The actress and writer Mindy Kaling has accused the Television Academy of trying to diminish her work on the US version of hit sitcom The Office.
Kaling, who starred in the show as well as serving as an executive producer, director and writer during its acclaimed nine-season run, said the body which oversees the Emmy Awards attempted to strip her of a producer’s credit.
It would have made Kaling, the only woman of colour on the producing team, ineligible to accept an Emmy had The Office won the outstanding comedy series prize.
Kaling, 40, told Elle magazine the Academy argued there were too many producers credited on the show and forced her to go through a “humiliating” process to prove her contribution.
The TV Academy responded, denying it was personal and said “every performer producer and writer producer was asked to justify their producer credits”.
However, Kaling has now dismissed the academy’s response, saying it “doesn’t make any sense”.
“I *was* singled out”, she said. “There were other Office writer-performer-producers who were NOT cut from the list. Just me. The most junior person, and woman of colour. Easiest to dismiss. Just sayin’.”
Kaling, who earlier this year wrote and starred in comedy Late Night alongside Dame Emma Thompson, described The Office as “one of the greatest creative experiences of my life”, saying she never wanted to bring up the incident in case it damaged her relationship with the Academy, which wields significant power in the industry.
However, she added: “But I worked so hard and it was humiliating. I had written so many episodes, put in so much time in the editing room, just to have the Academy discard it because they couldn’t fathom I was capable of doing it all. Thankfully I was rescued by my friends, the other producers.”
Kaling said not mentioning the incident “seemed like glossing over my story”, saying while it was “like 10 years ago” and “maybe it wouldn’t happen now”, “it happened to me”.
Kaling has also asked the Academy to apologise, writing to the organisation on Twitter: “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.?’”
The Academy has been contacted for further comment.
The US version of The Office, based on the original British show created by Ricky Gervais, also starred Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson and John Krasinski.
It was hugely successful during its original run from 2005 to 2013 and remains popular today.