US streaming site Hulu has removed three episodes of Scrubs which featured characters in blackface, following a request by the show’s creator Bill Lawrence and ABC Studios, sources have confirmed to Variety.
The episodes in question are ‘My Fifteen Seconds’ (season 3, episode 7), ‘My Jiggly Ball’ (season 5, episode 4) and ‘My Chopped Liver’ (season 5, episode 17). One featured Zach Braff‘s lead character in blackface at a party, while another saw Sarah Chalke’s character in blackface during a fantasy sequence. The episodes in question are still available to stream on Stan as of Thursday morning.
The news comes only two days after multiple episodes of 30 Rock were removed from streaming platforms and syndication for the same reason.
Lawrence confirmed that the Scrubs episode were being taken down when replying to a tweet about Variety’s story on the 30 Rock news. Scrubs aired across nine total seasons from 2001 to 2010, with the first seven broadcast on NBC and the final two on ABC in America.
The 30 Rock removal came about at the request of creator Tina Fey and NBCUniversal. Fey wrote a letter to the platforms which carry the series, saying that the blackface episodes were “best taken out of circulation.” The comedian apologised “for pain they have 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. I apologise 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,” Fey wrote.
Scrubs is the latest in a growing number of series, past and present, which are re-evaluating their depictions of race. Less than two weeks ago, Netflix pulled an episode of Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’ 2015 comedy show W/Bob and David because of a scene featuring Cross in blackface. The sketch in question is called ‘Know Your Rights’ and appeared in the third episode of the show’s first and only season.
Nine Entertainment Co (the publisher of this website) owns and operates the streaming service Stan.