Following a request from Tina Fey and her 30 Rock cocreator Robert Carlock, four episodes of their Emmy-winning sitcom that show characters in blackface are being pulled from syndication and streaming.
The move, which received the support of the show’s owner, Comcast’s NBCUniversal, was first reported by Vulture.com, which said the episodes were being removed from Hulu and Amazon Prime and will no longer be available for purchase on platforms like iTunes and Google Play, or be shown in TV reruns.
In a note obtained by Variety, Upper Darby’s Fey apologized for the show’s use of “race-changing makeup.”
“As we strive to do the work and do better in regards to race in America, we believe that these episodes featuring actors in race-changing makeup are best taken out of circulation. I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images. I apologize for pain they have caused. Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness. I thank NBCUniversal for honoring this request,” Fey wrote.
According to Variety, the episodes being taken out of circulation are “Believe in the Stars” (Season 3, Episode 2) and “Christmas Attack Zone” (Season 5, Episode 10), both of which featured Jane Krakowski’s character, Jenna, in blackface; “Live from Studio 6H” (Season 6, Episode 19), in which Jon Hamm was in blackface as part of an “Amos ‘n’ Andy” parody; and the East Coast version of “The Live Show” (Season 5, Episode 4).
After premiering in October 2006, 30 Rock ran for seven not particularly well-watched seasons on NBC, winning 16 Primetime Emmy Awards including three for outstanding comedy.