NBC announced that it won’t rerun this season’s controversial “Seinfeld” episode about the New York City Puerto Rican Day Parade. The decision comes just days before Latino groups were to hold protests during Sunday’s real-life parade, which was to be televised by the Peacock’s New York City affiliate. The “Seinfeld” episode, in which Kramer extinguishes a flaming Puerto Rican flag by stomping on it, was met with anger after it aired on May 7. NBC sent an apology letter to the Puerto Rican Coalition to announce the decision to shelve the offending episode, adding that the show was not intended to be disrespectful.
Removing programs that anger viewer groups might set a dangerous precedent, says Entertainment Weekly senior writer A.J. Jacobs. “As long as NBC has gone this far, they should pull the ‘Seinfeld’ puffy-shirt episode because it might offend pirates,” he jokes. “All types of censorship are bad. What’s next? Are they going to start pulling ‘All in the Family’ reruns because Archie Bunker made derogatory comments?” That said, Jacobs agrees that the network is right to yank the show (which earned a “D” in EW’s episode guide): “NBC should have pulled it, not because it was offensive, but because it wasn’t funny.”