Tina Fey Pushed For Blackface Episodes Of 30 Rock To Be Pulled From Streaming

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, many are seeking to better educate themselves through TV shows and movies. This is also forcing some creatives to confront their own work in the process. Now, 30 Rock creator Tina Fey has addressed several episodes of the NBC comedy which featured characters in blackface.

The four controversial episodes of 30 Rock are being pulled from Amazon and Hulu at the request of Tina Fey and executive producer Robert Carlock, according to Vulture. In addition, the episodes will also be unavailable for purchase on services like iTunes and Google Play. Fey also released a statement in which she apologized for the episodes and expressed her hope that younger viewers won’t have to see them:

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. 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.

This news also comes on the heels of the announcement that 30 Rock will be returning for a reunion special, which is set to premiere during NBC’s 2020-2021 upfronts later this summer.

Blackface is a practice that has been controversial in Hollywood for decades but, in recent weeks, it’s become a particularly hot topic. Coincidentally, 30 Rock isn’t the only show with blackface content that’s recently had content pulled from streaming services. British comedies Little Britain and Come Fly With Me were both pulled from streaming by Netflix and the BBC due to sketches and scenes that contained blackface.

A number of media personalities have also been under fire for performing in blackface. Jimmy Fallon recently received backlash for appearing in blackface while still a cast member on Saturday Night Live. The actor has since addressed the situation and issued an apology.

A ‘90s comedy sketch featuring Howard Stern in blackface also resurfaced over the past week. The radio host later responded to the situation during his show.

While many in Hollywood have a low tolerance for blackface, it’s disappointing to see that it’s still been performed over the last few decades. But with the growing spotlight on the practice and the outcry to eliminate negative tropes or stereotypes of Black people from media, one can assume that a number of content creators are going to be more conscientious moving forward.

The same thing goes for creators who already have blackface content in readily available places. It remains to be seen if any other shows have this sort of content on streaming services and, if they do, they’ll more than likely follow Tina Fey's lead.

Keep it here at CinemaBlend for more updates on this matter and more news from the world of TV and movies.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.