Mindy Kaling reveals that she had to fight to get her name from being excluded on an Emmy nomination. (Photo: JC Olivera, Getty Images)

Mindy Kaling may be the brainchild behind the Emmy-nominated sitcom “The Mindy Project,” but she once had to fight the Television Academy to be eligible for a nomination in the first place.

In an interview for Elle’s 2019 Women in Hollywood issue, Kaling shared that the Television Academy almost cut her name from the list of producers for “The Office” because there were just “too many.”

At the time, Kaling was the only woman and the only person of color in the sitcom’s writer’s room, and if her name were taken off the list she wouldn’t have been eligible for the Emmy for outstanding comedy series like the rest of her colleagues. 

“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 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.”

It’s not clear if Kaling was asked to provide materials beyond what was required of the other producers.

After advocating for herself, Kaling’s name was eventually included in the final list, but “The Office” didn’t end up winning the Emmy. 

The Television Academy responded to the actress’ claims in a statement obtained by USA TODAY.

“No one person was singled out,” Jim Yeager, TV Academy spokesperson, said in a statement to USA TODAY. “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. We no longer require this justification from performer/producers and writer/producers, but we do continue to vet consulting producer credits with the PGA to ensure those credited are actually functioning in the role as a producer.”

USA TODAY has reached out to “The Office” creator Greg Daniels for comment.

Kaling said it doesn’t matter how successful or famous she is, she still faces discrimination.

“It really doesn’t matter how much money I have,” Kaling says. “I’m treated badly with enough regularity that it keeps me humble.”

She also recalls a time when she was stopped on the set of her own show, “The Mindy Project,” when a security guard told her she was on a closed set, thinking the actress had stumbled onto the lot.

Kaling pointed at a billboard with her face on it and said: “I know. I’m the star.”


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