30 Rock: Tina Fey Apologizes as Blackface Episodes Are Pulled from Streaming, Syndication

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Four episodes of 30 Rock in which characters appear in blackface are being pulled from streaming and syndication at the request of creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. 

According to Variety, Fey said that the episodes are "best taken out of circulation" and apologized "for pain they have caused,"

The episodes in question will be pulled from streaming services Amazon Prime and Hulu, as well as purchase platforms.

Jon Hamm appeared in one of the pulled episodes in a wig and blackface as part of a spoof of Amos 'n' Andy. 

Another installment involved Jenna (Jane Krakowski) and Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) deciding to swap identities in order to determine whether black men or white women faced more challenges in society.

Tina F. Picture

The final episode being pulled by the studio is the East Coast version of a special live show that aired as part of Season 5, and marked the show's first live episode. 

"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 make-up are best taken out of circulation," wrote Fey.

"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."

Tina Pic

The episodes have not been removed as of yet, but Variety notes the request will be completed by the end of the week. 

News of their removal comes as networks and streaming services are re-evaluating their content following mass protests against racism and police brutality after the killing of George Floyd.

In recent weeks, HBO Max has pulled Gone With the Wind, Little Britain and Come Fly With Me have been pulled from BBC Iplayer and Netflix, while TV shows such as Live PD and Cops have been canceled for good. 

NBC recently confirmed that the 30 Rock cast would assemble in character to promote the network's annual upfronts presentation. 

The series was a resounding success for the network when it was on the air from 2006-13, and scored 10 Emmys. 

What are your thoughts on the decision to pull these four episodes from circulation?

Hit the comments below. 

Paul Dailly was an Associate Editor for TV Fanatic.Follow him on X.

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