Mindy Kaling: TV Academy Discriminated Against Me Over 'The Office'

Kaling says the Academy made her prove her Emmy eligibility

Photographed by Haoyuan Ren for TheWrap

Mindy Kaling says that in the early days of “The Office,” she faced discrimination from the Television Academy when the show was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Kaling said in a recent interview with Elle that Television Academy officials told her they were going to cut her name from the show’s list of eligible contenders because there were too many producers listed. She was also a producer, and the only woman of color on the writing staff.

“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,” she told Elle.

She did get her name back on the list of eligible contenders, though “The Office” didn’t end up winning that year.

The Television Academy did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on Wednesday.

Kaling shared a similar story in an interview earlier this year with “Good Morning America” while promoting her film “Late Night.”

She and her character in the movie, Molly Patel, have gone through similar things while working in the television industry, she told “GMA.” 

“Molly had an identical experience as I had when I first started working on ‘The Office,’ where I was the only minority and the only woman to work on the writing staff,” Kaling said.

“I remember that so vividly. The nervousness I felt … going into that mostly Harvard room of writers, who had all worked on TV before, and feeling so overwhelmed and being so nervous I was going to get fired every day, for like a year.”

Ultimately, her role as Kelly Kapoor on “The Office” shot her to fame, and she went on to become the first woman of color to create, write, and star in a primetime sitcom with “The Mindy Project,” which ran for six seasons on Fox and Hulu. She has an upcoming television series with Netflix called “Never Have I Ever” set to debut in 2020.

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