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ABC, NBC pull 'Scrubs,' '30 Rock' blackface episodes with Tina Fey, Bill Lawrence support


ABC and NBC are pulling multiple “Scrubs” and “30 Rock” episodes from streaming services because they show actors in blackface.

Tina Fey, the star and executive producer of “30 Rock,” explained the decision for her show in a note to NBC’s partners, shared with USA TODAY Monday.

“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,” Fey wrote. “I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images.”

The comedian added: “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. I thank NBCUniversal for honoring this request.”

The episodes being pulled are Season 3, Episode 2 “Believe in the Stars”; Season 5, Episode 10 “Christmas Attack Zone”; Season 6, Episode 19 “Live from Studio H”; as well as the East Coast version of Season 5, Episode 4 “The Live Show.”

As of Monday, the episodes had already been removed from Hulu. “Live from Studio H” shows guest star Jon Hamm’s character in dark makeup, an Afro wig and overalls. Additionally, Variety and Vulture report “Believe in the Stars” and “Christmas Attack Zone” feature Jane Krakowski’s character in blackface.

USA TODAY has reached out to reps for NBC, Fey, Hamm and Krakowski for comment.

Bill Lawrence, the creator of the ABC medical sitcom “Scrubs,” followed suit. When someone tweeted at Lawrence an article about Fey’s decision and suggested Lawrence do the same with “Scrubs,” his reply was simple.

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“Agreed,” he wrote on Tuesday. “Already in the works.”

As of Wednesday, three episodes of “Scrubs” have been removed Hulu. The pulled episodes are Season 3, Episode 8 “My Friend the Doctor”; Season 5, Episode 4 “My Jiggly Ball” and Season 5, Episode 17 “My Chopped Liver.” According to EW and Variety, one of these episodes shows Zach Braff’s character in blackface at a party and another shows Sarah Chalke’s character in blackface during a fantasy sequence

USA TODAY has reached out to reps for Lawrence, Braff, Chalke and ABC for further comment.

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