January 28, 2020
Fellow white actor David Schwimmer admits he comes from a family with a long history of subversive actions intended to dismantle the foundations of the goy society they live in.
Schwimmer’s social activism started with his parents. “My mom was a very vocal, groundbreaking feminist activist lawyer [and occasional actor]. So my earliest memories of theatre were watching these feminist productions that my mom was in and being on the picket line with my parents and fighting for women’s rights and gay rights.
“That’s the environment I grew up in. I’m very aware of my own privilege as a heterosexual white male whose parents were able to pay for a private education for me. I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility to give back and to call things out if I see an abuse of power.”
Somehow this didn’t apply to Harvey Weinstein, though, for whom Schwimmer once directed a movie.
As an actor on Friends, he agitated to have mixed-race relationships depicted on screen.
Friends is also a product of the pre-“woke” era when it comes to race. “Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends,” Schwimmer says. “But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of colour. One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part.
“It’s interesting also how the show handled the Judaism of the characters,” he continues. “I don’t think that was earth-shattering or groundbreaking at all, but I for one was glad that we had at least one episode where it wasn’t just about Christmas. It was also Hanukkah and, even though I played the Hanukkah armadillo” – Ross wore an armadillo costume – “I was glad that we at least acknowledged the differences in religious observation.”
Interesting that Schwimmer’s push for diversity didn’t extend to real life. When he eventually married in 2010, I’m sure it was just an incredible cohencidence that his bride, Zoe Buckman, happened to be halachically Jewish.