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Mindy Kaling says the Television Academy discriminated against her while she was on The Office

Photo: Rich Fury (Getty Images)

In the first few seasons of The Office, few likely picked Mindy Kaling, a.k.a. Kelly Kapoor, as “cast member most likely to become a media mogul.” But the consistently underestimated Kaling, who was also a producer and writer on that show, has had an impressive post-Office career, creating and starring in her own sitcom, The Mindy Project, followed by several production deals, including the recent series Four Weddings And A Funeral) at Hulu, Amazon Studios picking up her movie Late Night, and upcoming Netflix series Never Have I Ever, based on Kaling’s own childhood. This month, she also hits the cover of Elle, where she talks about the ups and downs of her career in a lengthy interview, admitting, “It really doesn’t matter how much money I have… I’m treated badly with enough regularity that it keeps me humble.”

One incident in particular still stings for Kaling. She recounts that when The Office was nominated for an Emmy in one of its earlier seasons, “the Television Academy, which puts on the awards show, told Kaling that because there were too many producers on The Office, they were going to cut her from the list. She, the only woman of color on the team, wouldn’t be eligible for an Emmy like the rest of the staff.” To be included on the list, she had to fill out a form and write an essay about her contributions to the show, as well as obtain verification: “ 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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In response to the Elle story, the Television Academy has responded in a statement to The L.A. Times:

No one person was singled out… 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.

Kaling has since taken to Twitter to dispute the academy’s statement, saying, “Respectfully, the Academy’s statement doesn’t make any sense. I *was* singled out. There were other Office writer-performer-producers who were NOT cut from the list. Just me.” She continues:

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About the author

Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.