‘Mad Men’ Sets Free Streaming Return, with Disclaimer Explaining 2009 Blackface Episode

"Mad Men" will begin streaming for free with ads on IMDb TV later this month.
"Mad Men"
"Mad Men"
Courtesy of AMC

Mad Men” ended its longtime streaming run on Netflix last month, but the wait to stream the Emmy-winning drama series isn’t going to last much longer. Distribution rights to all seven seasons of “Mad Men” have returned to AMC Networks, which has struck a deal to allow the Jon Hamm-led series to stream on Amazon’s free, ad-supported IMDb TV service.

“Mad Men” will be streaming for free with ads on IMDb TV starting July 15. The streamer platform is owned by Amazon and therefore is integrated into Amazon’s Prime Video and Fire TV offerings. AMC Networks will begin streaming “Mad Men” later this year in the fall, which means reruns of “Mad Men” can air on AMC and episodes can be uploaded to the network’s streaming services such as AMC Plus and Sundance Now.

When “Mad Men” returns to streaming this month for free on IMDb TV, it will come with an added disclaimer to the third season episode “My Old Kentucky Home.” The 2009 installment features the character Roger Sterling (John Slattery) in blackface. The disclaimer attached to the episode explains why the decision was made to have Slattery don blackface while in character during the episode.

A title card disclaimer for the episode was published by Vulture and reads: “This episode contains disturbing images related to race in America. One of the characters is shown in blackface as part of an episode that shows how commonplace racism was in America in 1963. In its reliance on historical authenticity, the series producers are committed to exposing the injustices and inequities within our society that continue to this day so we can examine even the most painful parts of our history in order to reflect on who we are today and who we want to become. We are therefore presenting the original episode in its entirety.”

While other series such as “30 Rock” and “Golden Girls” have recently removed episodes containing blackface off their respective streaming services, “Mad Men” is choosing to keep the episode available online, albeit with a disclaimer noting its historical context. The move is similar to what HBO Max did with “Gone with the Wind,” although the streamer made news for pulling the movie from streaming and later re-uploading it with disclaimers.

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