09/06/2021 12:33 BST

Friends Reunion Director Ben Winston Addresses Concerns About Lack Of Diversity In One-Off Special

The sitcom has long been called out over its lack of diversity, and faced similar criticism when the reunion trailer debuted.

Ben Winston has addressed concerns about the lack of diversity in the recent Friends reunion, which he directed.

The producer and director – best known for his collaborations with James Corden – helmed the one-off special which saw all six members of Friends’ original cast reminiscing about the show.

While Friends has long been called out over its lack of diversity, similar criticism arose when the trailer for the reunion was unveiled last month.

Addressing this in an interview with The Times released over the weekend, Ben insisted that anyone who had actually seen the special would not agree that it lacked diversity, pointing to its array of guest stars.

Instagram/Ben Winston
Ben Winston on set with the cast of Friends

Ben said: “We have Malala, Mindy Kaling, BTS. There are three women from Ghana, one who talks about how Friends saved her life. Two boys from Kenya. Three kids in India.

“What more diversity do they want in this reunion?”

He continued: “The cast is the cast. It was made in 1994. I think it’s remarkable how well it does stand the test of time.”

The Friends reunion brought back several guest stars, including Maggie Wheeler, Christina Pickles and Elliot Gould, although some pointed out that these were also all white.

When asked about this – and the absence of Aisha Tyler, one of Friends’ few Black guest stars – Ben explained: “Not everyone could join us. But I’m really pleased with the show we were able to put together.”

CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images
Ben Winston at the Grammys, which he also oversaw in 2021

During the same interview, Ben also revealed how one of the show’s most memorable moments was almost thwarted due to a production blunder.

Friends: The Reunion is available to stream on NOW.

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