The Wrap reports that a Season 9 episode of “The Office,” titled “Dwight’s Christmas,” has been edited to remove a scene where a character engages in blackface. The old version of the episode has been removed from Netflix and will not appear on Peacock when the series moves to NBCUniversal’s streaming service next year. The old version of the episode will be replaced with the updated version for syndication airings, according to the publication.
“‘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,” series creator Greg Daniels said in a statement to The Wrap. “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 Office” wasn’t the only television show to make headlines for racially-related changes on Friday. Mike Henry, who voiced Cleveland Brown on “Family Guy” for two decades, announced on Twitter he would step down from the role. Henry announced his decision following reports that Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell would no longer voice Black characters on Netflix’s “Big Mouth” and Apple TV+’s “Central Park,” respectively.
As for “The Simpsons,” which has been the subject of criticism since 2017’s “The Problem With Apu,” the show’s producers announced on Friday that white actors will no longer portray non-white characters. Hank Azaria, who portrayed Apu on the show, announced he would no longer voice the character on the series earlier in the year.
The changes at the three shows were announced after weeks of headlines regarding the removal of racially-insensitive television episodes from various platforms. Episodes of several shows that contained blackface, such as NBCUniversal’s “30 Rock,” have been removed from streaming and syndication. Netflix recently removed the entire “Little Britain” series from the platform due to the show’s use of blackface.