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Mindy Kaling: TV Academy Tried to Cut Me From ‘Office’ Producers List for the Emmys

At the time, Kaling was the only woman of color on a predominantly white male producing team.

Mindy KalingHulu 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' TV Show panel, TCA Summer Press Tour, Los Angeles, USA - 26 Jul 2019

Mindy Kaling
Hulu ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ TV Show panel, TCA Summer Press Tour, Los Angeles, USA – 26 Jul 2019

David Buchan/Variety/Shutterstock

It seems like only yesterday we were talking about “The Office” in the context of Jim and Pam’s wedding almost featuring a literal dead horse. Now it’s time to talk about the sitcom in the context of the Television Academy almost shutting out Mindy Kaling—one of “The Office” writers who would’ve talked Greg Daniels down from his horse dreams, as the co-writer of that particular episode with him—as an Emmy-eligible producer for the show over a decade ago.

This revelation came out during a recent Elle Magazine interview with Kaling, as she alleged early sexism in her television writing and producing career. Upon “The Office” receiving an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series, the Television Academy informed Kaling that her name would be cut from the producers list—making her ineligible to potentially win an Emmy with her colleagues—due to there being too many producers on the list.

At the time, Kaling was the only woman of color on a predominantly white male producing team, and as 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.”

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Kaling went on to talk about the racism and sexism she continues to feel in the industry, despite the success she has found as a writer, producer, and actress since her days on “The Office”, as the brains behind “The Mindy Project”, Hulu’s adaptation of “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, and the recent feature film “Late Night”. “It really doesn’t matter how much money I have,” Kaling said. “I’m treated badly with enough regularity that it keeps me humble.”

The Television Academy responded to Kaling’s story with a statement to The L.A. Times. “No one person was singled out,” said an Academy spokesman in the statement. “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.”

The spokesman also added, “every performer producer and writer producer was asked to justify their producer credits,” a protocol which has since been retired.

But Kaling remains stalwart in her claims of the Television Academy’s singling her out early in her career and responded to their statement on Twitter.

IndieWire has reached out to the Academy for additional comment.

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