Tina Fey has confirmed numerous episodes of 30 Rock featuring actors wearing blackface will be removed from streaming and circulation.
Fey, who created and starred in the hit sitcom, explained the decision in a statement, apologising for the pain the episodes had caused some viewers.
The statement read, “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.”
She added, “I apologise 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.”
In total four episodes of the show have been pulled: season three, episode two “Believe in the Stars”; season five, episode 10 “Christmas Attack Zone”; season six, episode 19 “Live from Studio H”; and the East Coast version of season five, episode four “The Live Show.”
30 Rock is the latest in a long line of shows to see episodes removed due to the use of blackface, with comedies in the UK including Little Britain, League of Gentleman and Bo Selecta having also been affected.
The moves follow increased scrutiny in the media over the use of blackface, in light of the Black Lives Matter protests that have followed the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
Writing for RadioTimes.com, comedian Ava Vidal explained how blackface in comedy “is never just a joke”, outlining how the trope has been used as a tool of oppression in entertainment for decades.
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