Media conglomerate NBCUniversal has removed four episodes of its popular satirical sitcom 30 Rock that feature characters in blackface from its streamers and syndication.
The development comes as companies reappraise content in the wake of protests over police brutality and systemic racism after the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota last month.
According to Deadline, the request for the removal of the episodes came from executive producers and showrunners Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.
Fey, who also created the show, apologised for the “pain” the episodes caused.
“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,” she said.
“Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness. I thank NBC Universal for honoring this request,” the actor, who starred as head writer of sketch comedy Liz Lemon in 30 Rock, added.
The episodes that were requested to be removed include the season 3 episode 2 titled Believe In The Stars, season 5 episode 10 titled Christmas Attack Zone as well as Season 6 episode 19, Live from Studio 6H and the east coast version of season 5 episode 4 The Live Show.
The company is currently working with partners to remove the episodes from current runs. All episodes are expected to be removed from Hulu, Amazon Prime iTunes and Google Play by this week.
Recently, WarnerMedia removed Gone With the Wind from its newly launched streamer, HBO Max. The Civil War epic is set to return to the streamer with a disclaimer about historical context.
Streaming platform Netflix also did its bit by taking down episodes of Little Britain, Come Fly With Me, and W/Bob & David over blackface sketches.