Mindy Kaling slams TV Academy's reason for almost cutting her from 'Office' Emmy nomination
Mindy Kaling isn't buying the Television Academy's explanation for why they almost cut her name from the list of producers for "The Office."
Kaling may be the brainchild behind the Emmy-nominated sitcom "The Mindy Project," but she recalled in an interview for Elle's 2019 Women in Hollywood issue how she once had to fight the academy to be eligible for a nomination in the first place.
At the time, Kaling was the only woman and the only person of color in the sitcom's writer's room, and if her name were taken off the list she wouldn't have been eligible for the Emmy for outstanding comedy series like the rest of her "Office" colleagues.
"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," Kaling told Elle. "I had to get letters from all the other male, white producers saying that I had contributed, when my actual record stood for itself."
It’s not clear if Kaling was asked to provide materials beyond what was required of the other producers.
After advocating for herself, Kaling's name was eventually included in the final list, but "The Office" didn't end up winning the Emmy.
The Television Academy responded to the actress' claims.
"No one person was singled out,” Jim Yeager, TV Academy spokesperson, said in a statement to USA TODAY. "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 disagreed with the academy's version of events in a tweet Wednesday.
"Respectfully, the Academy’s statement doesn’t make any sense," she wrote. "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’."
She continued to describe in subsequent tweets how "The Office" was "one of the greatest creative experiences" of her life and how the academy's actions were "humiliating."
"Hey, @TelevisionAcad!" she wrote in one tweet. "I have been a proud member for years. I was the 1st woman of color nominated for writing a comedy script. Why not say 'years ago we prevented a deserving woman of color from getting credit for her accomplishments. We’re sorry and it would never happen now.'?"
USA TODAY has reached out to "The Office" creator Greg Daniels for comment.
Kaling said no matter how successful or famous she is, she still faces discrimination.
"It really doesn’t matter how much money I have,” Kaling says. “I’m treated badly with enough regularity that it keeps me humble.”
She also recalls a time when she was stopped on the set of her own show, "The Mindy Project," when a security guard told her she was on a closed set, thinking the actress had stumbled onto the lot.
Kaling pointed at a billboard with her face on it and said: "I know. I'm the star."
Contributing: Charles Trepany
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