'30 Rock' Episodes Featuring Blackface Removed From Streaming, Syndication

Multiple episodes of the NBC comedy series 30 Rock featuring a character in blackface are being removed from subscription services (Hulu and Amazon Prime), digital purchase platforms (including iTunes and Google Play) and traditional TV syndication. Some of the episodes have already been scrubbed, with all expected to be gone by week’s end, Vulture reports. The episode removals come at the request of 30 Rock creator Tina Fey and show runner 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 wrote in a statement to companies that streamed or sold the show. “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.”

Two episodes — Season Three’s “Believe in the Stars” and Season Five’s “Christmas Attack Zone” — feature Jane Krakowski’s character Jenna in blackface. (In the former, she poses as a black man to prove that women face more difficulty in modern society. In the latter, she dresses as former Pittsburgh Steelers player Lynn Swann for a joke about the 2010 film Black Swan.)

The pulled live episode from Season Six, “Live From Studio 6H,” features guest star Jon Hamm in blackface for an Amos ‘N’ Andy parody. In addition, Universal has removed the East Coast version of the series’ first live episode from Season Five, though the West Coast version will not be affected. (It’s unclear as of this writing why only one version was removed, though, as Vulture notes, the East Coast episode included a fake Fox News description of Barack Obama as a “Kenyan liar.” The line was tweaked for the West Coast version.)

The series faced renewed criticism for the pulled episodes after NBC announced a new 30 Rock special. The remote event, airing July 16th on the network, will feature Fey alongside fellow cast members Krakowski, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan and Jack McBrayer, among others.

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