30 Rock Episodes Featuring Blackface Are Being Removed at Tina Fey's Request
“I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images," Fey wrote.
30 Rock executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock requested that four episodes of the sitcom be pulled from streaming services and taken out of circulation due to various characters’ use of blackface.
According to Vulture, some of said episodes have already been removed, but all of them will be taken down by the end of the week.
“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 shared with platforms that streamed or sold episodes of the series (including Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Google Play).
“I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images,” she continued. “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 of the episodes in question (“Believe in the Stars” and “Christmas Attack Zone”) involve Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) wearing blackface. Season six’s live episode (“Live from Studio 6H”) is being pulled as well, as it features Jon Hamm’s character in a wig and blackface. It’s unclear precisely why the fourth episode, the East Coast version of season five’s live episode (“Live Show”) has been pulled — its West Coast counterpart remains.
Twitter users are also taking Fey to task for a history of racially tone-deaf and offensive work, including stereotypical depictions of Asian characters in Mean Girls and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, as well as a storyline in the latter in which Krakowski’s character, Jacqueline, reveals her Native American roots.