The iconic sitcom was criticised throughout its initial run for its lack of people of colour in its supporting cast, particularly as it was set in the diverse city of New York. Its resurgence on streaming has led to similar complaints resurfacing.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Schwimmer said that he pushed for his character to date women of colour during the series.
“I really felt like Ross should date other people, women of all races,” he said. “It just felt wrong that there was not enough representation on the show.”
The three love interests of colour who appeared on the series, Lauren Tom’s Julie, Gabrielle Union’s Kristen and Aisha Tyler’s Charlie, were all romantically involved with Ross.
Schwimmer added, however, that he did believe Friends was a positive force for representation in other areas, specifically its depiction of lesbian couple Carol and Susan.
“It was doing some incredible things,” Schwimmer said. “If you remember the pilot, my character was losing his wife to a woman. The way they portrayed gay marriage and how we as a family made it work, I thought was great.”
In August, Schwimmer will film a much-anticipated cast reunion with his Friends co-stars, which was expected to shoot in April but was delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The special will see Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry reuniting for the first time on camera since the end of the sitcom in 2004.
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