In the past month, certain episodes of several acclaimed TV shows such as 30 Rock, Scrubs, and Community have been removed from their respective streaming platforms due to racially insensitive humor. Golden Girls and The Office have become the latest TV shows to receive backlash from episodes featuring blackface, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Golden Girls, first aired in 1985, stars Betty White (Hot in Cleveland, Life With Elizabeth), Beatrice Arthur (Maude, All In The Family), Rue McClanahan (Maude, The Golden Palace), and Estelle Getty (The Golden Palace, Empty Nest). The four women learn to live which each other in Miami despite the angst that comes with their ‘golden years.’ This particular episode of Golden Girls, entitled ‘Mixed Feelings,’ aired in 1988 and features Michael, played by Scott Jacoby (Rivals, Bad Ronald), as Dorothy’s, played by Arnold, son who is planning on getting married to an older Black woman, Lorraine, played by Rosalind Cash (General Hospital, Sister, Sister). While Dorothy is concerned about their age difference, Lorraine’s family is discontent with the fact that her daughter is marrying a white man. The two families then venture to end the marriage. Later in the episode, Lorraine’s family meets Rose, played by White, and Blanche, played by McClanahan, as they try a mud facial treatment. Upon meeting the family Rose says, “This is mud on our faces, we’re not really Black,” via The Hollywood Reporter. The episode will no longer appear on the streaming service Hulu.
The Office, filmed in a documentary style, stars Steve Carell (Despicable Me, Space Force), Rainn Wilson (The Meg, Monsters vs. Aliens), and John Krasinski (A Quiet Place, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan). The U.S. adaptation of the well-known UK series under the same name is set at a paper company in Pennsylvania, Dunder-Mifflin, and features the lives of each staff-member in the workplace during their 9-5 workday despite the oftentimes inappropriate actions of their manager, Michael, played by Carell. In an episode aired in 2012 entitled ‘Dwight Christmas,’ Dwight, played by Wilson, tries to convince his co-workers to celebrate Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas in the office rather than a traditional Christmas. As part of his elaborate party, Dwight makes a warehouse worker show up dressed as Zwarte Piet, Saint Nicholas’s supposed companion. The costume featured blackface. The scene will no longer appear on Netflix. Greg Daniels (Parks and Recreation), the show’s creator, released a statement about his cutting of the scene. He states, “The show employed satire to expose unacceptable behavior and deliver a message of inclusion. Today we cut a shot of an actor wearing blackface that was used to criticize a specific racist European practice. Blackface is unacceptable and making the point so graphically is hurtful and wrong. I am sorry for the pain that caused,” via Variety.
The Office scene was cut from its episode on Netflix and it will not appear on the upcoming streaming service Peacock when the series will be moved there in 2021.