As reported by Vulture, NBCUniversal is pulling—or has already pulled—four episodes of 30 Rock that feature characters in blackface from Hulu and Amazon. This is coming at the specific request of series creator Tina Fey and executive producer Robert Carlock, with Fey writing in a statement to the various platforms that host 30 Rock that “’intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images” and that she’s sorry for “pain they have caused.” She adds that “no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness.”
The episodes in question are “Believe In The Stars” from season three (which features Jane Krakowski posing as a Black man to prove that white women have it tougher in society), “Christmas Attack Zone” from season five (Krakowski dresses as former Pittsburgh Steelers player Lynn Swann for a Black Swan joke), the live episode from season six (which had Jon Hamm in blackface in a parody of Amos ‘N’ Andy), and the East Coast version of season five’s live episode. Vulture says it’s unclear why that episode in particular has been taken down, but it does feature a joke about Fox News referring to Barack Obama being a “Kenyan liar” that was changed in the West Coast version.
In addition to being removed from Hulu and Amazon, these episodes will no longer air in syndication on regular TV and they will be unavailable for purchase from iTunes and Google Play—meaning they will effectively be gone, aside from DVD sets. Last week, Netflix pulled an episode of With Bob & David that featured David Cross in blackface (Cross seemed to disagree with the decision to pull it), and Jimmy Fallon apologized for an old SNL clip of him in blackface that resurfaced back in May.
Looking for ways to advocate for Black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.