“30 Rock” Blackface Episodes To Be Removed From Streaming Platforms

Four episodes featuring white actors in Blackface will be removed from all platforms at the request of “30 Rock” co-creators, according to multiple reports.

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon in "30 Rock." Credit: NBC

Tina Fey has apologized for using Blackface in several “30 Rock” episodes, and she and the show’s other co-creator Robert Carlock have requested that the episodes be pulled from streaming platforms and reruns, according to multiple reports. 

Fey—who wrote, executive produced, and starred in the hit NBC comedy—requested in a note obtained by Variety that streaming platforms remove the four episodes and that  the episodes no longer air on syndicated channels. 

“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 reportedly wrote in the note. “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.”

Fey also thanked the show’s owner, NBCUniversal, for honoring her request to have the episodes taken down. 

All four episodes will be pulled from Hulu, Amazon, and TV reruns by the end of the week, and are no longer available for purchase on platforms such as iTunes and Google Play, according to Vulture.

Two of the four episodes featured Jane Krakowski’s character, Jenna Maroney, in Blackface, (in season 3 and season 5). Jon Hamm’s character appeared in Blackface in at least one episode with an “Amos ‘n’ Andy” parody—a racist 1920s radio show that starred two white men impersonating Black men. The show became a television series in the 1950s’ with two Black actors and has been criticized for its racist portrayal of Black men. The East Coast version of the “Live Show” episode was also reportedly removed.

“30 Rock” first aired on NBC in 2006 and ran for seven seasons. Some people called out the delay in removing the episodes, given the show has been off the air for several years. Others criticized the fact that they were made at all in the twenty-first century.

Some criticized other aspects of the show, as well as Fey herself, including a quote in which she talked about hiring musician, comedian, and “Atlanta” creator Donald Glover as a writer on the show “for free.” 

“30 Rock” joins a list of other platforms and corporations taking action on racist imagery and brands. Earlier this month, HBO Max announced it would be removing “Gone With The Wind” temporarily from its library to add historical context to the film’s depiction of slavery in the Confederate south. Last week, Quaker Oats said it would retire the Aunt Jemima brand and image after decades of criticism of the character’s racist roots.