Deadline reports NBCUniversal will remove four episodes of 30 Rock from streaming services and syndication that featured characters in blackface. The removal comes at the request of series creator Tina Fey and executive producer Robert Carlock.
"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," Fey said in a statement. "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."
The episodes that will be removed include "Believe In The Stars," from Season 3, episode 2; "Christmas Attack Zone," from Season 5, episode 10; "Live from Studio 6H," Season 6, episode 19; the east coast version of "The Live Show" from Season 5, episode 4. Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Google Play are expected to remove these episodes as well by this week.
Earlier this month, HBO Max pulled the 1939 film Gone With the Wind from its catalog over the movie's depiction of Black people. Jacqueline Stewart, professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, later announced via CNN that she will be providing a brief introduction explaining the historical context surrounding the problematic classic.
"Some complained that taking the film down was a form of censorship. For others, seeing 'Gone with the Wind' featured so prominently in HBO Max's launch felt like salt rubbed into wounds that have never been permitted to heal," Stewart wrote. "These wounds are reopened with every act of anti-Black violence, every delay in justice and every failure to acknowledge the extent of Black suffering."
"But it is precisely because of the ongoing, painful patterns of racial injustice and disregard for Black lives that 'Gone with the Wind' should stay in circulation and remain available for viewing, analysis and discussion," she continued.
Stewart became the first Black host of Turner Classic Movies in September. She participated on a panel discussion on "The Complicated Legacy of Gone with the Wind" at the TCM Classic Film Festival last year.
"But what I found — and I think directly relates to why I have this incredible position now — is that TCM viewers are interested to delve into these topics, not just to assess whether or not it's OK to like these films. That's not the question," Stewart said of the experience. "It is OK to like these films. It's OK to love the films. What's also important is to recognize how complicated they are and to see them as documents of a very complex American social and political history."