The Office episode re-edited to cut out blackface scene
"I am sorry for the pain that caused," executive producer Greg Daniels said in a statement.
The Office has become the latest TV series to reckon with its use of blackface.
The beloved NBC comedy's 2012 episode "Dwight Christmas," from season 9, has been re-edited to remove a character portrayed in blackface, the network confirmed Friday. The recut episode will replace the original on all platforms, including Netflix, where The Office will stream until 2021; Peacock, which will become the show's new streaming home after Netflix; and in syndication.
"The Office is about a group of people trying to work together with mutual respect despite the inappropriate actions of their boss and assistant manager," executive producer Greg Daniels said in a statement provided to EW. "The show employed satire to expose unacceptable behavior and deliver a message of inclusion. Today we cut a shot of an actor wearing blackface that was used to criticize a specific racist European practice. Blackface is unacceptable and making the point so graphically is hurtful and wrong. I am sorry for the pain that caused."
The scene in question involves Rainn Wilson's Dwight telling his co-workers about his heritage and dressing up as a folkloric character named Belsnickel. A cutaway depicts another colleague, Nate (Mark Proksch), in blackface dressed as Bersnickel's sidekick, Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter. Dwight calls off the performance before Nate makes it inside.
The move to excise the scene comes as several notable TV series are reappraising past uses of blackface. Last week, four 30 Rock episodes featuring blackface were pulled from streaming services at the request of series creator Tina Fey. "I understand now that 'intent' is not a free pass for white people to use these images," Fey said. "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."
The Wrap first reported the Office news.
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