Tina Fey ‘told Donald Glover he was a diversity hire’, actor claims

Glover started writing for ‘30 Rock’ in 2006

Inga Parkel
Thursday 06 April 2023 11:18 BST
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Louise Thomas

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Donald Glover has claimed Tina Fey confirmed to him that he was only hired as a writer on 30 Rock because of NBC’s diversity initiative.

At 23 years old, the comedian landed his first writing job on the popular sitcom in 2006.

During that time, the network had introduced its diversity initiative, which allowed shows to add Black writers to the writers’ room without it affecting the budget.

“It was a diversity thing,” Glover told GQ of his hiring in a new interview. “There is no animosity between us or anything like that, but [Tina Fey] said it herself.

“The last two people who were fighting for the job were me and Kenya Barris,” he said. “I didn’t know it was between me and him until later.”

Glover recalled the Black-ish creator “hit me one day and he was like, ‘I hated you for years’”.

“It definitely didn’t feel like I was supposed to be there,” the Atlanta star admitted.

‘Swarm’ creator Donald Glover
‘Swarm’ creator Donald Glover (Getty Images)

“I used to have stress dreams every night where I was doing cartwheels on the top of a New York skyscraper with the other writers watching me.”

The “This is America” rapper has spoken before about how being Black influenced his success on 30 Rock.

In a 2018 New Yorker profile, Glover said he wondered if he was “being hired just because I’m Black”.

According to the outlet, Fey had said that “the answer was in large part yes; she admired Glover’s talent but hired him because funds from NBC’s Diversity Initiative ‘made him free’”.

The Independent has contacted Fey’s representative for comment.

Elsewhere, Glover told GQ that Liam Neeson had initially turned down an Atlanta cameo due to a race row.

He also revealed the brutal career warning he gave to Malia Obama before she joined as a writer on his latest series Swarm.

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