Mindy Kaling is a trailblazer for women in Hollywood, especially women of color.
However, the actress has fought to get the stature and recognition she deserved by the Hollywood community. Some in the entertainment world have referred to her as “that bitch,” a title Kaling is proud to carry.
She used her time on The Office as Kelly Kapoor, to hone her writing and producing skills. Two jobs Kaling did, along with acting, during the NBC comedy’s run from 2005 and 2013.
Kaling was a writer on the series from day one, a fact not many fans realized until years later. The 40-year-old added producer to her job title in the third season of the sitcom.
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Wow! Thank you @elleusa for featuring me on the November cover of the Women in Hollywood issue with such amazing company 💓 And thanks especially for letting me talk so frankly about my experience coming up as a writer, actor and producer in this business. Link to my story up top! #WomenInHollywood (📸: @zoeygrossman)
In a cover story for Elle’s s Women in Hollywood November 2019 issue, Kaling recalls early on in her producing tenure, The Office was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. It was a thrill for the new producer, but her joy quickly turned to a fight.
The Television Academy told Kaling there were too many producers listed for the NBC show, so she was being cut from the list. She was the only woman of color on the team, making her ineligible for an Emmy was unacceptable to the actress.
After a long fight, Kaling made the producers list, but she had to advocate for herself.
“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 shared with Elle magazine.
The Television Academy issued a statement regarding Kaling’s story, claiming she was not singled out personally.
“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,” read the statement issued to the Los Angeles Times.
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. The most junior person, and woman of color. Easiest to dismiss. Just sayin’. https://t.co/frT2pQUfLF
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) October 9, 2019
The Office alum Mindy Kaling is sharing how she endured sexism while working as a producer on the hit comedy. She used social media to let her followers know she never wanted to share the story or create a hostile relationship with the Television Academy
However, it was a humiliating experience to be left out of a project she had put her blood sweat and tears into.
“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. The point is, we shouldn’t have to be bailed out because of the kindness our more powerful white male colleagues. 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,” she Tweeted.