A scene from “The Office” in which a character appears in blackface has been edited out, Variety has confirmed.
The show’s creator Greg Daniels issued the following statement regarding the scene from the 2012 episode “Dwight Christmas.”
“‘The Office’ is about a group of people trying to work together with mutual respect despite the inappropriate actions of their boss and assistant manager,” said Daniels. “The show employed satire to expose unacceptable behavior and deliver a message of inclusion. Today we cut a shot of an actor wearing blackface that was used to criticize a specific racist European practice. Blackface is unacceptable and making the point so graphically is hurtful and wrong. I am sorry for the pain that caused.”
The episode sees Dwight attempting to convince his colleagues at Dunder Mifflin to celebrate a Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas in the scene. It will no longer appear on Netflix or in syndication (it also will not be on Peacock when “The Office” moves there in 2021).
The removal is the latest example of Hollywood re-evaluating episodes featuring characters in blackface.
“30 Rock” creator Tina Fey asked for multiple episodes of the NBC series to be removed for the same reason, Hulu pulled three episodes of “Scrubs,” and Netflix removed the entire British sketch series “Little Britain.”
Netflix and Hulu both also pulled the “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” episode of “Community,” Variety has confirmed. In the episode, Ken Jeong’s character wears dark make-up to play a “dark elf.”
“We support the decision to remove the episode,” said a spokesperson for “Community” producer Sony Pictures Television.
In addition to scripted blackface moments being removed, late night hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon have both publicly apologized for using blackface for impersonations of Black celebrities in the past.
Kimmel had notably appeared in blackface to impersonate former NBA player Karl Malone.
“I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us. That delay was a mistake,” Kimmel said in a prepared statement. “There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke.”
The Wrap first reported “The Office” and “Community” news.