Mindy Kaling says that the Television Academy once questioned her role as a producer when The Office was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. “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," she told Elle. "I had to get letters from all the other male, white producers saying that I had contributed, when my actual record stood for itself.”
The Television Academy responded to Kaling's allegations on Wednesday, telling the Los Angeles Times that “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. Every performer producer and writer producer was asked to justify their producer credits."
But Kaling has since rebutted the Academy's statement. "There were other Office writer-performer-producers who were NOT cut from the list" she wrote on her Twitter. Just me. The most junior person, and woman of color. Easiest to dismiss. Just sayin'."
"I’ve never wanted to bring up that incident because The Office was one of the greatest creative experiences of my life," Kaling continued. "Who would want to have an adversarial relationship with the Academy, who has the ongoing power to enhance our careers with awards?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."
Kaling never ended up winning an Emmy for The Office, but she was eventually nominated for her work co-writing the episode "Niagara," making her the first woman of color to be nominated for Outstanding Writing on a Comedy Series.