The popular sitcom has come under fire in recent years after it arrived on Netflix in 2017, and millennial viewers expressed reservations about its "problematic" storylines, describing it as transphobic, homophobic and sexist.
In a new interview, Schwimmer has defended the show against these criticisms and proposed a more diverse remake.
“Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends,” he told The Guardian. “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.”
He added: “It’s interesting also how the show handled the Judaism of the characters. 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, I was glad that we at least acknowledged the differences in religious observation.”
Schwimmer also expressed his frustration at older shows being judged out of context.
“The truth is also that show was groundbreaking in its time for the way in which it handled so casually sex, protected sex, gay marriage and relationships,” he said.
“The pilot of the show was my character’s wife left him for a woman and there was a gay wedding, of my ex and her wife, that I attended.
“I feel that a lot of the problem today in so many areas is that so little is taken in context. You have to look at it from the point of view of what the show was trying to do at the time. I’m the first person to say that maybe something was inappropriate or insensitive, but I feel like my barometer was pretty good at that time. I was already really attuned to social issues and issues of equality.”
The show originally ran for 10 years until 2004, and starred Schwimmer alongside Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt LeBlanc.
On the subject of a potential Friends reunion, Schwimmer said: “I just don’t think it’s possible, given everyone’s different career trajectories. I think everyone feels the same: why mess with what felt like the right way to end the series? I don’t want to do anything for the money. It would have to make sense creatively and nothing I’ve heard so far presented to us makes sense.”