Another day, another hit television show takes down an episode featuring blackface in its compendium.
Disney-ABC Domestic Television was the latest company to do so after the distribution company asked Hulu to pull an episode of The Golden Girls from the streaming platform that featured a scene of two White characters in blackface. The show, which aired between 1985 and 1992 on NBC, is centered on four older women who live together in Miami and relive their golden years.
Hulu, which is majority-owned by Disney, cut the episode titled “Mixed Feelings.” The scene in question, which aired in 1988, comes from episode 23 of The Golden Girls‘ third season, according to Deadline.
The storyline found the families of Michael (Scott Jacoby) and Lorraine (Rosalind Cash), an older Black woman, trying to break up a wedding that the couple was planning. Dorothy (Beatrice Arthur), Michael’s mother, objects to the marriage because of the age gap and Lorraine’s mother objects because she wants her daughter to marry a White man.
In one scene of the episode, there’s a bit in which Rose (Betty White) and Blanche (Rue McClanahan) appear in front of Lorraine and her family in blackface after they both applied mud facials.
“This is mud on our faces, we’re not really Black,” they said.
This episode removal is the latest of what seems to be a mass scramble to purge images of blackface and limit the depiction of racial tropes on video streaming services. Four episodes of NBC’s 30 Rock containing scenes of White actors in blackface were be pulled by NBCUniversal, at the request of show actress and writer Tiny Fey and co-showrunner Robert Carlock.
Greg Daniels, creator of The Office that aired on NBC, had a scene from a 2012 episode of the mockumentary sitcom cut for depicting a character in blackface. He said he is “sorry for the pain that [he has] caused.” In addition, an episode of Community, which also aired on NBC, that featured actor Ken Jeong wearing blackface was removed from both Hulu and Netflix.
The issue of White actors and public figures wearing blackface has been particularly contentious as of late. Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon came under fire when a 20-year-old Saturday Night Live sketch of him wearing blackface during a Chris Rock impersonation resurfaced on social media.
Fallon would later apologize for the incident via his Twitter page, saying “I’m very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.”
In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this.
I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 26, 2020
Fellow late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, of ABC‘s Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel, also apologized for an old skit of him wearing blackface while doing a Karl Malone impression on Comedy Central‘s The Man Show.
“There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke,” Kimmel said in a statement obtained by CNN.
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