Tina Fey Yanks Blackface Episodes of 30 Rock

They have an 'ugliness' and are 'best taken out of circulation,' she writes
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2020 12:50 PM CDT
30 Rock 's Blackface Episodes Are About to Disappear
Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney in a scene from "30 Rock."   (AP Photo/NBC, Ali Goldstein)

Four episodes of 30 Rock are about to become very hard to find. The episodes featuring actors in blackface are being scrubbed from TV, streaming services, and purchase platforms, at the request of NBCUniversal executive producers Tina Fey and 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 to platforms 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. I apologize for pain they have caused." The episodes are to be removed by the end of the week, per Variety. "Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness," Fey wrote.

Two episodes feature Jane Krakowski's character, Jenna, in blackface. In the third-season (2008) episode "Believe in the Stars," Jenna and Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) swap identities in an effort to see whether black men or white women are treated more harshly. Jenna also wears blackface while dressed as former NFL star Lynn Swann in season five's "Christmas Attack Zone." The other two episodes are the East Coast version of season five's live show, and season six's live show, in which Jon Hamm dons blackface in a spoof of Amos 'n' Andy, per Vulture. It wasn't immediately clear why just the East Coast version was affected in season five, though it featured a fake Fox News banner calling President Obama a "Kenyan Liar" that was replaced for the West Coast show. All of this follows Netflix’s decision to remove an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia that included blackface—though fans said the show made clear that its use was wrong, per Fox News. (Howard Stern and Jimmy Fallon have expressed regret for blackface skits.)

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