from all the other male, white producers saying that I had contributed.'"
Ultimately, her name was included in the final list, but the experience stuck with Kaling. After attention was brought to these details included in her interview, the Academy weighed in. They released a statement, claiming that "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. Every performer/producer and writer/producer was asked to justify their producer credits."
However, people are already calling this attempt to cover their tracks feeble, as Kaling had already specified in her interview that the other producers didn't have to go through the same process that she did. Kaling responded to the statement, saying, "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'."
Continuing, Kaling elaborates that she had never wanted to bring it up because The Office was one of her greatest creative experiences and didn't want to have a bad relationship with the Academy, who has a lot of power over others' careers. However, the experience was humiliating for her after all the work she had done, and although she was grateful to the other producers for rescuing her, "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."
You can read Kaling's interview with Elle magazine here: https://www.elle.com/culture/a29340748/mindy-kaling-interview-2019/