CULTURE

Mindy Kaling: "In This Country, American Means White"

Kaling quoted Toni Morrison and called out the academy for attempting to exclude her from a list of "The Office" producers.

Mindy Kaling told Elle that when The Office was nominated for an Emmy, the organization in charge of the awards attempted to remove her name from the show's list of producers.

At the time, Kaling was the only woman of color on the team.

"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 said. "I had to get letters from all the other male, white producers saying that I had contributed, when my actual record stood for itself."

In response, the academy delivered a statement that completely denied that racial bias had any part in the claims. "There was an increasing concern years ago regarding the number of performers and writers seeking producer credits," it read.

"I *was* singled out," Kaling responded this afternoon. "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 Tweet, "The point is, we shouldn't have been bailed out because of the kindness [of] our more powerful white male colleagues," she added. "Not mentioning it seemed like glossing over my story. This was like ten years ago. Maybe it wouldn't happen now. But it happened to me."




Kaling was quick to emphasize the fact that this is a systemic issue. Though recent diversity initiatives may be improving things, the fact is that writers and producers of color in Hollywood—specifically women of color—still face steep barriers to success. "In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate," Kaling said, quoting Toni Morrison. She added, "It really doesn't matter how much money I have ... I'm treated badly with enough regularity that it keeps me humble."

While Hollywood has made a conscious effort to perform and prioritize diversity in the past decade, many Hollywood TV writers still face an uphill battle. A March 2019 report from the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity stated that diverse writers—a term that includes people of color, queer and nonbinary people, and people with disabilities—are "routinely isolated within writers rooms, often relegated to lower levels where writers possess little agency or power to contribute."

The report found that the "diversity hire" position, a staff writer position typically reserved for a person of color, is almost always an entry-level position at the lowest pay grade. According to WGA West's Inclusion Report for 2017-2018, while people of color made up 45% of TV writers' room staff, they made up only 12% of executive producers and showrunners.

Some writers of color who have been given this position have complained of feeling stigmatized for being chosen for it. Recently, writer and actress Amanda Idoko told the Chicago Tribune that "There's definitely an implicit bias in the system. There are shows that have a revolving door diversity slot — they hire a new diverse writer from one of the diversity programs every year, immediately let them go as soon as they are no longer free, and repeat," she said. "Instead of actually investing in the diverse writers they hire, these shows cycle diverse writers, usually POC, in and out, with no intention of actually promoting them, slowing down the advancement of their careers. It's a disgusting abuse of a system that was put in place to promote diversity, and it needs to stop."

And let us not forget that even these "diversity hire" positions came after intense struggle and protestation from people who had been systematically kept out of the industry since its inception, as Mindy Kaling was during her years spent helping The Office become the beloved if poorly aged phenomenon that it was and is.

Hollywood can't use the excuse that women of color aren't writing and producing great content, of course, and things are changing for the better. With shows like Jane the Virgin and Black-ish knocking ratings off the charts and star producers like Shonda Rhimes and Ava DuVernay making waves in every aspect of the industry, it's clear that times are changing. But as Mindy Kaling reminds us, it's taken us a long time to get there—and there's a very long way to go.

20th Century Fox

The 4th of July means you'll probably get plenty of time to watch movies about aliens.

Why aliens? Because it's Independence Day, silly: the day our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, freeing the thirteen American colonies from British rule. As a nation of immigrants, one could argue that we're all aliens on this special day. So without further ado, here are the top five Alien movies to watch on Independence Day (*wink wink*).

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TV

Our Picks for the 2019 "Fleabag" Awards (I Mean Emmy Awards)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge can have my house, just take my house, take everything.

The 2019 Emmy Awards will take place on September 22nd, meaning you only have a few more days to re-watch all of Fleabag before it sweeps the awards.

If you're anything like us, you've probably been sleeping and living in your Fleabag jumpsuit for the last few months, so it's probably time to give that bad boy a quick dry clean in time for your Phoebe Waller-Bridge-themed Emmy watching party! To get you ready for Fleabag's big night, we've compiled a list of the expected winners in the major categories!

Outstanding Comedy Series

Barry (HBO)
Fleabag (Prime Video)
The Good Place (NBC)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime Video)
Russian Doll (Netflix)
Schitt's Creek (Pop TV)
Veep (HBO)

Our Pick: While there are some stellar series on this list, it's really a no brainer who will be taking home the Emmy: Fleabag. While the other series may be funny, nothing can really compare to the funniest, most heartfelt show ever made. If you aren't convinced, just watch the opening scene of Season 2. Praise be to our lord and savior, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Fleabag Series 2: The Opening Scene www.youtube.com


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Catherine O'Hara, Schitt's Creek
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Our Pick: Are you even paying attention? It's embarrassing I even have to say it: Phoebe Waller-Motherf*cking-Bridge. How many times have you watched her monologue at the salon about the importance of hair? WRONG. The answer is not enough times.

"Hair is everything." Excerpt from Fleabag episode, Season 2. www.youtube.com

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul (AMC)
Bodyguard (Netflix)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Killing Eve (BBC America)
Ozark (Netflix)
Pose (FX)
Succession (HBO)
This Is Us (NBC)



Our Pick: Okay, so this one is a really difficult call; after all, Waller-Bridge also wrote Killing Eve. But we're gonna have to go with...Fleabag. Yes, I recognize Fleabag isn't actually nominated in this category, but do you remember the scene between Fleabag and Belinda at the bar? DO YOU REMEMBER? Show me a more brilliantly well-crafted dramatic scene than this one. I'll wait.

Why You Should Look Forward To The Menopause | Fleabag Series 2 www.youtube.com

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Bill Hader, Barry
Eugene Levy, Schitt's Creek

Our Pick: I know, I know. Neither Phoebe Waller-Bridge nor Fleabag are in this category, and it wouldn't have even been possible for them to be nominated. In light of that, our official pick is...Hugh Skinner! Skinner plays Harry, Fleabag's meek boyfriend/ex-boyfriend, and is undoubtedly one of the funniest parts of the show. Remember when Fleabag tried to prank him in the shower? Watch it again, anyways.

Fleabag Season 1 - Clip: Prank | Prime Video www.youtube.com


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Billy Porter, Pose
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Our Pick: Everyone knows This Is Us is one of the most dramatic, cry-inducing shows ever made, and it's hard to compete with anything Billy Porter does, but that's not gonna stop us from picking Andrew Scott! No, yes, Fleabag is technically not a drama series, and no, Andrew Scott is not eligible in this category, but I'm honestly tired of your negativity, so just shove it, okay? Watch the final scene of Fleabag season 2 and then try to tell me Andrew Scott doesn't deserve this award. Also, KNEEL.

Fleabag 2x06 - "I Love You" - Ending Scene (1080p) www.youtube.com


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Laura Linney, Ozark
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Our Pick: Look at me. Look at me. "Are you alright, Father?" "Oh, look at you calling me father like it doesn't turn you on just to say it..." Sorry, had to get that out of my system real fast.

Anyways, the Emmy goes to Phoebe-Waller Bridge! Also, can we throw a few of those golden statues Olivia Colman's way? She's just the best.

If you have ever questioned whether Fleabag was the best show ever created, let this revisitation of Waller-Bridge's confessional monologue set your mind at ease.

FLEABAG (season2 ep4) www.youtube.com