The world of TV continues to evaluate its depressingly widespread use of blackface this week, as two more NBC sitcoms—The Office and Community—both have their syndicated or streaming runs altered to remove instances of the racist practice. In this case, that means the full removal of Community’s otherwise-celebrated “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” from Netflix, and the removal of a single scene from The Office’s ninth season episode “Dwight Christmas.”
The latter scene featured actor Mark Proksch briefly dressed up as Black Pete, a Christmas-adjacent figure in European folklore that typically involves a white person putting on blackface. Series creator Greg Daniels issued a statement this weekend about the decision to edit out the scene:
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. 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.
Per Variety, the scene has been cut from both Netflix and syndication, and will not appear when the show runs on NBC’s own Peacock service. The decision to cut Community’s D&D episode, meanwhile, appears to have come down from Netflix itself, with Hulu quickly following suit. (That’s per The Wrap.) That being said, the show’s production studio, Sony Pictures Television, has made it clear that it “supports” the decision. The episode shows Ken Jeong in blackface in multiple scenes, with his character Chang claiming he’s playing a “dark elf” in the study group’s game.
These removals come as Hollywood continues to figure out a proper reckoning for these moments—a reckoning that has, so far, mostly involved scrubbing the material from the internet and airwaves in as thorough a manner as possible, as has happened with episodes of 30 Rock, Scrubs, and W/ Bob And David.