“30 Rock” creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, along with the show’s owner NBCUniversal, have asked that four episodes of the series in which characters appear in blackface be removed from streaming and syndication.
In a note obtained by Variety and shared below, Fey wrote to the platforms saying that the episodes are “best taken out of circulation” and apologizing “for pain they have caused.”
“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.
All of the episodes will be removed by the end of this week, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, while some have already been removed from Amazon and Hulu. The episodes will no longer air as reruns on television, and viewers will also no longer be able to purchase the episodes from on iTunes and Google Play.
The episodes in question 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, as well as “Live from Studio 6H” (season 6, episode 19), which featured Jon Hamm in blackface as part of an “Amos ‘n’ Andy” parody, and the East Coast version of “The Live Show” (season 5, episode 4).
News of their removal comes as many content platforms are re-evaluating content for racial sensitivity. Just over two weeks ago, HBO Max removed “Gone With the Wind” from its library, before re-instating it with an introduction from Turner Classic Movies host and film scholar Jacqueline Stewart.
Vulture first reported the “30 Rock” news.